This article was written by NCMi Instructor, Steve Hall.
Being an instructor at the NCM Institute has some definite advantages. I am blessed with an abundance of information, from all levels of the dealership. Week by week, we get to interact with owners, general managers and department managers. Not only do we share our information and best practices, but listen and learn about what is going on in your dealerships.
As our students attend class, you can actually see the ideas start to click in their minds. The light bulb comes on and they start to visualize how the content, systems and processes apply to them. They see how to make THEIR department or store better. It is an inspiring sight to see.
As they leave class on the final day we often hear comments concerning the information covered. “My owner came back from a 20 Group meeting and was excited about this “great” idea, but after he explained it for ten minutes, I couldn’t see how it would work for us, and so I just didn’t do it. Now that I’ve been able to see the whole picture, I understand what he was trying to say and how good it can be for our store. Thanks for filling in the gap.”
The gap or disconnect…that is the problem. When asking owners why more best practices aren’t instilled in their stores I often get the response, “There seems to be a disconnect between what we tell them and what they understand.”
Is this disconnect possibly the result of “abbreviated communication”? An example: A dealer goes to a 20 Group meeting; they are shown a presentation about a subject. The presentation is 1-2 hours long and is filled with great numbers, facts and examples. It seems like a slam dunk. During the remainder of the meeting, the owner talks with other dealers that have used this idea and are prospering. Now he is convinced this could reap benefits in his store.
Convinced the idea is great, he gets back to his store and summons the department manager. He talks about this idea, and even gives the manager a printed copy of the Power Point. Now he sends the manager on his way to launch this new idea. “Let’s start it now” are the parting words.
At this point, does the manager fully understand how this idea will integrate into the store? Or what the real benefits are? The information that was presented over a couple of hours and the follow up inquires that lasted a couple of days, have now digressed to a 20 minute “get this done” talk. None of the idea details were covered thoroughly enough for the manager to successfully understand.
Now the manager goes to launch this new idea. What does he do? Generally, he flips through the Power Point slides, not fully understanding the information, and then dilutes the information from the 20 minutes that was given to him, down to a 10 minute version for his staff. The staff tries to make the process work, but they are unprepared and often times uncommitted. They just don’t get it. Are we starting to see the disconnect yet?
Rather than the flow of information getting smaller with each level, shouldn’t it get larger, just like a river does? As tributaries add into a river it grows in power and strength. If we have a great idea, as we feed the information down to our employees shouldn’t the idea grow? Aren’t two minds better than one?
The next time you are launching a great idea, remember to give more than you received. Take the time to instruct, explain and follow up with the people that are involved. Apply accountability management principles and see the great ideas prosper, not wither away without ever gaining the needed traction. Bridge the gap and remove the disconnect.
At NCMi, we try to give more information, explaining the “how” along with the “why.” If you are tired of the disconnect, check out our courses and let us help bridge the performance gap in your store.
Steve Hall is a full-time instructor for the firstname.lastname@example.org or call 913.649.7830 Ext. 123.