It's halftime now, so what needs to change?

Publish Date: 
Dec 6, 2012
By Eric Anderson

HAVE YOU EVER coached an athletic team? Did you realize that it’s not about you but, rather, that it’s all about the team? Now take that example and overlay it onto your retail business. Though your life’s savings are attached to your dealership, is building a better dealership about you or about the team? Which comes first?

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back... or up? Felix Baumgartner this past fall had the opportunity to parachute out of his Red Bull Stratos capsule 24 miles above the planet, and in the process he got a good, objective view of a round globe called Earth. He then plummeted earthward at speeds up to 830 mph knowing full well his training and planning would get him to his goal. Now that’s pushing the envelope.

Have you seen an objective view of your business moving forward? Are you training or planning differently since the recession? Or are you one of those people who keeps doing the same things, hoping for different results?

There are plenty of data and information available to help us make new decisions and change the direction of our businesses, but where is the wisdom and leadership these days? Is the forest of trees confusing us?

I happen to have a couple of degrees, one of which is in coaching. My training always tells me, when in doubt, to go back to the fundamentals. John Wooden, perhaps one of the greatest coaches who ever lived, used to tell his basketball players they still needed to practice dribbling, passing and shooting... fundamental drills. Ugh — drills. Really? Yes! Retailers need drills, too.

Coach Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” is reproduced in the Dealernews image above. Study it as an inspiration for you to make a difference and edge out your competitor by 1 percent… every single day. That small difference adds up to a huge competitive advantage over time.

Winning is a by-product of good teamwork. If you can dramatically improve your team’s retailing skills first, then the overall score will come up. Unfortunately, all too often the “score” comes first and skills come last. Example: “We’re too busy and cash-strapped for sales training. We have sales goals to reach.” This is the perfect example of backward strategies that prevent growth and advancement; the fundamental skills are back-burnered by high scoring.   

“The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right,” claim Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson in the book, The One Minute Manager (1982, William Morrow). They note if you only criticize your staff when they’re doing something wrong, you aren’t a coach, you’re a disciplinarian. Development in the true sense of the word includes growth, mentoring and leading by example. Mouthing the words won’t help unless you are also demonstrating the behavior you’re encouraging. So do it — if you want the rest of the staff to mirror this approach. (continued)