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Leadership Solutions

How Do You Define Leadership

As the leader or one of the leaders of your dealership, you know that you are someone who influences the individuals and groups within your organization, and part of your responsibilities is to help guide them toward successful careers.

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As the leader or one of the leaders of your dealership, you know that you are someone who influences the individuals and groups within your organization, and part of your responsibilities is to help guide them toward successful careers.

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Throughout the years that we’ve brought you AutoSuccess, our contributors have provided great words to inspire us all to be better leaders, and we’ve featured many dealers who are shining examples of true trailblazers. Taking a cue from them, I’m bringing you a few points and dealer examples that I’ve read about recently.

Articulate a Vision
In order for your company to succeed, there has to be an overall vision that you and your employees are inspired to follow.

You may have developed a mission statement for your dealership, which states what you do, how you do it and why. Can you take yours a few steps further and turn it into a vision for the future of your dealership?

Maybe your vision is to make changes for a more sustainable company, from steps as simple as reducing the amount of paper used or complex as adding solar panels to your building. 

Lakeside Chevrolet of Rockwall is choosing sustainability for its vision for the future. The North Texas dealership will begin sourcing almost one-third of its electricity needs from a solar roof-mount system that will produce environmentally friendly electricity while cutting operating costs.

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“Going solar is not only an environmentally friendly choice, it’s actually a strategic advantage,” said Bob Holliman, Lakeside’s dealer. “North Texas is an extremely competitive market for automobile sales and service; if we can save on utility bills — and the savings start day one — then that money can go into services that will make a real difference for our customers, helping our business grow.”

Passion Is Key
It’s hard to be a great leader if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing and the service you’re providing.

You’re not in this business to just sell cars. You’re providing not just a service to customers, but also great employment opportunities, which in turn helps your local economy.

If your employees aren’t showing up for work looking forward to the day ahead of them, what can you as their leader do to improve the working conditions?

Would free/discounted gym memberships or wellness programs, additional training or flexible schedules help keep employees happy? See what matters to them and try to work that into your program.

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When employees know you’ve taken a personal interest in their lives, and that you sincerely care about their professional growth, I think they’ll work harder and be happier. Let them know how their contributions to the dealership have made a difference for the better.

Employees of Ricart Automotive in Columbus, OH, enjoy benefits such as a 401(k) match, wellness facilities and classes with a full-time wellness coordinator, plus yoga and mindfulness classes, vacation and paid time off. Employees can also use company-provided Huffy bicycles to make their way around the group’s expansive 75-acre Mega Mall property.

Ricart Automotive is one of the largest employers in Columbus, OH, with a staff of over 500 employees, and for many years, has been recognized in Columbus CEO magazine’s Top Work Places in Columbus list, even earning the The Top Work Place in all-of Central Ohio in 2016. Based on staff input, the list reflects  employees’ experiences over the previous year.

Inspire to Do Good
How do you inspire your team members to keep doing their best? It starts with you.

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So many dealership participate in charity events and fundraisers, and the benefits are provided to more than just the recipients of the campaigns.

I recently read the story of #1 Cochran dealership with locations throughout Pennsylvania, who surprised a disabled Army veteran with a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Jason Boyer, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, is disabled from military injuries and works to support his family, including his mother. When his vehicle didn’t pass inspection, he depended on ride-sharing services as well help from friends to get to work and doctor’s appointments.

Then last season at a Pittsburgh Pirates Military Appreciation Night, as the announcer told Boyer’s story to the crowd, Pirates Chairman and CEO Bob Nutting, PNC Regional President Lou Cestello and #1 Cochran’s President and CEO Rob Cochran took the field. Little did Boyer know that a brand-new Grand Cherokee was pulling up behind them.

The article went on to explain that Boyer was beyond grateful. I’ll bet that the dealership people involved in getting that vehicle to him were inspired and grateful as well. Inspired to strive to be our best, grateful for Boyer’s service and for being a part of a company that takes care of our veterans. 

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In addition to more dealers’ stories, our dedicated contributors have great leadership, marketing and sales/training advice for you in this information-packed issue. I hope you find something in the following pages that will help you lead your team to a successful year.


Click here to view more solutions from Susan Givens.

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