Making the Connection: Four Ways to Align your Goals

Who are you as a dealership, and what do you stand for? If someone were to ask the above question to one of your employees, what would you want them to say? Would they be able to connect their answer to your dealership’s goals easily? Admittedly, this is a loaded question, but asking it can help guide your company’s goals, objectives, and overall principles.

Connecting your dealership’s objectives to the core values and principles of your dealership makes it easier to motivate your staff. You can make a case for changing direction or creating a more rigorous goal when your principles inform your approach. So, how do you do this? How can  you get your staff in a position to push your dealership forward? It all lies in setting goals that align with your dealership’s values. Read on for four ways to make this connection.

Evaluate Your Principles
In the beginning, you may have had a different idea of what were the most important values of your dealership. They may have worked and accomplished what you needed. However, it may be time to set new principles as your problems and interactions with customers become more nuanced.

goalsFor example, if customer satisfaction has taken a hit and you want this to become a permanent priority, you may want to evolve from “providing excellent customer service,” to “the promise of facilitating a professional and authentic customer experience.”

Customer service may only resonate with team members who have direct interaction with customers. While providing an overall exemplary experience reaches the F&I, service, marketing, and all other functional departments. Begin to dig deeper into your goals and see if you can better connect a current problem to the re-evaluation of a principle. This is also the first step in redefining or reinforcing the answer to the question asked at the beginning of this article.

Communicate and Collaborate with Your Staff
Continuing with the customer experience example —which could be applied to any other issue within your dealership—it is time to attach goals to address this issue. Now, it is vital to consult past data and send out surveys to customers, but before this occurs, you should speak with your staff about the change in principle and the efforts to attach new goals to it.

This process should be collaborative and involve a conversation with your staff. These conversations can also act as focus groups to receive more information on how each staff’s job impacts the customer. This data allows you to work with managers or critical team members in each department to develop goals that inform the new —or re-evaluated—principle.

Set SMART Goals
Once you have communicated your intent to your staff and evaluated how their jobs interact with the principle that should inform your goal, it is time to set the target (s) themselves. Work with key team members to develop goals and objectives that adhere to the acronym of SMART.

  • Specific – Goals that are clear and pertain to exactly what the worker does.
  • Measurable – Make sure the goal includes a metric that is easy to track.
  • Achievable – You have to ensure the goal is attainable while also creating a challenge for the worker. If the goal is easily met then it is not moving your staff far enough to create change. If the goal is too difficult to reach, then it may discourage your team.
  • Relevant – The goal should stand out, but it should align with other objectives as well as your principles.
  • Time-based – You should attach a date by which the staff should meet the goal.

Ensuring your goals and objectives meet these criteria will ensure they are clear, easy to understand, and relevant to your dealership’s principles.

Convey These Goals and Establish Check-Ins
This is where the core principle and goal-setting connection takes place. Any SMART goals you have created in relation with customer experience for all functional departments would be connected to the principle “the promise of facilitating a professional and authentic customer experience.” This connection makes it easier to make a case for motivating your staff to meet this goal now that this is an outlined principal the company now stands by.

It is critical to allow time for evaluation so managers can sit down with their staff to assess their progress with the goal. As a leader, you can even sit down with your entire team to reaffirm the goal’s attachment to the dealership principles.

Final Thoughts
Recently, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, sent a letter to his staff acknowledging the fact that the company reached a stock valuation of $1 trillion. While he celebrated the milestone, he made a point to recognize the core principles that took them there, and the importance of sticking with them. This is a valuable lesson in always having relevant principles that inform your workplace culture, dealership mission, and overall goal-setting. Connecting your goals and business principles provide guidance, even during times of great success or uncertainty.