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Freedom & Independence

Looking Beyond Today’s Challenges Toward a Successful Future

When everything is “business as normal,” it’s easy to lose track of things. Days roll into weeks, which flow into months and years. We get so busy with the day-to-day operations of the dealership that it’s possible to lose sight of why we do what we do.  


Now that we’re well into this enforced break in the action — and “business as normal” is both a memory and an aspiration — this is a perfect time to stop for a moment and consider this question. Let’s take an in-depth look into our “Why?” and examine our true motives.  

For many, the simple answers to why we work in the automotive industry might include “to make a living,” “support my family” or “build my bank account.”  

Let’s dive down further and discover our intrinsic motivations. 

In addition to loving what they do and having the competitive spirit and the desire to win, my Theory of 5 mentors and I believe there are two other fundamental reasons that drive successful people into putting their all behind any efforts they undertake: freedom (the power to act without restraint) and independence (not being subject to another’s authority).  


Money is one way to measure our success, of course, but it won’t make us truly happy or prosperous because it can’t give us enough satisfaction. Since we could always make more money, could we ever find contentment? How much is enough? When we frame the discussion in terms of freedom and independence, however, we find goals worthy of our effort. If we keep focus and build a successful career:  

• We have freedom and independence from financial worries, even when the economy takes an inevitable dip, as it is doing now. 
• We have the freedom and independence to support our family members, both financially and through our example of how we behave and the actions we take to find success. 
• We have the freedom and independence to say “no” to things when we want to, and the ability to say “yes” to great opportunities when they present themselves.  
• We have the freedom and independence to spend more time with our family and friends. 


As an added benefit, once we understand our “Why?” we’re also better able to provide leadership to our team, which is especially important in times like these. As leaders, we have an obligation to support our team’s growth and the growth of the dealership. Our team is looking to us for support; many of them are scared as to what the future holds. 

Keeping the ultimate aim of assisting our team in attaining their freedom and independence in mind, let’s examine what they’ll need from us in the coming weeks: 

A Plan — While we might not know what the coming weeks will hold for the auto industry in general and our dealership in particular, it’s essential for our team to see that we are working on it. We might have to alter our plan as conditions change, but we should always have a plan in hand to develop. Merely reacting to circumstances isn’t enough; we need to be proactive, and it is crucial our team actively observes that effort and constant communication from us.  


Honesty — We are all trying to figure out what will work best for our dealerships, both now and in the coming weeks and months. We don’t have to include every team member in every decision made in the dealership. Our team deserves to be given an overall feel, however, for the situation and the steps being taken to weather this storm and come out on the other side. If they perceive that we’re not being transparent with them now, we’ll risk losing their trust and probably won’t receive their best efforts and commitment in the future.  


Positivity — If a team’s leader believes the sky is about to fall, they are not going to be able to give you their best efforts because they’ll constantly be expecting a disaster. While we shouldn’t paste on a smile and give “everything is normal” answers to their questions, keep in mind that “the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack.” We should let them know that we believe our best days are still ahead of us and that this, too, shall pass.   

Perhaps most important of all, it’s imperative to provide our teams with tools to see beyond the current obstacles and allow them to be involved in creating the bigger picture. If we keep the concepts of “freedom” and “independence” in focus, we can reframe the question “Oh, no! What are we going to do?” into “What are we doing on a consistent basis to build our best future?”

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