A defining characteristic of businesses that are successful over the long term is the ability to continually adapt to change. Knowing what to change, when to do it and how to do it well is a task that can stump even the most progressive and well-meaning dealers and their managers.
There are three roles that must be taken by someone who wants to effect sustainable change in a dealership – the Weed Killer, the Surgeon and the Sledgehammer.
The Weed Killer
As unfortunate as it is, sometimes the people or personnel at a store are the source of many problems and the biggest obstacle to positive change. Most leaders can identify the type very quickly. These people tend to stir the pot with gossip and intrusions into other people’s business. Before long lasting change will be possible in such situations the “game changer” must be willing to take action as a Weed Killer to correct or remove these roadblocks.
People may also be an issue when they are put into a position they don’t belong. Perhaps a poorly chosen candidate is promoted. An example could be taking your best service advisor or technician and promoting them to manager. Perhaps an employee was let go in the past for good reasons but brought back. If the dealership is part of a dealer group, personnel may be transferred and not be a good fit. Again, a game changer must take action to remove these “weeds” before they spread or hold back the department
At times there are good people in place but a process that was working in the past has begun to unravel due to changes in the business or the market. This is when the Surgeon role should be assumed. The Surgeon is not afraid to break a limb to set it and let it heal properly.
An example of this changer role is a store with centralized dispatch but has grown in size. The distribution of repair orders used to work very smoothly but now there are twice as many people involved and things are breaking down. The game changer must reassess the process and may need to take another path, perhaps going with an advanced production structure or electronic dispatch.
There are times when things were never right in the first place. This is a case for the Sledge Hammer. This changer comes in to break everything to pieces and then rebuild from the ground up. When there are no processes in place, bad processes will fill in the void.
Stores that have suffered high turnover, especially at the management level, are often in this situation. At times like these it may be necessary to smash through the paper mache walls that are holding the department together and pour a solid foundation with totally new structure.
Whatever your situation is, remember that the long term focus should be on customer retention. If the processes in place aren’t working towards that end, you need someone who can take on the necessary role. Someone with market experience who knows what changes should be made and how to make them. If you would like help give me a call at 407-221-8974.