There is no doubt that to achieve results you need to know "what you are trying to achieve" and then you need to know "how you are going to get there." For the sake of this article let’s refer to them as the "What" and "How."
Once you’ve established the "What" then the "How" becomes what’s important. The problem often occurs that as you start to go down the road of the "How" frustration starts to build when the "How" isn’t getting it done. The "How" begins to create doubt about whether the "What" is doable. Not long thereafter the whole thing begins to unravel.
So let’s talk first about the "What." The "What" comes about because of a need or desire to implement positive change and improvement. The "What" is the ultimate goal. Goals can certainly change, but you must stay focused on the "What" even though the "How" may change.
The "What" might be that you need to generate $500,000 in gross profit a month in order to pay the expenses and make a tidy profit. "How" you get there is not all that important. You just have to get there.
It may be that you rely mostly on your fixed operations to generate the greatest portion of the gross and that’s fine. Certainly you need sales to carry its share, but with fixed being so strong you can make it happen with a clear focus on an area you do well in.
Here’s another example of the "What" and the "How." The "What" is you need $200,000 a month in used car gross. It may be that you can sell 100 cars at $2,000 a car or you can sell 200 cars at $1000 a car.
Different sets of circumstances and market conditions may cause you to focus more one way than the other. The "What" has not changed. You need $200,000 in gross. What changes is the "How" you get there.
There are so many factors that go into play; staffing, inventory availability, lending conditions, competition and the market you live in.
If you are having great success today in your dealership with a certain type of "How" that doesn’t mean if you buy another dealership 200 miles away that your "How" is going to remain the same. It’s pretty easy to establish the "What"; the hard part is figuring out the "How."
There is no 10 step process and/or concept that’s going to work all the time. You must stay flexible and keep scrambling to figure out the "How."
The "How" is always changing. If you get a certain "How" implanted in your mind and it’s not working then you end up having great doubts as to whether or not the "What" can be done.
I often remind dealers and managers that you never get this business right. There is always something to fix and whether you want to admit it or not that’s one of the intrigues of being in the business in the first place. If you weren’t being challenged it wouldn’t be half as much fun.
If the "What" was worth identifying then it’s worth chasing the "How" to get it done. Far too often we don’t want to identify the "What" because of the bad experience of the failure of the previous "Hows." The "Hows" are nothing but little bumps in the road on the way to achieving the "What."
When a realistic "What" is decided upon don’t let the changing of the "How" get you off track. You just have to keep digging.
My "What" is to keep stirring your thinking up as to the "How." That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs