Keep your NCOs in mind

Do you recall Band of Brothers? Based on an even greater Stephen Ambrose book, it was a fantastic television series.


The 101st Airborne of World War II, notably Easy Company, was the subject of Band of Brothers. I recently rewatched this series, and something immediately stood out. There would have been no progress without the NCOs.


The NCOs were in charge of managing the progress of their squads. The NCOs were present to respond appropriately to issues and carry out the mission. They were the therapists, the father figures, and the law, and they held the team accountable.


Management is represented by the NCOs at the dealership. Without your management, the dealership would not be able to do as much as it does (salespeople, service advisors, techs, BDC agents, etc.). Any vendor with a software platform will tell you that managers have the power to make or break their success in a store if you ask them. This job is crucial.


How do we create a system that enables our management teams to succeed when there is so much reliance on them?


1. Describe the vision. When I was working at the desk, the GM would frequently return from a 20-group meeting and inform us that we would be implementing new procedures, technologies, etc. We were going to succeed with this method after another dealer in the 20 Group did.


Although we would follow business policy and try our best to execute the procedure, technology, etc., we didn’t truly believe in it. We weren’t aware of its significance or where it ranked on our list of priorities. We weren’t convinced.


Any new project needs to have the “why” explained in detail. Any changes you make to your business will cause disruption, so if you’re going to make them, they better last. Making the disruption successful will require communicating the rationale behind your decision to use this new procedure, technology, etc.


2. Involve management in the creation whenever possible. Include your supervisors in the process of creation if one is necessary. This may aid in gaining management support. They have a deeper knowledge of the process because they contributed to its creation. Your managers can also offer advice on how to effectively create a successful process because they work in the trenches every day.


3. Front-line training should not be the end of it. The majority of training that occurs in dealerships is for front-line staff. Since they lack managerial expertise, this is understandable. To help them get that experience, they require extensive training. They must learn the soft skills that will improve their performance at work, such as active listening.


For managers, though, training is equally crucial, if not more so. They must have interaction and engagement skills with their employees. They must acquire the soft skills necessary for mentoring and leading others.


We immediately realized, when developing a training track for SimpSocial University, that managers required just as much instruction, otherwise, the program would never be put into practice. According to my observations, management doesn’t often receive this kind of training. They ought to.


a sign that your managers need to be trained? when they begin telling other people that they feel like a “glorified babysitter”. This is a warning sign that their leadership style is reactive and that they aren’t helping their teams grow.


4. Responsibility. Although this phrase is overused in today’s society, it is accurate. We can keep front-line staff accountable by using all of the reports and dashboards that are accessible in dealerships. What about managers, though? Naturally, they should be held responsible for the success of their team, but they also need to meet expectations for how they interact with their subordinates. What types of coaching are necessary for the workers to succeed? Better still, what coaching and training is required for the manager to raise team productivity?


In my experience, dealerships that have strong management teams have the best success when introducing new software. They are more agile, and the changes they create are durable. Implementation and onboarding proceed more smoothly.


Consider how you can help your dealership’s NCOs grow. Your success depends on your contribution.

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