Team building at its best grows the store – step 4
Recently a dealer shared with me that business with his competitors was like war. That comment got me thinking a bit about combat and how to win battles, which in turn yielded some thought provoking ideas as to how winning would best be accomplished. Through that thought process, I thought about my VP of field operations who was an Army Ranger. He parachuted into Bosnia, Grenada and various other covert operations globally and always brought his team back safely. Individual effort, rock solid training, undividable teamwork and a platform built upon leadership were their credentials for successfully completing their missions. What lessons could we adopt as individuals and leaders from Ranger School in developing our team to top performance?
U.S. Army Rangers endure a tremendous amount of training with unfathomable challenges including deprivation of sleep and food to be worthy of being anointed with the Ranger Tab, indicating they have become one of this elite fighting force’s members. They are often asked to do what others consider impossible yet accomplish the task with disciple and confidence. Ranger methods and Ranger leadership lessons can be transferred to the operational methods we use in our stores.
Imagine while reading the following that you were describing your team at the dealership as you refer to them as Rangers. Rangers operate in complex, fluid and chaotic situations. They stand ready to respond to new and unexpected challenges. They think strategically and tactically. They plan teamwork very well and improvise on their own just as well when required to do so. They are asked to lead important initiatives, often being called upon to deal decisively with key tasks and to leverage fleeting opportunities. Their knowledge, skills and courage are challenged on an ongoing basis. They deal with the concrete and the intangible, and they must continually prepare for the future while alertly operating in the present. Rangers must train and learn constantly, adapt quickly and respond expertly. Yet at the heart of it all, they are about individual ability and courage, positive morale, smart thinking and aggressive doing, teamwork and leadership. Wow, sounds like a great job description for us to use in the store.
What could a dealership attain with the employees all resembling the previous description of them? Unstoppable towards success in every corner of their business comes to mind. OK, so how do we develop or in some cases turn around our store to this level of professionalism?
“You can take the twelve best guys and bring them together and fail on a mission. You can take the twelve worst guys and bring them together and succeed on the same mission. To me, the difference between the two is the leader.”
– Lt. Col. Mark Meadows, U.S. Army Ranger
One word: Leadership. Once your team members have been ‘selectively’ chosen, the team leader must begin with the process of developing a high-performance unit. Two tasks have to be accomplished quickly. First, the mission has to be spelled out with simply clarity. Your team has to know what the mission is in order to attack it. Second, the individuals on the team have to be transformed into a true high performance team – a team in which every member looks out for and truly cares about others on their team. Without this, you will have constant finger pointing nonsense instead of the team looking in the same mission oriented direction.