Ownership, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the state, relation, or fact of being an owner. Often, those who feel ownership of something take special care and feel great responsibility for it. If we dissect the definition of ownership a little more, it does not necessarily mean that one must “own,” but rather, there is a mindset of being or acting like an owner.
This “ownership attitude,” or lack thereof, can be seen in many dealerships. Some leaders may not own stock in the dealership but have ownership in areas of strategic initiatives, team motivation and collaboration, and show emotional investment in the achievement of the dealership’s mission. On the other hand, some leaders show up, fulfill their responsibilities, and get the job done. However, if a better gig presents itself across the street, they don’t hesitate to take the opportunity.
An ownership mentality, whether the actual owner or leader, is a great attitude. It is the state of mind or the accountability we put on ourselves to put care and action into what we own.
Imagine if all key managers and influencers in the dealership had a dealer-minded attitude and made decisions that were always for the betterment of the whole and not just the individual? Take a moment and analyze each leadership role in the organization and identify their level of engagement. Does it appear they lead from a place of “ownership”—meaning, in a way that promotes the organization’s mission, vision, and core values, and nurtures team synergy? Or, are they just performing the duties of the role? Also, it is essential to determine if the key managers think and act as if they have an ownership stake in the dealership. Have they bought into the dealership’s mission, strategic vision, and view the business as their own? When management leads from a place of ownership, the attitude becomes contagious throughout the organization and profitability, performance, growth, and fulfilling long-term strategic plans can become a reality.
So then, how do dealer principals/owners create an owner-centric mindset in those that are not actual owners? Here are a few areas that, if executed with intention, can be game changers:
Offer learning and training to your people. Providing access to operational training is one area to ensure your people are equipped to succeed. Also, a new and growing area is in the development of soft skills that are focused on self-awareness. Providing access to training cultivates a feeling of loyalty amongst your people. Investing in their success motivates people to want to invest in the dealership’s success.
Rather than a culture where managers lead from positional power—“I’m your boss, so do what I say”—invest in leadership development to create an accountability culture based on coaching. Leadership influences others’ choices, priorities, and behavior. Power and position may create compliance in your organization, but it will also create challenges in nurturing a sense of buy-in to your organization’s mission and vision, thus ultimately demotivating employee loyalty and their drive to go above and beyond the call of duty. As our industry evolves due to technological advancements, changing consumer behavior and demographic shifts, position, and power fall short of inspiring people. There are too many competitors recruiting for good talent which is making it harder to retain the movers and shakers in the organization. As such, it’s imperative to foster an environment where people are inspired, respected, and empowered which helps them want to stick around.
Understanding one’s own personality/management style and how it interacts with others is one of the biggest leadership game changers out there. Be willing to do a self-assessment and provide the same assessment to your key leaders and teams to create an understanding of natural leadership and communication qualities and traits. Go a step further and provide coaching to key leaders and rising stars to develop flexibility in how to work with a diverse team.
People development, self-awareness, and development of leadership soft-skills are game changers for current and future leaders. Enabling and empowering managers to build a foundation for future growth, sustainability, and a culture of ownership throughout the organization. To do this, managers and the dealer principal/owner need to learn how to think differently in this changing industry.
NCM can help you and your team prepare for the future with the General Management Executive Program (GMEP) at the NCM Institute. Click for more information!