Could Your Dealership Use a Culture Tune-Up to be More Effective?


The type of culture your organization demonstrates every day – behaviors, actions, decisions – has an impact on employee motivation, customer satisfaction, productivity, performance, and retention.

Companies have a culture, whether it is what is articulated, and intended or what continually evolves as managers and employees come and go that have their own core values and beliefs. It takes emotional intelligence (EQ) and the leadership skills of managers to carry out the intended culture.  If leaders and managers have not been provided leadership development and are not equipped to understand how their leadership style or personality affect others or don’t understand how others are hardwired and act with empathy and give effective coaching and feedback, you may have a hard time with employee motivation, productivity and retaining talent, including a diverse workforce. This has a direct impact on workload, stress, satisfaction, and the bottom line.

As a top leader or owner, there are three areas to ask yourself to determine if your leadership/management team needs a tune-up, new or sharpened tools.

#1: Emotional Intelligence

cultureLeadership never stops and today more than ever, leadership matters and there is a heightened need for effective leaders that can understand themselves and others to influence individuals in a forward positive productive direction.  This takes emotional intelligence skills. How are your leader/manager’s emotional intelligence skills?  Do they understand how their actions affect others, do they pay attention to employee individual needs to influence long-term engagement productivity and performance? How is their empathy and self-management in times of crisis? Is it time for a tune-up and to sharpen their leadership blades or tools?  

#2: Culture

Many dealerships don’t have their cultural elements articulated and employees resort to their own core values or what they perceive to be the culture. If dealers/owners don’t provide the road map or a culture guide to help employees know how to think, act, and make decisions, the culture is a hodgepodge and a mismatch to what the owner may want or expect. In reality, is what is taking place how you want to be known in the community?

Or, if your company has those elements articulated, are employees and managers just going through the motions acting, behaving, and making decisions based on their own perceived culture?  If so, you may have a misaligned culture.  You may lose prospects or business and have disengaged or uncivil managers and employees, teams that don’t work well together, and a turnover issue.  You may have the greatest strategy in the world, but if your culture is not aligned, the demonstrated culture will eat your strategy for lunch (Peter Drucker). It may be time for a tune-up and/or to articulate your culture.

I coined the elements I am referring to as the MVP Program (Mission, Values/guiding principles, and Priorities), and developing MVP Champions. Having these elements also pave the way for who or what type of people you want to attract, recruit, hire, and retain and that can also attract customers with like values. There is an internal and external value.

#3: Leadership Development

The “Priorities” in the MVP Program can include Leadership and/or Team Development.  Think of this as a leadership tune-up that includes sharpening their leadership blades or tools. Leaders and managers can make or break a company. They play a key role in the culture of a great and successful organization and can be a source for a competitive advantage.  The problem is that many employees are promoted based on technical skills not based on their ability to lead others and they find themselves frustrated and less effective than they could be. The cycle of engagement and positive growth and productivity is compromised and turnover can become an issue.

Leadership and/or team development includes a series of workshops that help leaders and managers influence productivity, performance, and engagement. Becoming aware of one’s own leadership style, blind spots, and bias can pave the way for positive change, better culture, and retention. Gaining knowledge and best practices for understanding self and others and practicing giving and receiving feedback that works and coaching techniques assists managers and leaders in influencing better communication, relationships, and reduced conflict between teams. Research corroborates that effective leadership that leads a positive aligned culture equates to increased profitability (put in dealership and business terms, repeat business, referrals, diverse workforce, customer experience/CSI, less turnover). Could your team use a tune-up or sharpened or new tools to help them become more effective?

Think about a tune-up or sharpening your leadership/management tools to help you emerge stronger from the pandemic and the civil situation going on in the world.

Did you enjoy this article from Martha Rader? Read other articles from her here.

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