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Gary May

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How many times have you heard the proverbial saying..."How many (fill in the blank) does it take to screw in a light bulb?", even lately jokingly about the group of 'car czars' circling around Detroit. While we might focus on the joke or moral of the question, how many of us have the light bulb to start with?

If we always focus on the activities and not the goal, it is easy to understand why all the hubbub is around who gets to 'do' things. Considering how things are now, I'd be more concerned with making sure we have the right bulb, that it fits, that it will provide the right illumination and that we know where it came from in case we need more. Then I'd focus on who gets to have the joy of screwing it in!

And this is not endemic to just finding the right action person, it's perpetuated in so many other areas. Larry Pinci (of Sell The Feeling) put it well in a meeting we had not too long ago: "are you on the cause side of the equation or the effect side?". If you're in wait mode, or even better in 'head in the sand' mode, right now you're not on the right side of the equation.

Today I had a great conversation with a dealer in the Ventura area of Southern California in which we discussed branding, something he's been trying to get the owner to act on for quite some time. Part of the build up was him answering pointed questions about experience on their website, consumer engagement and reach. As we talked, he came up with some great answers as to what the site lacked. Until we know what the solution or goal is, the bulb turning (activities) doesn't matter!!!!!

VENDORS: Same thought process when considering how many vendors are pitching dealership GMs and principals today. Want to create a business partner or a sale? (hopefully you answer that one correctly). Want to have an opportunity or 5 minutes and get tossed? (and that one). So why are you trying to get something "sold" before you even know that there is a need identified. Hint: not a need, every business has needs. Rather a need that has been identified!!!!

With so much of what happens today being knee-jerk, defensive actions, it is that much more important to have your goals identified and clearly understand your starting point. Don't' make the same mistakes as the pack! Remember that the last action needed to complete a task is not the one to concentrate on. You must focus on the first one and realize that you'll separate yourself from the rest by the time your goal is reached.

And when you finally flip the switch, it'll be that much more illuminating!

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

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