Staff meetings at Bozard Ford-Lincoln in St. Augustine, Fla., tend to get a little personal.
They're not about how many Escapes or Mustangs each employee has sold that week. Instead, the team focuses on drama and anything else that could be hindering their relationships with others — both at home and at work.
A meeting last month, for example, examined finances, accountability and other outside influences that could help or hurt their success, using golfer Tiger Woods' redemption story as an example. It's all part of the teachings of psychologist Harry Cohen, who offers leadership coaching focused on positivity.
Jeff King, the dealership's manager, has been instilling Cohen's practices, known as the heliotropic effect, in his showroom for much of the last decade. He recently handed out Cohen's latest book, Be The Sun, Not The Salt, to all of his employees. It features one-liners including "caring is a learn-able skill," "smile at a stranger and see what happens" and "do the next right thing, now."
At each meeting, the staff goes over a few chapters in depth and applies them to their own lives. Chapter 7, for example, advises readers to apologize well. Chapter 14 warns against unnecessary complexity, while Chapter 19 advocates always taking the high road.
They're simple lessons and often fit on one or two pages. While there's no direct correlation to the automotive industry, King believes it ultimately helps the dealership sell more cars and trucks.
"The basic premise of the practice is that, in order for customers to be loyal, both they and the store's employees have to be emotionally engaged," King told Automotive News. "What we're trying to do is create positive energizers within our staff. People want to buy something from somebody they can trust."