In sports, there is a saying, “It’s All About the Jimmy’s and Joe’s not the X’s and O’s.” What that means is, having the right players, with the right talent, the right aptitudes and the right work ethic, is often far more important than anything the coach will ever come with as a game plan and plays he/she will design for the game. This same philosophy is true in business.

A coach who is the manager and leader can create great processes, buy the best online and offline tools to assist in getting the job done, but it’s always about the person who uses the tools, follows the game plan and processes that make the biggest difference. Although great tools and processes can enable people to perform at a higher level, it’s usually the caliber of the person that creates the results from the tools.

softwareEvery day, there seems to be new software, a new program, a new social media or app. Most all of them have a lot of merit and some are flat out fantastic. And, none of them are worth a damn unless someone, somewhere uses them and uses them correctly. CRMs go unused or greatly underutilized. Many people in dealerships will swear up and down, they don’t know how to use the CRM properly. Most dealerships cannot figure a lease and almost all blame it on their desking tool or a lack of knowledge about how to use it. Endless data sits in the DMS often never tapped. Used vehicle software resides at the fingertips with incredible reporting and sourcing data but never gets opened.

Related: Five Ways Dealership Managers Can Improve Their Leadership Skills

It’s hard to hire zeros and make them heroes. When you hire people without work ethic, dedication, and discipline or without a “teachable spirit”, you get employees who waste time rather than invest it and then blame everything and everybody. At the end of the day, it’s the leader’s responsibility to hire the right people, educate those people, give them very clearly communicated expectations, add some motivation in and then very importantly, hold them accountable.

The amount of dollars in lost utilization in most dealerships is astronomically high. Leaders, please do not buy another tool, widget or shiny object without a game plan on how the team members will learn how to utilize it, continue to learn and have a game plan for utilizing it along with a built-in accountability measurement. Without these things put in writing first, you are doomed to waste time and money with little to no ROI. “If it’s not written down, it does not exist.”

As leaders, you must enact the Rule of 3C’s – Coach, Counsel, Cut. Your first step is to make sure you are doing everything possible to hire the RIGHT person, not just bodies. I have heard way too many bad managers say, “we just need bodies.” No, you don’t! You need the right Jimmy’s and Joe’s to execute the X’s and O’s!

softwareAssuming that you have now hired the right Jimmy’s and Joes, spend whatever resources and capital necessary to coach them on how to use them properly. In this case, the money you think you save by not training your team is lost immediately in multiples from a lack of execution.

Once you have hired and trained your team, you must counsel the non-performers and underperformers. Sit down with each underperforming team member, and find out if anything is impeding his or her ability to perform. If not, you must give them written and verbal instructions on what to do, how to do it and the expected results and expected progress by a stated date. If that does not occur, you must cut them. If not, you are doing wrong by them, you, your business, and the other team members as well.

Related: The Next Ten Years: Transitioning from Hardware to Software

Holding your team accountable is essential to having a high performing team. If you do not hold people accountable, you are practicing “passive-aggressive management.” Your team will not respect you as a leader and your business will forever be in a state of flux.

Today, design a plan to recruit the RIGHT people, train and retrain them, give them the tools they need to do their job, give them clear expectations and hold them accountable. If you do this, you will see that having the right Jimmy’s and Joe’s will make your X’s and O’s much easier to execute and you will better about the tools you are investing so much money in.



Did you enjoy this article from Mark Tewart? Read other articles from him here.

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  1. If you basically offer excellent pay, a positively organized work environment, and a fair work/life balance for employees, then you’ll most likely attract talented diligent people who will perform very well. One does not need an advanced degree from any prominent educational institution to understand the value of this great business concept. Now, what about the opposite? If you offer an inconsistent and non-commensurate pay structure that encourages fraud and deception to achieve a higher paycheck, a high pressure high stress environment managed a tyrannical dictator Ebenezer Scrooge/Josef Stalin type of leadership, and excessive working time demands exempt of overtime pay laws, then employer turnover will be quite high and the remaining staff will be exhausted and demoralized. This terrible method can even cause major problems such as a shortage of technicians and a worker turnover rate that is higher than any other industry… oh those two statistics sound very familiar. I’ll even risk a provocative hypothesis and say Jimmy and Joe might be more productive if the work is ultimately rewarding with positive reinforcement from benevolent management along the way… Or pay them low wages while they work in a blistering hot/freezing cold filthy garage and then threaten to axe them if they fail to meet absurd productivity goals.

  2. Mr. O’Malley,

    Thanks for your comments.
    I would not disagree with most of what you have said. However, I would like to respond to a few of the things mentioned. In your response, you stated, “Or pay them low wages while they work in a blistering hot/freezing cold filthy garage and then threaten to axe them if they fail to meet absurd productivity goals.” My response to that is, Dealers have been required by manufacturers to spend millions of dollars on facility upgrades over the years and almost all dealerships today are pristine Taj Mahals and anything but hot, cold, filthy garages. Have you been in many dealerships recently? Also, in the regards to pay plans. Offering higher guaranteed pay plans does not guarantee a better or more motivated sales staff. Often, the guarantees bring a higher rate of average people. As an example, in pharmaceutical sales, a good sales rep will be given a salary of $80,000 to $150,000 plus bonuses. It attracts reps with college degrees and what you may say on average is a better quality of person. Yet, turnover is high and the 80/15/5 rule still exists. 85% need lots of attention. 15% are good and mostly self driven and 5% are superstars that are self actualized. Most dealerships still offer a pay plans that are geared towards commissioned based production. High producers can and do make a large amount of money. The dealership signs the paycheck but the salesperson fills in the numbers. However, the premise of the article was about attracting better people and giving those people better leadership. Even if you attract better people, the dealership will underperform without good leadership. So will any business in any industry. Using sports as an example, football teams with great talent with great facilities become poor teams with no to poor leadership.


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