How does your dealership determine their strategy for success? I have heard and seen first hand many cases where a new initiative or goal is relayed from upper management without any strategy or specific processes to follow. Just a demand for improved employee performance. Sound familiar?
This failed process of communication leaves it up to each employee to guess what changes need to happen. This leads to time and resources being wasted trying out strategies that upper management never intended employees to follow. Worse, is that when initiatives are not met there is frustration from both sides with much energy wasted on finger pointing and accusations.
Instituting change in any company is not an easy thing let alone a dealership. It takes time and a commitment from all involved. It especially takes discipline from the top leaders to keep everyone engaged in the process.
How many of us have started new programs and stopped? How many of us have invested our time in a new process only to fall back into our old habits? The main culprit that causes employee performance failure is two fold: not having the correct buy in or participation from the entire team and then timely accountability to focus on the progress being made.
How To Improve Employee Performance Strategically?
Let’s examine the four main things your strategy needs to have in place BEFORE you barrel into any performance change.
- WHAT is the goal of the change?
- WHY are you putting this change into place?
- HOW you plan to achieve this goal?
- ACCOUNTABILITY to your goal?
Are you clear on the outcome you want to achieve? Can you visualize what your business will look like once the change occurs? Have you taken into account how this change will affect other employees or departments? The clearer you can see the outcome the more specific you can be communicating and directing your vision to your team.
Example: If your goal is to increase the number of leads your marketing department is driving to your dealership, have you thought how this will affect the staffing of the department who handles the leads? Have you reviewed the reporting structure to see if it will monitor these changes correctly?
This to me is a critical step in the process. If you don’t clearly understand and communicate to your team why it is NECESSARY to change, then you are bound to be unsuccessful.
Employees will rally for a cause when they understand why they are doing something. It also helps them retain information because the “why” is strong. Without a strong understanding of why something is necessary, employees will follow orders for the time being to pacify the leadership, but soon their new actions will slowly roll back to old habits.
This step is fast becoming one of my favorite exercises for change. I have done this in my company and seen drastic improvements in performance. Bring everyone in the company into a room and ask them to list all of the things that have to happen for this initiative to occur. You will be surprised at how many things the leadership may not have thought of or where there may be a roadblock with the initiative.
Example: If you wanted to increase the number of sales by 10% this quarter, what new tasks would have to happen across all departments, not just Sales? From marketing to onsite process to lead conversion to CRM compliance to customer follow up to Service retention to Data Mining and the list could go on and on. Take a moment and do this exercise for your dealership and then continue the article
Once you have all of the things listed, have the team bucket the tasks into 4-5 larger groups. (Ex: Sales, Marketing, Process, Staffing, Inventory, Reporting etc.) Once you have these buckets, allow employees to sign up on the team that will prioritize and create the solutions for each of these objectives. Make sure each team consists of employees from different departments. You want different viewpoints for each objective.
Keep all of these objectives and initiatives, with the team members names, posted in a very visible location. Maybe your meeting room or you may want to create a document that everyone can keep at his or her desk.
Last step is to set a weekly schedule to meet with the entire staff to follow up on everyone’s progress. One great benefit of having everyone present for the follow up sessions is that the group helps to hold everyone accountable, not just upper management. No one wants to stand before the group and tell them they did not do their work. Once a step or task is complete, move on to the next step to move the initiative towards completion and set a new deadline for delivery.
In the event there is a legitimate reason why progress is not being made, the group can help solve the problem to keep the initiative on track.
This type of involvement keeps your entire team working together to achieve this new goal and breaks down departmental silos. Remember that although it may be clear to you and you feel it should be simple to achieve business goals; it takes small steps achieved consistently across departments to move the entire dealership towards a new performance height.
Consistently improving your employee’s performance takes time and total team effort. Plot your course, get everyone’s input on the solution and work together as a team to see long lasting change for your company.
If I can ever be of service or you wish to discuss anything in this article please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @glennpasch.
This post was first seen on CBT News