Most dealerships are not failing in every measurable category. Most are failing in one or two, have trouble in three or four, and the rest are probably doing OK. As the leader of your dealership, you need a reliable method for prioritizing your resources. Follow these four action steps to identify the operational components that need repair right now:

1. Look Within.

To impart on your managers and staff the vision you have for your dealership, you must ask yourself a number of tough questions. Have you defined what success will look life and communicated that to your team? Have you offered the training and development they need to bridge the gap between failure and success? If so, have you started leading more and managing less?

This short list of vision-building questions should correct the dazed and confused looks and lack of effort from your team. Create a compelling vision everyone can and will buy into. Then train it, monitor it, coach it, and reward it.

2. Be Visible Everywhere.

Break the “office in the a.m.” habit and get into the “in the service drive” habit. Don’t answer the phone, read emails, or do anything else until you have spent an hour in the service drive — at a minimum. Want more success? Don’t leave the shop until 10:00 a.m.

Dealership leaders who try this find they are able to solve any number of customer issues, create an atmosphere of esprit de corps, and uncover common goals, all of which leads to increase performance.

In the beginning, many people will assume this is your new “flavor of the month.” They will expect your management style to return to normal after it has run its course. If you are serious about making a permanent change, you need to hold yourself accountable. Don’t skip a single day.

Your goal is to rebuild and rekindle relationships with your personnel and your customers, in the service drive and beyond. Be available and accessible. People need to feel like you will listen to them and act on the information they give you.

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