Most managers view meetings as something akin to visiting the dentist. They are time away from “work,” and can range from boring to painful. If canceling a managers’ meeting truly pumps up your staff, perhaps it’s time to look at ways you can make them something to look forward to.
Meet for the right reason
Let’s start with this question: When should you have all your managers gathered in a group meeting? Some dealerships hold mandatory daily meetings; others hold them only when the dealer feels it is necessary. Information that could be better distributed by email should be.
Here’s a short list of reasons you might need face-to-face time from all managers:
- An important announcement (We are buying another dealership.)
- To solve a problem (Should we change DMS systems?)
- To discuss a business opportunity (How do we sell more used cars?)
- Training to be better managers (How to develop a business plan?)
Pick a convenient time
First thing in the morning may be convenient for the dealer and sales staff, but it’s the busiest time for service. I’ve found that meeting during lunch typically has the least impact on all parts of the business. Plus, breaking bread can lighten the mood!
One drawback with a group meeting is that some managers’ time is wasted listening to other departments’ unrelated issues, while other managers get far less time than is needed to resolve challenges. To solve this, try alternating weekly group meetings with individual manager one-on-ones.
For example, say all managers meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. On the second and fourth weeks of the month, the dealer can meet with individual department managers on a schedule:
- Monday – New
- Tuesday – Used
- Wednesday – Service
- Thursday – Parts
- Friday – Office
Make good use of your time
Now that we have a more effective schedule, let’s take a look at a more efficient agenda.
Most managers’ meetings have no agenda at all, which is like driving without a destination. And when there is an agenda, it is typically a review of the numbers—which is like driving by only looking in the rear-view mirror. Your agenda should prompt the management team to take action based on the business situation.
Here are some key items to consider:
- Asset Review. If you don’t manage the assets, they turn into expenses and frozen cash. Review each manager’s aged inventories and receivables. What is each manager’s action plan to purchase faster-turning inventory and turn receivables into cash faster?
- Sales Process. Do you have an active process to maximize the revenue from each sales opportunity? What is the action plan for increasing sales and the gross on those sales?
- Advertising. Is your advertising effective in attracting new customers and retaining existing customers? What is the action plan for creating more customers at lower expense?
- Personnel. Who are the top and bottom performers? What is the action plan to increase gross per employee?
- Expenses. To whom are you writing checks? What is the action plan for reducing expenses?
By balancing the agenda of the group and your one-on-one meetings, you can maximize effectiveness. Focusing your managers on where you want to go—rather than on where you have been—should give you and your management team something to look forward to.
Learn more about Steve Emery and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.