Knowing in advance what your desired result is, in the most objective and tangible form possible, is the first step to achieving it. But ONLY the first step. Frankly many dealership’s service operations still need to work on that step. If you do not have a budget, target goals, or a forecast of desired financial results for a given period, you must start there. For those who are more advanced on the management spectrum the question becomes how to achieve your goals. Here is where the rubber meets the road and where we see a lot of confusion.
Many dealerships believe that posting goals and their team members performance against those goals is a complete process for achieving their desired results. “Competition breeds results” and “Nobody wants to be at the bottom of the list” are phrases I have heard many times over the years. While that’s true, unless you have a very talented but undermotivated group of employees, that method is not going to yield enough improvement to achieve the desired results.
Most often the issue is education and skills. Put simply, knowing what to do and how to do it in the real world. STOP; do you think I’m talking about service advisors or technician education and skills? I’m not! I’m talking about management’s ability to execute in the real world. The ability to motivate, lead, and manage employees is way more difficult than knowing how to use a DMS, use a piece of software, conduct a walk around, diagnose an intermittent engine failure, read wiring schematics, or present additional service recommendations.
What should a management team do?
Our belief is the most effective way to manage and lead employees is to create a system where:
- Clear and tangible goals are created
- They are communicated to the relevant employees
- Employees understand those goals
- Employees understand HOW to achieve those goals
All steps are necessary. They get progressively more difficult and progressively more impactful. A prerequisite to executing these steps is a management team that understands HOW to get results. HOW means knowing how to lead and manage your employees to perform the right behaviors which will lead to the desired results. STOP; did you think I only meant the service department management team? I’m not! I’m talking about the service management team and everyone above them in the org chart.
One of the biggest issues in the dealership environment today is the disconnect between the Dealer/GM/Executive “Front End” experts and the Fixed Operations “Back-End” staff. An entire book can be written on why dealerships underperform due to this disconnect. Because of this key issue we created three management workshops to address this opportunity:
1. Dealers and GM’s Only
- This is to help educate Dealers, GMs, and Upper Management Executive teams on service operations and how-to manager your Service Management team.
2. Service Management Only
- This workshop focuses on how to connect employee behavior to results by managing the technicians and service advisor’s behavior leading to the desired results.
3. Upper Management with their Service Management Teams Together
- This workshop takes parts of the previous two and works on how to get everyone on the same page so upper management can reinforce to all service employees and drive improved behavior and results.
Each workshop is offsite, to remove daily management distractions, and lasts two full days. It will improve the way you manage your service operations forever.