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Why creative problem solving is the secret ingredient to overcoming business challenges

Four strategies to develop your problem solving skills and become an expert at navigating challenging situations at your dealership

One of the more pressing issues facing dealerships today is navigating the numerous challenges they face, including changing consumer behavior, new OEM agreements, rising competition, and technological disruption. So, it’s understandable that dealership owners and managers might be concerned about meeting these challenges.

However, here’s something to help you confidently lift your head toward the future: The key to overcoming these challenges is through creative problem-solving, which requires a willingness to confront complex issues, take calculated risks, and think outside the box. Yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s true. So, let’s look at ways to you can develop a new paradigm. 

Move from Comfortable to Uncomfortable 

Ask anyone around you if they would rather live a comfortable or uncomfortable life, and most will choose to stay in a comfortable zone—every day. It’s part of our human makeup. But, creative problem-solving involves a shift in mindset from living a comfortable and fixed business cycle to an uncomfortable but growth-oriented cycle.  

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Rather than seeing challenges as insurmountable obstacles, dealerships should lean into those uncomfortable challenges and see them as opportunities for growth and innovation. This means being open to new ideas and perspectives, often from your employees, and recognizing that there is always room for improvement.  

Creative problem solvers are fearless in challenging the status quo and are willing to take risks and experiment with new strategies to find better solutions. Just ask Elon

Learn to Ask the Right Questions 

One of the essential aspects of creative problem-solving is the ability to ask the right questions. Rather than focusing solely on the symptoms of a problem, it is crucial to get to the root cause. This requires a deep understanding of the underlying issues and an awareness of the broader context in which they occur.  

For example, rather than simply trying to increase sales, dealerships should ask themselves why customers are choosing to buy from their competitors and what they can do to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. 

More: Why preparation and adaptability are key for auto dealers in 2023 — Mike Maroone


Another essential element of creative problem-solving is collaboration. No dealership can solve all its challenges independently, and it is vital to seek partnerships and alliances to help build a stronger business.  

This might involve working with suppliers to develop new products or services or partnering with other dealerships to share resources and expertise. Creative problem solvers are willing to seek out diverse perspectives and engage in meaningful dialogue with stakeholders at all levels of the organization. 

Learn How to Fail Well 

Finally, creative problem-solving requires a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. To stay ahead of the curve, dealerships must be willing to invest in new technologies, train their staff in new skills, and stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.  

This means being willing to take risks, make mistakes and fail. But it also requires a willingness to learn from those experiences and use them to inform future decision-making. 

By shifting to a growth-oriented mindset, asking the right questions, collaborating with others, and committing to continuous learning and improvement, dealerships can build stronger, more innovative businesses better equipped to thrive in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.  

The road ahead may be challenging, but dealerships can succeed and prosper with the right approach.

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Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He earned bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Television from the University of Texas in Austin and a Masters of Theology study from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas. His passion for automobiles lead him to become a creative director for automotive marketing ad agency. Most recently, he was the manager of interactive marketing for Mitsubishi Motors, NA.

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