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Where's the Talent?
The landscape of the Auto Industry is constantly changing with no end in sight. While one industry trend, "technology," has allowed dealers to operate smarter, leaner, and more efficiently; another industry trend, "lack of talent," has caused many dealers to constantly chase their tails in search of growth and even sustainability.
The Car Business of old enjoyed a large supply of savvy salespeople, fast-footed veteran managers, and aggressive dealer principles. Todays operators find themselves constantly riddled with the stresses of attracting and developing new talent. It seams as though while the opportunities in this industry are endless, the young class of America is less than thrilled at the prospect of exchanging their time for money in this evolving marketplace.
Talent is not consistent. Everyone's level of talent has a low and a high, never staying the same. While some individuals' talent level gets better with age, others' talent level seems to fade away into the sunset. Bottom line... talent comes and goes. So what's the answer?
For starters, dealerships can not be measured, nor held hostage from reaching their goals based on their ability to attract and develop talent alone.
Ultimately, there is something far more important than talent, and that is systems and culture.When you look at some of the most successful businesses in history you will find that they had phenominal systems and culture; and while individuals' talent may have changed over time, the company's systems and culture remained the same.
In best-selling book "Good to Great" author Jim Collins discusses research that was conducted on elite companies that made the leap from good-to-great and sustained those results for at least 15 years. In the book, Jim Collins lays out the similarities between these companies including: Level 5 Leadership, a First Who..Then What Philosophy, the Ability to Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet never Lose Faith), a Steadfast Adherence to the Hedgehog Concept, a Culture of Discipline, the Strategic use of Technology as an Accelerator of Momentum, and an improvement model that looked more like a Flywheel than a Doom Loop. All companies had rock solid systems and culture, but not just any culture. A culture of discipline. While all good-to-great companies did follow a First Who...Then What Philosophy, the companies placed a greater weight on an individuals' character attributes than their education, training, and talent. As quoted directly from the book, "One good-to-great executive said that his best hiring decisions often came from people with no industry or business experience." Even more interesting, none of these elite companies had a "high profile" CEO, yet during the fifteen year period produced results more than twice as good as the results delivered by the composite index of well known companies such as Coca-Cola, Intel, and General Electric. For the elite companies that made the leap from Good-to-Great systems and culture proved to be more valuable than an individuals' talent.
This concept is not new to our industry. Its no surprise that the presence and keen focus on systems and culture can easily be recognized in some of the largest and most successful automotive dealer groups in the Country. Scaleable systems combined with a winning culture of discipline have put these Groups in a position to win!
Next time you find yourself burdened by filling another open position, take a step back and evaluate your systems and culture. Maybe you will decide it's time to invest in the future of your business as a whole, rather than in merely one talented individual. Reach out for help to conceive, construct, coordinate, and cultivate the "right" systems and "right" culture, and accelerate your success. Remember, your systems and culture are bigger and more important than the talent.
Look beyond talent and zero in on getting a Foundation to Win!
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader!”
John Quincy Adams
Cornerstone Dealer Development, LLC