Since the coronavirus crisis began, my email inbox has been flooded with story pitches on technology and other inventive ways of thinking about and tackling the "new normal" in dealership fixed ops departments.
But Rick Wegley, a trainer at NCM Institute in Kansas City, Mo., said while all those new gadgets and innovation can be useful, there is something else he favors that doesn't cost a penny but will guarantee success more than those other things: leadership.
"I have found over the years that organizations which operate with a strong leadership team tend to outperform those that lack leadership, or where the leadership is weak," he said.
As part of the webinars he has hosted for dealership service department staff during the pandemic, he has ended with a pitch to think about how they are leading their teams. He tells them that in these uncertain times, when things can seem unmanageable, something they can control is their attitude. Good day or bad day, "the single most important thing to remember is to keep a positive attitude," Wegley said, adding: "Your team members need your leadership more than anything right now."
For those who need the leadership discussion framed in dollars-and-cents thinking, Wegley said it is simple. Organizations that make decisions not based on the bottom line but rather on what is best for the employees typically have less employee turnover, stronger employee engagement and higher employee satisfaction. When workers are happy, clients are happy.
"And when you have got happy employees and happy clients, profitability will usually follow," Wegley said.
So, go on looking for a new tool or the latest software if you think it will help your fixed operations. But be mindful about how you are leading your teams. They are looking for you to show them the way out of this.
"Those who follow you through this storm will be stronger simply because of your leadership," Wegley said. "Do not forget that."