Once understanding the impact that good leader can have regardless of what organization they steer, we begin to wonder what does a model of a good leader look like, and where do I fit within that model?
Three key indicators that can keep a leadership model in balance is understand they role you play as a leader, where you get your sources of information, and what types of decisions you are making. Are you spending your day at the dealership putting out fires or proactively building your organization?
If you are feeling out of balance as you run your dealership, this framework can help you to frame your situation. How is you time being divvied up? How should it be? Can you align the two? Frame your efforts within the leadership model and strive to align what you should do and what you want to do with what you are actually doing. I had an executive coach (from out side the auto industry) that helped train and mold me as I was an early manager. As we discussed and worked on moving from a state of reactive management to proactive leadership we did an exercise that i found extremely helpful. A few of my fellow classmates at NADA's exec ed program liked it to so I though I would share.
Create a daily journal much like an attorney does and note at 7 min intervals what you are doing through the day. The every 7 min isnt important as just making sure you are precise in noting EXACTLY what you do and how long you do it for. Keep a journal for a week so you have a good sampling of exactly what your natural days look like at the store. Keep notes, but DON'T read back through them or do anything with the sheet, just record your days and save for later.
Then, on a separate piece of paper list the most important activities of your job. For example a sales managers list of responsibilities would look something like this:
Follow up with customers
Sales person one on ones
It may help to reference your job description and I would recommend you get your direct supervisor involved, see what they expect from you. Then go to the list and determine what % of your job is made up of each task... IE: 30% closing deals, 10% follow-up, 15% sales person one on ones etc...
Once that list is done pull out your journal and place each one of your activities in a category (most should fit in the categories you just listed, however you may now have to create some new ones.) Add up how much time was spent in each category and figure the % of time spent in each.
By comparing where you are actually spending your time to where you should be spending your time you will have an instant very frank evaluation of your current state of being a proactive or reactive manager/leader. Don't give in to the millions of valid excuses you can come up with as to why you are off. Focusing on problems doesn't help the situation, rather focus on the solutions.
Figure out how you can move another step closer to achieving the ideal you had set forth!
Anyhow, back to class... we did another case study, this time on Starbucks as an organization and the effectiveness of their leaders and CEOs. It’s amazing how much you can learn by studying leaders of other organizations outside of the dealership community. It’s not about the product they are selling or the clients they are selling to, but the efforts and effectiveness of the individuals on the team. I had some incredible insights as I listed to other dealers discuss real live examples of this in their organizations. The best managers and true leaders are always learning and adapting to their environments.
Its a Monday, perhaps you should start this exercise this week and let us know how it goes! Have a great week!