I Have Questions For You

Below are 40 fundamental traits of a good leader. These are traits that everyone should seek to emulate regardless of their position on the totem pole.

There are 3 ways you can use them:

1. Evaluate yourself. How’d you do?

2. Evaluate the person above you. Your supervisor, department head, team leader, dealer, GM, the person in charge, etc. (You don’t have to tell them, just tell me.)

3. Have someone you work closely with or someone you supervise evaluate you.

If you do all three you’ll become a better leader.

1. Leaders have pep in their step
2. Leaders are disciplined
3. Leaders arrive early, stay late
4. Leaders have a sense of humor
5. Leaders are consistent
6. Leaders follow the golden rule
7. Leaders don’t put themselves above others
8. Leaders don’t show favoritism by hanging out with subordinates
9. Leaders can be counted on
10. Leaders answer their own phone
11. Leaders return phone and email messages promptly
12. Leaders dress the part
13. Leaders show respect for others regardless of position or social status
14. Leaders say thank you…a lot
15. Leaders cut to the chase and get to the point
16. Leaders listen because they know others have great ideas too
17. Leaders use the word “We” vs. the word “I”
18. Leaders pull others up not put them down
19. Leaders don’t work in fear of their job; they coach people “up” to take their job
20. Leaders do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it
21. Leaders pick up after themselves…and others
22. Leaders know what they know and they know what they don’t know
23. Leaders take the blame when something fails and they give others credit when it works
24. Leaders communicate then communicate some more
25. Leaders help establish vision and direction
26. Leaders remove obstacles to production, not create them
27. Leaders attack a problem now, rather than letting grow it into a cancer
28. Leaders seek ways to simplify not complicate
29. Leaders seek knowledge; they learn, then they coach others
30. Leaders make the tough decisions now, not later
31. Leaders don’t tolerate a fearful workplace
32. Leaders are enthusiastic
33. Leaders set the accountability standard
34. Leaders have controllable passion
35. Leader detest the statement “We’ve always done it that way”
36. Leaders accept mistakes as a part of progress
37. Leaders see a problem as an opportunity to “fix it”
38. Leaders guard the processes but recognize when they are not working
39. Leaders are optimistic realists
40. Leaders lead from the front and they push from the rear

How did you score? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs

The Elephant In The Room

There’s always an elephant in the room. They come in different colors, sizes, and shapes. Some are purple, red and green. Some are fat and some are skinny. Some are wide and some are narrow. Some are sort of cute, but most are ugly. They are always there.

You know they are there. Your staff knows they are there. But, you, yes you, the leader, you keep ignoring them. The more you ignore the elephant, the more your staff rolls their eyes in disgust and disbelief. The staff knows you have the power and weapons to slay the elephant, but you keep ignoring the elephant in the room.

You seem to think that if you ignore the elephant it will just go away. How silly of you. The elephant is grazing on your resistance, getting fatter by the day. The elephant ain’t going anywhere on its own.

If you really wanted to fix things, you’d get a stick and run the elephant off. But, Nah, you like pretending the elephant doesn’t exist. You like living in fantasyland. Don’t be surprised if one day the elephant sits on your lap and crushes you.

Your staff will be so sad when that happens. They wanted to tell you the elephant was there, but they wanted to keep their jobs even more.

Are you ignoring the elephant in the room? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs

Are You Eliminating Excuses?

One of the constant themes/issues that I come across in my travels is PIC (Person in Charge); the dealer, general manager, owner-operator who doesn’t listen to those in the trenches when it comes to what’s working, what’s not and what can be done to fix something.

Often it’s not just that they don’t listen, it’s that they don’t bother to ask. Even when they do ask they won’t act on the information they have been given because they (the PIC) has been there and done that.

Sometimes they have over-analyzed the information to a point where they are convinced that whatever the thought or suggestion that was served up will not work.

I think far too often in the car business, or any business for that matter, we become convinced that something can’t be done and when we do that we are no doubt right.

And, we are just as right when we become convinced that something can be done.

Business and life is such a head game. The better heads win. Often as we go up the APG (Authority Power Grid) we start to believe that due to our success we have all the answers.

And as brilliant as we may be, we need to value and act on those ideas that come to us from those who are immediately dealing with the problem.

You need to listen to those under you and you need to let them try some of the things they believe will help your business. Take the handcuffs off and turn them loose once in a while. What you think doesn’t matter as much as you think.

One of my favorite techniques as a dealer was to ask the members of the management team what they need in order to fix whatever problem they felt was getting in their way of performing to their maximum potential. (That’s big, read it again.)

My message to them was “Tell me the problem, tell me what you think the fix is and let’s get on with it.” I loved eliminating excuses. Now the ball is in their court. Game on!

When all the information comes from the top down in the power grid, those on the lower half of the grid become very unhappy.

Unhappiness leads to frustration. Frustration leads to throwing one’s hands up and giving up.

When people give up they go through the motions and the organization never reaches its full potential. I want you to reach your full potential. Ask questions. Eliminate excuses. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

Who Owns It?

Did you ever wonder why you can’t achieve and maintain maximum success in your used car department?

When you analyze it, you have a pretty good inventory. You’re not short on operating capital.

The amount of space you have is ok and most of the management staff seem to have a pretty good understanding of the importance of having a good used car department.

You have great software that you use to stock and price your inventory and you do a nice job of reconditioning your inventory.

Until you or somebody takes ownership, it ain’t gonna happen. I realize every dealership has some restrictions on the amount of management staff that can be allocated to any one department, but far too often used cars are an add-on for someone on the team.

Maybe it’s sorta the GM’s responsibility.
Maybe it’s sorta the GSM’s responsibility.
Maybe it’s sorta the Desk Manager’s responsibility.
Maybe it’s sorta the Sales Manager’s responsibility.
Maybe it’s sorta the combination used car manager/sales manager’s responsibility.

See what I mean? Nobody owns it. Yes, the duties of a used car manager today are far different than they were 20 years ago. There are some situations where we are asking some “used car managers” to do things they don’t have the skills to do. Just because someone understands the wholesale market doesn’t mean they understand the retail market.

When somebody owns the used car department they come to work every day on a mission:

On a mission to make it happen.
On a mission to get people excited.
On a mission to ensure units aren’t aging.
On a mission to get units through the system.
On a mission to make sure the inventory is turning.
On a mission to get cars online and on the line ASAP.
On a mission to build a team that gets after the used car market.
On a mission to study the best of the best and make the department the best it can be.
On a mission to identify and have a strategic plan in place to make the problematic units go away.
On a mission to sell everyone on the role the used car department plays in the overall success of the dealership.

Who owns your used car department? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs