What is a Team? A group of people linked in a common purpose. A group does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams typically have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
Ask Yourself “Do We Have a Team?”
One of the challenges facing managers today is finding team-oriented employees. Normally when a manager hires an employee they most likely pick them for their skill set and past job experience.
We must start to think outside of the box to attract the right individuals to fill the positions we have open.
A successful process some dealerships have begun to re-explore is the development and implementation of an apprentice program. This type of program helps ensure a dealership hires the right employee for the position. The employee will be mentored and trained to the standards the dealership desires.
You must ask yourself, is your dealership a team or just a collection of people, with each member focusing entirely on their own concerns? Is this a team? If you cannot honestly answer that your department is working as a team, then everybody involved must realize no matter how hard they try, the department will never achieve its full profitability potential.
Does this sounds like your dealership? At the very least, your staff should understand the benefits for everyone if a team environment is achieved. As team members, they will learn how to help one another–helping other team members realize their true potential, and creating an environment that allows everyone to go beyond his or her limitations.
- Communication – The service manager must collaborate with the parts manager and vice versa. The technicians must be able to use the knowledge of both managers to get his or her job done successfully. To help your team collaborate, try giving an unknown task to a staff member and ask them to use their co-workers to find a solution.
- Listen – The management team should hold employee meetings that include everyone. These are good times to discuss ideas, offer opinions, and seek guidance. These meetings may reveal how tasks could be completed faster and more efficiently with open communication. One of the greatest benefits of these meetings is improved employee satisfaction.
- Lead by Example – Dealers, General Managers & Fixed Managers should be part of the team and show involvement throughout processes, projects, ideas and initiatives. Work with your team to teach them how teams work together. Take the manager hat off when working as a team member.
A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating a performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.
When a business begins the transition into any process improvement, one thing must be determined. Does the entire business employee body understand the direction the dealership/department is going and the importance of working together to achieve the desired outcome?
The Four Golden Rules
- Setting Goals – This emphasizes the importance of clear objectives. As managers, we must focus on continuous action planning to identify ways of defining success, areas of improvement and the achievement of set goals. This is intended to strengthen, motivate and foster a sense of ownership. By continuously monitoring all specific outcomes, a management team can measure their progress and focus on areas of opportunities that were previously missed.
- Role Clarification – This emphasizes improving staff members’ understanding of their own and others’ respective roles and duties. This is intended to reduce ambiguity and foster understanding of the importance of a structure by activities aimed at defining and adjusting roles. It emphasizes the members’ interdependence and the value of having each member focus on their own role in the department’s success.
- Problem Solving – This emphasizes identifying major problems within the department and working together to find solutions. This can have the added benefit of enhancing critical thinking.
- Interpersonal-Relations – This emphasizes increasing teamwork skills such as giving and receiving support, communication, and sharing. An assigned facilitator should guide the processes and situations to develop mutual trust and open communication between team members.
As a manager of a fixed operations department you must:
- Communicate accurately and unambiguously
- Accept and support one another
- Check for understanding – Share ideas and understanding
- Check for agreement
- Resolve conflicts quickly and constructively.
I challenge you to evaluate your dealership and honestly ask yourself, are we functioning as a united team? If you cannot answer yes, then consider how much more energized and profitable your dealership will become once you commit to building that team.
Written by Kemp Evans
If you would like to discuss more options, please feel free to call me at (205) 603-1996 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.