Too often, "culture" has been relegated to the vague buzzword bin along with "synergy" and "let's unpack that." This week on All Things Used Cars, the President and CEO of Carter Myers Automotive, Liza Borches, and Thomas Iercitano, the Digital Car Guy, joined David Long to ask if culture makes a difference in dealership performance.
As a community member who inspires others to pursue a strong culture, Liza got the room rolling, and soon others added their cultural indicators and tips. Their thoughts fell into 3 general categories- Risks/Rewards, Commitments, Measurements
"The culture should be so strong no single person can break it, and it should deflect people who do not fit it." - Adam Arens
A culture that does not invite will repel.
Culture should not be founded upon one person's actions or beliefs, but be based on and supportive of the associates' success as they strive for the customer's success.
A culture cannot be bought. Ping-pong tables and BBQ events and any number of upbeat atmosphere enhancements cannot be mistaken for a healthy culture.
Things like a fun environment pour out of a healthy culture, not vice versa.
People can make the mistake of thinking a healthy culture is one where everybody is "nice" to one another - that a healthy culture is based on what each person is entitled to receive. Liza reminded us all that a healthy culture produces empowerment.
Contribution MATTERS. When every single associate can connect the dots between the actions they perform and the bigger mission in the performance of the company, industry, and community.
Curiosity. A company with a culture of curiosity and a commitment to learning will find better use of every tool and create a better customer experience.
Structure and Discipline. The difference between a "fun atmosphere" and a healthy culture is easily seen by the outcome it produces. When everybody knows what to do, why they do it, and wins together because of it, that is a healthy culture.
Leader driven. The way the leaders go, so too go the people. Leaders are dedicated to empowering their associates to lead them away from the pitfalls of entitlement.
Safe, but stretched. Everybody should feel safe and valued but stretched to continue to grow.
Accountability. Genuine care for the customer has to be the standard and accountability to ensure everything that can be done for the customer is.
The Ten Points: The room was in agreement of the practical use of one shared tip. Have your leadership decide on the ten points that define the store’s desired culture and filter your ideas, actions, and potential hires through those guide posts.
Many shared their experience building, partaking in, or observing a healthy culture around them.
Ben Hadley said culture is what your team members do when leadership isn't looking.
Paul J Daly shared he knows the culture is on point when he hears laughter among the team.
Brooke Furniss pointed out a healthy culture over time produces healthier and happier associates. Those associates drive MORE success because customers are happier working with them.
From day-to-day energy through measurable performance, a healthy culture impacts every aspect of the store. A final mic drop in a downpour of mic drops, Liza ended the room by stating plainly: "The answer to your question, ‘Does a healthy culture sell more cars?’ There is a 100% agreement in this room -Yes, culture does sell more cars, drive performance, and create a growth company. It’s not fluff.”
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