One of the main reasons DrivingSales exists is to optimize a dealership’s greatest asset: it’s people. We really enjoy it when we hear of individuals growing in their careers and improving their dealerships.
At DrivingSales Presidents Club 2019 we presented our first Automotive Excellence Award. This award is designed to recognize an employee that is advancing not only their career, but their dealership as a whole. We had three criteria. First, we wanted to find someone that is creating measurable impact and change. Second, leadership only matters if you bring along a team. This individual must impact people around them. Finally, impact on one’s self. We owe it to the people we work with to improve ourselves.
James Cornelison, General Manager at Jack Burford Chevrolet in Richmond, Kentucky.
In an extremely competitive market, James has transformed his dealership culture. The store has changed so much so that people who have left the organization are asking to come back. They sense the difference. This transformation has resulted in increased sales, but that’s only part of it. James has got his Dealer Principal re-energized and excited to be in the car business again.
“James has become my right and left arm” said John Burford, Dealer Principal, “and has taken us to a different level. I have customers tell me the difference in your store from a year and a half ago to today; it’s an entirely different store. It’s fun. I went from thinking I don’t want to work today to getting up early.”
“You can be in the best market in the world,” James continued, “but if you don’t have the right attitudes and the right people, and if your management team is not doing the things it takes every single day, it’s not going to work long-term.”
In Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, he talks about how to become someone that is vital and essential to an organization. He wrote, “Perhaps you need to get in touch with what it means to feel passionate. People with passion look for ways to make things happen…The combination of passion and art is what makes someone a linchpin…”
It’s refreshing that in the mature industry of automotive retail, we can still find individuals that make this kind of an impact. Congratulations James Cornelison!