Nearly a month into his job as general manager of DCH Montclair Acura, Tim Hlavenka gathered his managers to talk about revising their pay plan so that each of them would have a stake in every department.
After hearing Hlavenka's idea, they were all on board.
"We saw an impact immediately, especially the service manager and the used-car manager working together," he said in a phone interview.
Two years later, the plan remains in place.
The idea came when Hlavenka, who had work-ed in hospitality before switching to auto retailing, got fed up with interdepartmental arguments.
"I've been in many stores prior to DCH and have seen fights between service and used car. Used car doesn't want to give service the business," he said. "The effort just isn't there. Eighty percent of the time they don't get along. One thinks one is robbing from the other. I don't see it -- I haven't seen it -- since the plan."
How does it work? Managers at the Verona, N.J., dealership are paid based on the performance of every department. The setup ensures that, while the managers' salaries are fixed, part of their commissions hinge on the store as a whole.