Ensuring the future success and sustainability of a dealership is not based solely on operational knowledge and efficiencies. In fact, identifying and developing future leaders is critical to building sustainable dealership value. This involves overcoming leadership barriers that lurk in areas that most tend to overlook.

No longer is auto industry knowledge and experience enough to sustain and lead a dealership into the future. Innovations in technology, a lingering fear of economic uncertainty, ongoing regulatory changes and generational perspectives of “old school” and “new school” way of thinking can build organizational tension, impacting performance. Therefore, what may have been good enough previously is no longer good enough to lead your organization into the future.

With up to five generations working together today in the dealership at one time, generational perspectives of how “work” fits into our lives – the type of work culture one finds inspiring and what gratification people want to get from work – are in constant flux. Additionally, generational perspectives on who should be considered for leadership may differ. Some feel it is earned because of tenure versus others that think it is earned through performance. Finally, there is perspectives on how to lead. Some feel motivating others is best done through a directive approach – “do what I say, because I hold the power.” Others appreciate and are motivated more by personal influence – “I feel respected for my contributions, I understand the mission; so therefore, I am on board.” In addition to differing perspectives in your organization, throw into the mix someone you have identified as a rising star, who could be younger than loyal key managers or a family member employee. These dynamics impact an individual’s ability to build respect and trust, motivate and inspire your people to commit to the organizational mission and vision.

In the past, when someone took on the position of “dealer,” it was assumed people would fall in line and follow the lead of the owner. However, with the changes taking place in the business landscape, the ability to inspire and lead people must be earned beyond the title of “head honcho.” Good people will either check out or will not stick around too long after a transition in leadership if they don’t feel respected for their contributions and see opportunities for growth.

Simply, it takes more than learning how to run the dealership to ensure the legacy of the business. It takes being a leader that can navigate the challenges and changes that are inherent in the retail automotive sector.

So, how in this ever-changing landscape do you identify and position developing leaders for success?

The Rawls Group, in collaboration with NCM Associates, identified a need in the automotive retail space for advance leadership learning. For this reason, we partnered to develop and to bring to both dealers and developing dealers the NCM-Rawls Dealer Executive Program™. The customized curriculum provides dealer owners and developing leaders access to a unique leadership development program that enables them to be agile and flexible in the face of the ongoing and rapid pace of change in the retail automotive sector. This is not the traditional operations program. This is a unique and specific learning and development program focused on the behavioral, emotional, financial and operational aspects of leading the dealership of today into the future.

The NCM-Rawls Dealer Executive Program™ combines rich history and experience in the industry, along with knowledge of “working with the dealer and in the dealerships” to bring real-life experience and understanding. This collaboration allows us to develop content and learning curriculum that addresses the emerging trends and challenges, as well as opportunities that face dealers today. We go deeper into leadership development and tackle some of the harder issues and topics that most programs are afraid to, or do not have the knowledge and expertise to offer.

Understanding how to inspire a variety of people and how to stay operationally cutting-edge are just two of the leadership barriers that dealers face today. However, they are two of the barriers that you cannot learn by simply working in or “growing-up” in the dealership. Overcoming these barriers requires advanced learning and development. It requires leaders to think differently about how they want to lead, and more so, investing in themselves, as well as their future leaders to build upon the knowledge and real experience gained working in the dealership.


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