Your dealership is a sum of its parts, and these parts are every member of your team. The success of your dealership doesn’t just rest on your marketing plan or the inventory; it starts with the individuals you invite to work for you. The strength of this team can lead to lasting success for you and your dealership.
So, how can you put together a healthy and highly-functioning team? Take a look at these steps you can start to take today:
Know What You are Looking For
This entry is two-fold. You want to approach this with a skills and values-based lens. For example, you need to create a hiring process that allows you to come into contact with experienced professionals. So, you need to know what you need, skills-wise. However, you also need to hire someone that has the same values that represent your dealership. So, determine or refer to your dealership’s principles (ex. transparency, innovation, and teamwork), and find people who not only fulfill your skillsets but who also exemplify these concepts.
Be Clear About Expectations
Your team can only excel if you are clear about what you need from them. So, clarity about roles, expectations, and goals should start during the interview and continue throughout their time with your dealership. Tell them what success looks like, and tie this in with the principles from your dealership. Don’t leave tasks or expectations up to ambiguity; be clear about what you need from them.
Encourage Collaboration over Competition
While some business owners may feel that competition is the way to breed strength, collaboration may be the better alternative. Help your team understand they are working toward a specific goal, and that each of them is integral to meeting this objective. Use annual reviews and consistent feedback sessions to help them understand how they fit into the larger picture of the dealership. Then, allow them to have time to innovate and work together. The more of a “team” spirit that you help to foster, the better.
Foster Streamlined Communication
Communication can make or break a team. Your employees may have great ideas and may be willing to work with one another, but they cannot succeed if they do not have the infrastructure in place to help them communicate. First, you need to have the right tools. For example, email is excellent, but Slack can allow individuals to collaborate in real-time. Also, if someone is working off-site, Google Hangout or Zoom can enable everyone to meet in one place over video conferencing. Second, help team members understand how to best use these tools. For example, Slack should be used for urgent messaging that needs to be seen right away, while email is okay for important but less critical discussions.
Praise the Behavior You Want to See More Of
Did your teams come together to meet a deadline or sales goal? Take the time to show your appreciation and tell them why. Not only do employees like to be recognized for what they do, but they also want to know what is working (and what isn’t). So, bring attention to the behavior you like, and explain why it moves your dealership forward.
How will you know if your team is successful? How can everyone improve? Well, it’s hard to make decisions about metrics that you haven’t tracked. So, this step is where goals enter the picture. Think about every great team you know about, whether it be a football team that won the Super Bowl, or a team of scientists that photographed the first Black Hole. What they have in common is that they were working toward a common goal. As a result, everyone was willing to play the role they were given to make it there. So, developing overarching goals will allow your employees to have something to work toward as a team.
Teams are necessary. They always were, and they always will be. However, the success of a group depends on the tools and guidance they are given. You have to set them up to do well. Hiring who you need, being clear about what you need from them, encouraging teamwork, and creating goals for them to meet are the necessary steps for building healthy and successful teams. While it does take work and intentionality, it is by no means impossible. Anyone, especially you, can develop a stellar team.