When Management Is Against You No One Wins

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This is an issue that has haunted me on numerous occasions.  It has happened to me my first time as an Internet Director and most recently it happened to me when I decided to give retail another shot.  I had a dealership that I went into six months ago to try to land a consulting assignment.  This dealer acted like a typical "know it all" and did not want a consultant so instead he tried to offer me a job.  I was not ready to fold and go back into retail especially because I had a vibe that this would not be the right spot for me. 

 

So finally after four months, he tried to recruit me again.  The deal sounded great and I figured "why not? let's give it a shot".  Little did I know that he was not as involved in his store as he should be and his general manager was recently brought in.  He was brought in by the previous BDC manager a few weeks prior to me coming on board.  He was such a great guy and such a loyal friend to the previous manager of over 20 years that he aided in allowing her to get fired so that I come on board because the owner wanted me.

 

Anyone that knows me would know that I am not out to hurt anyone or steal the livelihood from anyone.  I also had no idea that the department was completely broken with nothing but problems arising on a daily basis.  I find out after coming on board what the real deal is and I started to realize why the GM is so against me.  Instead of being a real GM and working to help make me more successful he puts blame on me and puts obstacles in my way.  He would remove my top BDC reps and place them in other departments.  He would cause drama in the dealership that would make a negative impact on my BDC allowing me to have massive turnover in 4 four weeks.  He blamed me for not managing people and treated me with much disrespect.  As we know, general managers have all of the power in the world and when they get into the owner's ear it only works a certain way.

 

After four weeks, I started to get the department in shape and cleaned up.  I hired quality people and finally started to see traction.  Meanwhile the owner brings his close friend in to take my job and demote me to a marketing role with the same pay.  He wanted me to take orders from his friend who never ran a BDC.  I was also supposed to be the person to create all of the processes and be the CRM guru for the department.  Basically, I would do all of the hard work that I kept doing and letting him sit there and just delegate without getting involved like a good manager should be doing.  We worked like this for two weeks until the micro managing became ridiculous and the GM looked at every reason to try to get me to leave.  I finally packed my things and left this negative situations.

 

Some of you reading this might wonder why am I telling you this story.  It is really simple.  When you go to take a job make sure you interview your potential employer and know as much as you can about the situation.  It is a important to get a good read on the General Manager.  Find out how long they have been there.  Are they a partner?  Are there any personal issues involved there?  Find out about the store and why the previous person in the same position that you applied for left (or is leaving).  Make sure you have many bases covered (even thought you will not cover all of them).  The problem is from the top down.  When your manager is against you, no one ever wins.  This was my issue.  Try to avoid that at all times.  Even if you think you will make a situation great, it will never work.  If someone has it out for you from the get go, that is it.

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Comment by Joe Clementi on June 1, 2011 at 1:28pm

Marsh, simple and to the point and that's why I love it as well :)

Comment by Marsh Buice on June 1, 2011 at 1:12pm
Joe, Brinkley's quote is one of my favs!
Comment by Joe Clementi on June 1, 2011 at 11:32am

Life’s best lessons are learned under duress.  An individual will learn a great deal about himself/herself when put into a challenging environment.  It’s not just how you respond but rather how fast you recover.  Now, you have gained experience from the atmosphere you don’t want to be in.  Take the positive lessons you’ve learned and go where you are most valued.

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

-        David Brinkley 

Comment by Fran Taylor on May 26, 2011 at 7:09pm
Stan you have some really good people here giving you advice. Some of the best managers I ever met were fired at one time or another. What they told me they learned is it's ok to disagree with the boss. Just do it in a respectful way and behind closed doors.  Never in front of someone or in a sales meeting.                                     If a manager is truly against you confront the problem. If you can't fix it move on to a dealership that you fit in.     Let us know how we can help and best of luck.
Comment by Stan Sher on May 26, 2011 at 1:15pm

Joe,

 

Any suggestions?  My bags are packed literally...

Comment by Joe Webb on May 26, 2011 at 1:12pm
Brother, you need to get out of Jersey.  Maybe even away from the east coast.  Start fresh at a good dealership group in a rural area that could really benefit from having someone like yourself that understands both Internet sales management and eCommerce.  The east-coast aggressive attitude you consistently endure at dealership after dealership you work at is not conducive to building a forward-thinking department.
Comment by Marsh Buice on May 26, 2011 at 12:56pm

Stan, I am sorry you had to go through this; you are right, the cultures change depending on the regime that is in place. It is especially tough if you are going in as a middle manager due to the fact of how things are done at that time. When you are a GM you have the option to change your platform and get your managers to buy in on it. When a platform is alrerady in place, it is hard for a sales manager to change  things unless the GM is confident in letting him/her change it. The management has to see eye to eye with the GM or one of will have to go....sometimes it is the wrong one.

 

As for you; you made it happen once on your own, now you can make it again. Life is the best teacher I know. Good luck with your next level; I know it will be a successful one.

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