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From: Jared Hamilton
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Kalyn Kasun

Kalyn Kasun Director of Human Resources

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Does A Great Leader Make A Great Team?

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I recently read a fantastic article that an HR Professional wrote about her experience buying a MINI. The article itself focused on lessons in leadership she had learned from a sales manager at a MINI dealership while purchasing a new car. In her message she relays that this sales manager had built a better team by listening and allowing his team to build him. There were additional lessons  about how his team created an excellent customer experience in arguably one of the places consumers dread going to the most – a car dealership. Our company works with MINI  so we are aware of their quirky and fun branding style. Staying consistent with this public persona, MINI encourages its dealerships to think and act differently.

 

An example of this is a story I heard recently about an automotive veteran named Bob. Bob has been in management positions in the automotive industry for  over 30 years. This gentleman has worked mainly in highline stores including Porsche, BMW, Maserati, Ferrari and others. His normal attire consisted of tailored high-quality suits, starched dress shirts and shoes that always had that military spit polished shine. Recently, he became the GM for a MINI dealership.  MINI encourages its franchise dealer employees to wear what they call “MINI gear.” For lack of better words, these uniforms consist of polo shirts and other more casual branded clothing. This is designed to reinforce the brand and make customers feel more comfortable. This was quite a change considering what Bob was used to, but helps promote the MINI way of doing things when even the GM is dressed in a casual manner.

 

The most notable point in the MINI purchasing article is that “great management makes a great experience.” While a great leader is important, having a great team behind him or her is even more so. You can have the greatest quarterback in history but if the team doesn’t support him, you will lose games. Creating an excellent customer experience takes more than great leaders. This sales manager’s management style is exemplary. I applaud his commitment to doing the right thing, respecting his team, allowing his team to review him and being reflective of those criticisms.

 

Some of the smaller details of the article should be reiterated, because that is what  shaped the buyer’s experience from a being a good one to being a great one. Here are some of the details that caught my attention:

 

  1. The author was immediately greeted by a salesperson who not only introduced herself, but began the conversation by selling herself with some personal information.
  2. She was knowledgeable about the product,  but if there was something she didn’t know, she admitted it and then found the answer.
  3. Throughout the buying process, “everyone gave me a sense of trust that they were all playing straight.” This can’t happen without employees who are engaged and committed to the organization’s success.
  4. The salesperson introduced the detailer as the dealership’s “best kept secret.” How often do behind-the-scenes people not only get recognized but recognized in front of customers?

 

These small things were the genesis of the customer’s great experience – one she attributed to great management. There is little doubt that the leader of this dealership is doing an excellent job cultivating an exceptional customer experience.  Actions he takes as a great leader are a direct result of the fact that he has a great team behind him. His philosophy makes him better at his job, but the way he conducts himself make his employees and staff want to succeed as well.

 

One of the greatest quotes in the article is also one of the best ways to be successful not only in life but in management:

 

“…learn from everything, make the good better, and turn the bad around.”

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