Listening to what is said, what is not said, and how it is said is critical to being a great leader.
Another thing that is critical is change.
Every winning formula has a sell-by date, and leaders shouldn’t follow process, but rather prepare the organisation for change.
“Your successful dealership may be extinct in 10 years’ time unless you adapt. Question what you do. As leaders you’ll never have all the answers, but you must equip yourselves with the right questions.”
- What are the things you do now that you must keep doing?
- What bad things must you stop doing?
- What do you do occasionally which you must do consistently?
- What don’t you do which you can start doing?
Grout said recruiting right for motor retail is all about attitude, because recruits can always be trained and coached across any skills gaps.
He saw three elements as vital for candidates: driven to succeed, interpersonally effective to influence and persuade, and self-motivated to meet their commitments.
By getting to know the competition, managers can identify their best salespeople and managers ready to contact them if they leave.
Leaders must always be introducing new people into the pool of candidates.
He believes it is important for line managers to be trained to conduct interviews.
They need to know what they’re looking for, and they must also give the right impression of the business to the candidate.
In the induction of new staff, ask them what they think they can bring to the business. New people bring fresh thinking and approaches.
After their first three months getting to know the business, ask them what the company should start doing which it currently doesn’t.
“Challenge them: what works well; even better if? Encourage them to raise the bar. Sometimes it’s the critical non-essentials that make a difference. All successful organisations have critical non-essentials – ‘TNTs’ – tiny, noticeable things.”
Finally, for managers, he advised them to concentrate on improving the areas they’re pretty good at already and ignore their weaknesses, then compensate by hiring someone whose strength is in that area.