Moving from Command and Control to Collaboration

retain top talent

By taking time to invest in your employees, you increase your chances of slowing down the revolving door. BY KIRK MANZO

For the past several years, dealerships have struggled to achieve full staff. The formula to attract and retain top talent continues to elude many operators in our business.

The solution lies in accepting that the answer lies within an audience that our industry unfortunately has difficulties connecting with – the under 32 crowd. Some folks prefer the millennial label, let’s just be practical here, its candidates under the age of 32.

One of the dynamics that we must examine is the continued use of the “command and control model” for operating today’s dealerships. It has been the dominant model for the past 30 plus years and, to be candid, has served our industry well, which is probably why so many are reluctant to let it go.

In order to provide the type of experience customers want, should we not first examine the employee experience first? Gallup’s Q-12 employee satisfaction and engagement survey tells us that only 30 percent of U.S. workers are actively engaged. One reason for this may be the responses to the questions on the survey related to their organization/dealership’s “valuing their opinion.”

In a command and control model, team members’ opinions are viewed as irrelevant. I am the manager, I am in charge and if I want your opinion I will simply give it to you. Harsh, but how many dealerships continue to operate under this antiquated philosophy and culture?

The journey to create a more appealing work environment for the next generation of workers begins by applying a more collaborative approach when operating a store. Creating a team structure can help foster the type of interaction and interdependence that connects your people. In turn this helps reduce employee turnover and increases both employee and customer satisfaction, and who doesn’t want that?

John Maxwell identifies success as being able to connect with others by establishing solid relationships. So how do you know if you have built solid relationships with your team?

Look for these five characteristics in those relationships:

  1. RESPECT. Do you respect this person’s opinions? Do they respect yours? If yes, then how do you show them that respect?
  2. SHARED EXPERIENCES. Have you been to the mountain top together? Have you endured the fires of hell and come out the other side? When was the last time you did something together outside of work?
  3. TRUST. Similar to the first characteristic, do you trust them? Do they trust you? What can you point to as an example of that trust in practice?
  4. RECIPROCITY. Life and relationships are a two way street. How have each of you displayed “acts of selflessness” to benefit the other person? The true sign of maturity is not age, but rather when we accept that it is not about us. Success comes when we accept and realize it’s about them! We must learn to move from “I” to “we.”
  5. MUTUAL ENJOYMENT. Relationships require spending time together. Do you enjoy them being around you? Do they enjoy your company as well? People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. It may be cliché, but it is certainly the truth.

Moving to a more collaborative approach means that managers (leaders) need to move towards their people versus waiting for them to come to you. We must make the leap of faith that they are capable of getting the job done. Encouraging them to stretch to their potential is part of our job as the leader.    Believing in your people before they have proven themselves is the key to motivating people to reach their potential.

Taking the time to invest in your people is the best way to ensure your dealership’s success. Your level of success will be determined by those closest to you. Without their support you are limited to what you can accomplish alone.

The Law of Significance states, that one is too small a number to achieve greatness!

So work to identify those people around you who are both capable and motivated to learn what it takes to rise to the next level. With you as their guide, there is no limit to what you can accomplish together. Provide the vision and pour into the team and watch them help make the impossible happen!