What If You Lose Your Head Coach?

The recent suspension of the University of Michigan’s head football coach, Jim Harbaugh, stirred conversations about the impact of losing a key leader.

His offensive coordinator, Sherrone Moore,, stepped up and secured three consecutive victories in his absence.

This prompts me to ask a crucial question – what if you were to lose your head coach even if for just one day?

In the automotive business, your head coach could be likened to your Desk Manager, Sales Manager, GSM, GM, or owner-operator.

The importance of leadership, preparation, and team development cannot be overstated when it comes to maximizing your business on a daily basis.

The success of the University of Michigan’s football team in the absence of their head coach highlights the significance of preparation and team cohesion.

Much like a well-coached football team, a successful dealership should be capable of sustaining momentum even when a key manager is absent.

Michigan’s victories were not a stroke of luck but a testament to the meticulous preparation by the head coach. The coaching staff and players were ready to adapt, showcasing the depth of leadership and the resilience of a well-prepared team.

In the automotive business, when a key manager is out of the store, you will often see sales fall off.

Is there a culture of continuous development and coaching within the organization? Too often, the lack of success in a manager’s absence can be traced back to inadequate leadership rather than the competency of the stand-in.

Their role extends beyond day-to-day operations; they are the architects of a winning team. Effective leaders cultivate a culture of learning, adaptability, and accountability. When a key leader is absent, the dealership should seamlessly transition, drawing strength from the foundation laid by the head coach.

To ensure success in the absence of a key manager, a winning culture must be ingrained in the dealership’s DNA.

If there’s a breakdown in your store when a key player is out, you must ask yourself, is it that your “head coach” is concerned about job security and doesn’t want the assistants to learn but so much, or do you have the wrong assistants on your team?

Keep an eye on your head coach. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy

It’s Thanksgiving…Give Thanks And

It’s Thanksgiving and time to give thanks.

If you’re like me for sure you have a lot to be thankful for. Among many things I’m thankful for are your friendship and support.

Thanksgiving also starts the closeout of the year. It centers around Black Friday and rolls through the last week of the year. Like it or not, 2024 is already here.

I’ve listed some very basic ideas you need to take into consideration that will help you finish strong and get ready for your best year ever:

A. Re-commit yourself- and your thinking towards being the very best you can be. Take stock of all those great ideas running around in your head.

Write them down and make a commitment to get them done by certain dates. Post it on the wall in several places that you will see frequently. If you have a private restroom, put it on the mirror.

The dealers and GMs with the most successful used car operations are those who have taken ownership of the used car department.

The more involved you get, the more success your dealership will have. If you’re not committed to the used car business, it’s a safe bet your team isn’t either.

B. Re-evaluate the appearance of your inventory. One of those disciplines might be to do a weekly lot walk. Every car in your inventory must be touched. If it’s in service, touch it. If it’s in prep, touch it. If it’s in the budget center, touch it.

Everybody touches it. Even if you think you have your disciplines well defined inside your head, you’d be well served to make a written list and check them off from time to time.

D. Re-Recon-Take every unit over 30 days old back through a recon process. (You’ve already missed your best window of opportunity to make gross; that would be the first 20 days.)

E. Re-Invest in yourself and your management team. Do something to gain some knowledge. Hire me, visit CarMax, or visit a dealer friend in another state that does a good job in used. Attend a workshop. Join a Twenty Group. Join a Used Car Twenty Group. Do something besides sitting there and waiting for something to happen.

F. Re-think- your management team. Do you have the right person running your used car operation?

Yes, that person may have been with you for years. Loyalty sometimes equals mediocrity. Maybe they have some great skills, but the fact is that you may not be making the best use of their talents. Get them in the right seat on the bus or help them find a different bus.

I’m thankful for lots of things this holiday season and I’m especially thankful that you’ve taken the time to read my little Zingers.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

Is Resistance Kicking Your Ass?

Resistance is everywhere. It’s all those people yelling at you that it can’t be done. It’s you thinking, “I could never.”

It’s those around you throwing out the caution flag saying, “Are you sure, do you really think you can do that?”

It’s those friends, relatives and co-workers saying, “Hey, don’t leave us here, we like you being a part of our woes, please don’t run off and leave us.”

You have faith in yourself. You know you can do it. But, resistance keeps yelling at you from the far left hand lower corner of your brain, “Have you lost your damn mind? You can’t take such a chance.”

Momentarily you overcome the yelling, but then the yelling starts again, even louder, “You’re too old, you’re too young, you don’t have the experience, you don’t have the education, you haven’t been there and done that yet.”

Resistance is fear. It’s you being scared. It’s you being afraid to take a chance.

Resistance is as natural as the sun coming up each day.

Resistance is you being afraid to swing from your heels and go for the fences.

If you’re going to ever have your break out moment.

If you’re going to make it happen.

If you’re going to climb the mountain.

If you’re going to control your destiny.

If you’re gonna kick ass and take names.

All these ifs…

At some point you need to tell resistance where to go and get on with it. You’re smarter than resistance. I believe in you. A lot of people believe in you. You believe in you. Let’s go.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Was Joe Maddon Right?

Joe Maddon, renowned for his achievements, clinched a World Series Title with the Chicago Cubs and secured the American League pennant with the Tampa Bay Rays. Although he briefly managed the Los Angeles Angels before parting ways in 2022, his tenure there was marked by limited success.

Maddon’s quirky personality, though not my personal favorite, is undeniably matched by his remarkable success in the field of baseball. In a recent article published in the Tampa Bay Times, he shared his perspective on why he hasn’t received any job offers since his departure. ARTICLE

Part of the reason, he believes, can be attributed to a book he authored titled, “The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball & Life.”

This book provides insights into how general managers have increasingly relied on analytics, relegating on-field managers to a secondary role.

Maddon’s book includes a thought-provoking passage: “When I first embarked on this journey in the early 2000s, baseball people held the reins, while the analytical minds observed from the periphery. Now, it’s the analytical minds steering the ship, with baseball people peering from outside. There was a time when analytics were the exception, but today, they define the essence of baseball, while traditional methods stand as the outliers. The roles have been entirely reversed.”

One of my workshop titles is “When Common Sense Meets Technology.” I’m a staunch advocate for technology, having created a life cycle and recon tool called “Up Your Gross.” Nonetheless, I often ponder whether we’ve delved so deep into technology that we’ve neglected the importance of common sense.

One immutable truth remains: every used car is unique. Regardless of the technology at our disposal, only our senses can discern the subtle nuances of a vehicle. Your automotive acumen, your expertise, and your street smarts are the ultimate determinants of success in your used car department.

You can engage with a multitude of buttons, but if you overlook the “brain-in-gear” button, you’ll never reach your full potential. Common sense should remain at the forefront, even in the age of technology.

Far too many people “overthink” things these days. And they often “over data” things as well.

Dr. Suess said it well, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Let common sense meet technology. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs