What’s the number one thing that separates your dealership or business from your competitors? Silly question, huh? It’s obviously the people. The leadership of an organization sets the tempo of what the expectations are even if they “state” them or not. If you never announce what your expectations are you have actually done so by remaining silent.
I was thinking this morning when going into my local dry cleaners, why do I go there? Other dry cleaners are just as close and I know for a fact that one of them does a better job. The difference is the people who work there. They know me by name and they are friendly. Pretty simple, huh? As I think about other businesses I frequent it’s the same thing. Be it the post office, restaurant, Office Depot…they all offer the same items and/or services. I select which one I will give my business to based on the attitude of the people who work there.
Attitude does not happen by happenstance. It happens because someone has led that attitude. Attitude is not developed by having a meeting and stating what the new policy is on attitude. It’s done by example and continuous training/coaching of the entire team.
Most people would point to Ritz Carlton Hotels as having the best employees and customer service concepts. Do you think that happens just by hiring nice people, paying them well and having a new employee orientation program? You and I both know that cannot be true. First they are in the same talent pool that you are. They want to hire nice, well spoken, talented people. Second, I doubt very seriously that they pay the most money and third we all know that there is no way to maintain the level of service they do by doing an employee orientation and saying “go get ‘em.”
Most businesses do just that. They hire people and say “go get em” and they wonder why they can never achieve the level of success they would like. It’s really about developing a culture within your organization. In order to do that you need to retrain all the members of your team at least once a quarter in order to coach them on what the “Cultural Expectations” are. This needs to be in a formalized session with the Owner/Operator/GM actually doing the presentation. Do not delegate this to your HR department or other management to handle. It has to come from the top because it is so important to your survival and success.
The message should be very clear. Here is who we are and this is the way you will need to conduct yourself if you expect to continue working here. This is not about threatening them but it’s about making sure there is not an ounce of doubt as to what we expect of our team members. Part of the message for those who “get it” is that they need to make those who don’t “get it” very uncomfortable to the point that they leave on their own accord.
Daily life is very much like the military. When I was in the Marine Corps they often referred to “that 10%.” Meaning there are always 10% of the people who just can’t do “it,” whatever “it” might be. Just as in the Marine Corps, you need to run the misfits off. This doesn’t have to be mean or cruel. Just factual and to the point.
Never forget, you can train and re-train all you want, but you must set the example each and every day. You cannot operate under the theory of “do what I say not what I do.” That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs