It was recently pointed out to me that not everyone understands the term "did you get up with…" For me I’ve always thought it made perfectly good sense. In my little world it means did you make contact with so and so.
We often fail to realize that everyone does not live in our world and speak our language. Just because we know what we mean doesn’t mean everyone else does. Our ability to communicate with others is critical to our success and even more so when you think of it in terms of an organization.
It’s not unusual for the owners or top management to have a vision for where they want to go, but they communicate that vision so poorly that it breaks apart before it ever had a chance to succeed.
I’ve written in other articles about my business partner for some 30 years, Ashton Lewis from Chesapeake, VA. Ashton is a second-generation dealer. He, his cousin, Lewis Wood, and George Pelton are the principal owners of the First Team Auto group located in Chesapeake, Roanoke, and Hampton, VA. Ashton’s son, Ashton Lewis, Jr. is the third generation and successor to the operations. The baton is gradually being handed over to Ashton, Jr. The future is very bright. These are four of the finest people I have ever met in my life.
Back in November Ashton and his team attended a Dave Anderson’s Strategy Summit held in Dallas, TX. Dave’s summit was an awesome experience for the team and has served as the catalyst to create a new and exciting vision and direction.
I had the distinct honor last week of serving as the Emcee for their kickoff meeting announcing the new vision to all their associates. Weeks and weeks went into the planning of the meeting. It was a mandatory meeting with several hundred team members attending at a local convention center. All the dealerships involved were closed down until 9:30 that morning so everyone could be present. There’s a very powerful message when you close an entire dealership down during one of the busiest times of the day.
The meeting was extremely well done. Prizes galore. Color TV sets, IPods, Kindles, and a grand prize of an all-expense paid trip to the Daytona 500 for two. But the most important part was the energy and effort put together to communicate the vision and road map to achieve the goals at hand. A full video presentation with cool lights and awesome music. (And of course me dancing around.)
Their theme is 1/10/25. 1 meaning to win all the manufacturer’s awards, 10 meaning 10% growth, and 25, meaning for the three stores located in the Hampton Roads area to sell 2500 used cars this year. No doubt that one was my favorite.
At the end of the meeting every employee received a 1 dollar bill, a 10 dollar bill and an American Express gift card for 25 dollars to cement the commitment to the 1/10/25 theme.
So, you’re sitting there thinking, what’s the point of all this chatter? The point is, if you’re going to attack something, be it a new vision or whatever, you have to "get after it." Oops, maybe that’s more slang too.
There needs to be a total all out commitment to make it happen. In order to make it happen you have to be willing to spend time and money to do so. There are no short cuts, easy or cheap ways when you are trying to achieve excellence.
This past Monday the University of Alabama played LSU for the national championship in New Orleans. Alabama won 21-0 with an amazing defensive display. In an interview on Tuesday morning the Alabama coach Nick Saban said the following when discussing his defensive team. "I sometimes get upset with my guys in practice when I don’t think they are going all out or make a mistake. But, when they toss the ball out there on game day, they come to play." When you turn the key every day to enter your business, are you "coming to play?"
The team isn’t going to commit unless they see that you are committed. They know you are committed based on your actions, words and follow through. You cannot just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. (Yikes, more slang.)
It doesn’t matter if you have a new vision or an old one that needs a kick in the butt due to evaporation or whatever. If you don’t communicate it to the masses in terms they can understand, it’s not going to happen. They have to buy into it and then live and breathe it every day.
If you want to be better in 2012 than you were in 2011 it’s not going to happen by sitting around thinking about it. It will only happen when you are committed to communicating the message in a way that all can understand.
Have you "gotten up with Dave yet?" That’s all I’m gonna ask. Tommy Gibbs