It’s football season again, which means teams (and fantasy footballers) know all too well how hard it is when athletes go down with an injury. Maybe their injury keeps the player out a couple weeks, or maybe they’re gone for the season. One way or the other, the team’s coach will step up to the mic and inevitably say “Next Man Up”. It is the mindset that there is always someone on your roster who can step in and take over that injured player’s role admirably. Dealers must have the same “Next Man Up Mindset”.
It may be a tired football cliché, but each season every football team has an injury where another is given the opportunity to take the reins of a starting position and fill the shoes of their predecessor. In automotive, we don’t need to wait for injuries or illness to befall our team. No, we have a near 70% attrition rate, and while many of those are salespeople, some come from the rank of management. You may have an adept salesperson that sits atop the leaderboard month in and month out, one that has paid their dues, but are they qualified for a management position? Have they been groomed to be anything other than a good salesperson?
Embracing the “Next Man Up Mindset” (and this should always include the “Next Woman Up Mindset” as well, as we need more female leaders in our organizations) requires a few internal steps.
The 7 steps to embracing the Next Man Up Mindset:
- In-Store Training
Delivering consistent weekly training from both management and outside parties
- Virtual Trainings
Obtaining training through webinars, online seminars, and written resources to grow their understanding
- Off-site Training
Participating in educational events. Conferences can’t just be for leaders
Selecting specific individuals for on-the-job training to understand their future role as they climb organizational ladder
- Team Leaders
Identifying team leaders and tasking them to mentor or assist others is a good way to start promoting leadership
- Cross-department Training
Variable ops to Fixed Ops, and vice versa. Require employees to spend just a few hours a month shadowing someone from other departments so they see the big picture of how a dealership operates cohesively
Make it a point to always have new hires in the pipeline and never settle with just who is currently on your payroll. Always be seeking and building up a pool of new talent
A long time ago, before I was in the auto industry, I had the opportunity to participate in an in-depth, hands-on, management training course for two weeks in Texas. One thing the instructors said always stood out to me:
A smart manager should always be hiring their own future replacement, and any smart owner or CEO should hire every candidate in the hopes that they could one day lead the organization at the top.
The Digital Dealer Virtual Conference came and went last week. Entirely online and extremely inexpensive, did you enroll the workhorses in your store so they could expand their knowledge? The more educated your team is, the better they’ll understand the big picture of how to serve your clients. That was an opportunity to strengthen your team. If you didn’t, hopefully you won’t pass up that chance again.
In automotive, our hiring practices need to be better managed, as do our orientation and ongoing training of our staff. There are countless opportunities to bring education in store, or to eventually send them off to expand their minds. Without training, how will you prepare people to step up into a higher, better position. Have you taught the people with a “manager” title what it means to actually “manage” people? The Next Man Up Mindset (or Next Woman Up Mindset) allows promoting from within, cultivating ambition, and setting structured objectives in all departments.
The Next Man Up Mindset must be embedded into your organization. Bad things happen. Good people leave. Poor performers or toxic employees are fired. We can’t always hire from the outside to fill executive positions. We must champion those on our teams, provide them the resources to succeed, and build our most ideal leaders from the inside. Give the people on your team a chance to step into a starting role and you will never worry about losing talent.
Need new hire or ongoing training for your team? Contact DealerKnows.