The sports world is buzzing because of one player. An underdog of Chinese/Taiwanese descent is lighting up the scoreboard in the NBA and this lightening rod of excitement has consumed a nation. His name is Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. He was undrafted. He had been cut from two different teams. He was a fill-in player that wasn’t supposed to get any real playing time. He wasn’t supposed to be any good. Yet, he is turning heads. He has been a marketing wonder for a team, a catalyst for a city, and a role model for a league. How many great talents sit on the bench without ever proving they can succeed in the spotlight?
The powers that be are not always the ones with the keenest eyesight for talent. It is common that the old guard makes the decisions and only look for those stereotypical playmakers when deciding who to elevate into a position of authority. The managers in our dealerships were promoted usually because they reminded their managers a little of themselves. If we keep looking for the same type of players to lead our teams, we’ll never improve our culture. If we keep promoting the same type of players, without ever giving the opportunity to someone who isn’t prototypical, we will never grow as an industry.
How many people may you have passed up giving the chance to prove themselves in managerial spotlights? How many Internet sales managers have sat on your bench, pounding away on the keyboard in their department, without ever considering them for a role in upper management?
You may have a Jeremy Lin on the bench. You might have an Internet sales manager that deserves a little more respect. They might have progressive, forward-thinking ideas or simply a better attitude toward customer interaction. They may be destined for greatness in management, if only given the chance. Their different outlook on the industry may improve the way your dealership connects with their customers. Just because someone has “Internet” in their title does NOT mean it is the only segment of your business they should be in. If anything, their strength in your Internet department makes them a better choice for an open sales management slot.
Don’t stereotype anyone into a role. Don’t keep anyone on the bench because of their philosophies, mental make-up, or job title. We need to be bringing new blood into our front-court management teams. As Jeremy Lin has proven, the person you need the most may be the person you’ve undervalued all along.