Carla Cosenzi, President, Tommy Car Auto Group

December 5, 2022
ASOTU was on the ground with Carla Cosenzi during the 2022 800% Elite Automotive Club Retrea
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Carla Cosenzi is the President of Tommy Car Auto Group.


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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is In The Dirt with ASOTU Did you just go flying?

Carla Cosenzi: 0:06

I did you went flying using fun it was awesome. I was so nervous about it everything out of my comfort zone I don't like heights. I don't like anything adventurous basically and then so that so I loved it now I feel like I'm gonna like maybe consider jumping out of a plane

Kyle Mountsier: 0:23

she's gonna go out of a plane she's gonna go bungee jumping she's doing the rocky like wingsuit or hanging out with Carla and Carla Cosenza cousins cousins cousins,

Carla Cosenzi: 0:38

cars NZ cars whoa

Kyle Mountsier: 0:45

with Tommy Car Auto Group here with In the Dirt we got my Michael Cirillo man hanging out. And we're hanging out at the 800% automotive

Michael Cirillo: 0:54

elite Adaline

Kyle Mountsier: 0:55

automotive club retreat a true elite thing which is at Ifly and we were just talking about Carla was going flying. So this is what's interesting to me because I find that, you know, when when I talked to like dealers across the country, no matter where they're at, there's there's kind of this like, when you go to the dealership, most dealers people that that kind of laid back and like, you know, everyone's you know, there's a little bit of energy there. But there's a laid back. But when people some when when people go to NADA, events with Glen Lundy, or basically anyone else, we start to see the adventure come out. But you're saying you're not actually kind of like that adventurous person normal. I'm

Carla Cosenzi: 1:38

not adventurous and people definitely would not say I'm laid back to do it, for sure.

Michael Cirillo: 1:42

That is crossing. I've been on the weekly calls. But

Carla Cosenzi: 1:45

yeah, that is the last thing that people would describe me as at the dealership would be laid back.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:51

That's awesome. Okay, so

Carla Cosenzi: 1:52

what does apposite into this, what

Kyle Mountsier: 1:54

does not laid back look like for you on a daily basis? Because a lot of people can kind of like, take that at first glance and people take Oh, must be a slave driver, right? But I don't think that she's like, but what does that look like for you on a weekly basis to not be laid back in your organization to drive success?

Carla Cosenzi: 2:13

Well, I have to work really hard to slow myself down and organize my thoughts and prioritize what I have my team focused on. Because otherwise I have so much going on in my head and so much I want to accomplish. And as they would say nothing's good enough, I always want more and more and more. So I work really hard in my own head to slow that down, organize it and filter that through one on one

Michael Cirillo: 2:37

meetings with them. Has that always been your mode of operation? Oh, no. I

Carla Cosenzi: 2:42

was like that crazy person shooting off emails like did you do this? Why isn't this done? What's going on with this? Where's this and I found no one had direction, knew where to put their focus? They they start on one task and then get another email or phone call. And then they've had this way and no, it's taken me a really long time to get to that

Michael Cirillo: 2:59

and go back even further, like teenage version of you. Were you still like a very like? Yeah, gotcha,

Carla Cosenzi: 3:06

like, top of the class.

Michael Cirillo: 3:09

So this is interesting. All the reason I'm interested in this because I think a lot of people can actually identify with that just kind of like, but I love how you're saying you've got this consciousness around it, where you're, you're like, No, I gotta remind myself. So what is the thought process look like? On a day to day basis? How do you how do you do that for yourself? Where you're able to kind of check in on yourself, hold yourself accountable, perhaps? Yeah, so

Carla Cosenzi: 3:34

we have level 10 meetings once a week with management teams, where we load numbers in a scorecard and they report either red or green. And then if they're red, we zone in and focus on why they're red. And what is their one task that week to report back the next week that they can go back to the store and do that would make a difference and then turning green the next week. Yeah, so we focus we're very, very zoned in on only focusing on one thing each week to report back to the next meeting. You know, the

Kyle Mountsier: 4:09

traction process would yeah

Carla Cosenzi: 4:15

yeah, that's exactly right.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:16

Yeah. Is is is it like there there's a whole ecosystem and some people follow it to the tee. It sounds like you're probably like a Papa Bob. We got rocks we got Yes, yeah. 14 days. Seven days. You got the whole nine yards, right?

Carla Cosenzi: 4:29

Yeah, I love it. Yeah, but what like I needed that that's what organized me

Kyle Mountsier: 4:34

is that what Yeah, so that kind of like you found a place there and you were able to give your team that as a resource that actually gave you You are now a better resource to them. Yeah, their efforts

Carla Cosenzi: 4:46

and it helps them hold their team accountable. And you know, it goes all the way down. Everybody's really bought in and loves it. But you know, as those thoughts keep filtering, I have a brain dump in monday.com and it's literally a brain dump, right and then I do put people's names next to it. And they're kind of placeholders for us to talk about so I can get it out of my head somewhere organize it and and review that on our do you

Kyle Mountsier: 5:09

project manage with Monday in the dealership? Yes, this is. Paul, we're going to Georgia, wherever you're no, we're going to Boston because I got to see this in action. So so because a lot of like Cirilo knows exactly what Monday is. And there's a couple of people that especially on the tech side that know what things like Monday and Asana or click up or any of those are, but utilizing that for the dealership to be able to run fast. What was the like change management to get that type of thing in place, because that's not a like, you have to pay some attention and do some diligence on a weekly basis to be like dialed in the deadline,

Michael Cirillo: 5:50

lots of post it notes, but in one place, and I'm one Yeah,

Carla Cosenzi: 5:54

I told you, I need it for my brain dump. Right. So I'm like, okay, low priority, but I had to get it out of my head and out there for you to know that it exists. And it's in the background. And at some point, you need to focus on it. Yeah. What's the pictures listening? Like? Oh, my God, like they roll their eyes at me because they can turn them on camera.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:13

Or you. I didn't know that

Carla Cosenzi: 6:15

dealerships on Monday again.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:18

Sirloin I just quit our day jobs. And we're like,

Michael Cirillo: 6:22

here's my CV.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:25

Yeah, exactly. No, so Oh, man I had, I'm excited. She's like traction Monday. I'm like, Okay, what's next? Yeah, it's great. Well, but like in that, because one, I'd like to ask two questions. And so the second question is kind of like, what's the size and scale of your operation? Because it's, I think that's important to kind of understanding, like how those people moving in and in and through that process. But what does it take? Because when you look at the car business, and it's not all together, like a tech company, or someone that like you would typically say those people use a Monday, right? Those people use project management, because there are things that are constantly coming, and customers and the way that kind of the business moves is not in dev sprints, or project management typically. So how do you keep things like being able to flow in and out those moves, but also keep everyone on task in that way?

Carla Cosenzi: 7:22

Well, we have 100, almost 180 employees. Okay, not everybody's engaged in Monday, certain teams are. But yeah, I mean, I just, I use it just like you said, I literally brain dump in it, and put it in there, prioritize it, assign it to somebody, put my notes in it, and then I follow up through that. And I found that that so much more efficient than just shooting off emails and baring everybody's inbox, and everyone's spending time going through their emails, and it gets lost, and I forgot about it. And it really helps me focus in on my one on one meetings, because they're scheduled, I have a topics I want to discuss, I go through them, they're prioritized by the person. So it really has helped me just dial in on that. And, you know, the problem is, again, back to Eos, right. Like we would have these meetings, but we didn't have, you know, a really great, how's it going, you know, how are your numbers? Okay, what's the problem? Now? They're very Yeah, I guess detailed and on topic. Yeah. You know, like, it's,

Michael Cirillo: 8:26

you were the one that found Monday, like you're the one that brought Monday to

Carla Cosenzi: 8:29

crazy person that stayed up all night long and ran into Nick's office. The next morning was like, Look what I built. He's like, great. We're moving everything to Monday. Perfect. So

Michael Cirillo: 8:40

my question kind of going, based off of what Kyle was getting at with the change management, how do you introduce, I find one of the most difficult things to do with a team. Especially I can't imagine a team with 180 people or however many teams inside of the organization are using it as getting the buy in, like introducing the new software, and then getting the buy in from those teams to use it. What did that look like? That's

Carla Cosenzi: 9:03

yeah, that was, it was it's been a difficult long process. I think EOS really helped with that. Because we started at like, the very baseline, and we built accountability charts for everybody. And I think our employees were longing for that right? Like, what's my job? What's my job description? What's expected out of me? And how do I know if I'm doing a good or bad job? So when they saw that software, and we started building off of that, and it's another

Kyle Mountsier: 9:27

gonna do it for auto and I was introduced to this by my my previous owners when I was in the store. But what's so beautiful about it is it does it puts a structure around the responsibility and then it actually it actually tells the team that everybody's responsible for whatever thing it is not throughout the week, but like when you come to the meeting. So when you start thinking about project management and the way that like a Monday works, or or anything that is project management, Asana, clickup anything that you want I want to use, you start, like everybody has visibility into certain projects, but only certain people are assigned to due dates on that. So, like, what I think the EOS structure actually lends itself to that, especially because of like the timelines, the deadlines, the quarterly, and then the weekly type goals. And then I think that's actually the software then supported the process, which is what's so beautiful about that, because I think that's always it's people process software. And there's a support matrix there that you've done.

Carla Cosenzi: 10:29

Yeah, you nailed it. And I think once people start to see it work, they they automatically just buy in, right. So like, with EOS since, since everybody's so committed to it and believe so much in it, when you bring in a software like Monday, they're like, oh, okay, alright, I can see this, this doesn't belong on my to do as an EOS. But this is the direction of their vision, or where we're trying to go long term.

Kyle Mountsier: 10:53

What have you seen out of that? And it sounds like you're still kind of like, I mean, that's always still working? And how long is that? First of all, when did you kind of start implementing both of those things?

Carla Cosenzi: 11:05

US has been a year. Okay. And Monday's been maybe six months. Okay.

Kyle Mountsier: 11:10

So that's, that's enough time to see, like, what have been some of like, the cool finding, or results that have come out of some of those processes, that

Carla Cosenzi: 11:18

accountability has been huge, and I think employee satisfaction has been, has been huge because of it. Because these, you know, the employees be like, great, you hire someone to like, great. You're a Customer Service Manager. Now. It's like, okay, you know, what am I what do I do? What am I reporting on? What's the process? What does that look like? Now? It's like, great, this is where you sit on the accountability chart, here's who you answer to. These are like the five revenue generating activities that you're responsible for. And here's a scorecard that goes with those. And every week, we're going to talk about it. And we're going to, we're going to make sure that you're successful in this position, by all of us supporting you, it's our responsibility to make sure that we set you up for success. And here's what it looks like. So people come in like, wow, this is great. Oh, you have a process. Right in Eos, you know, go right under. So I think people feel relieved. And I think people in dealerships long for that. I think that's the biggest thing missing out of car dealerships you come in and you're a salesperson, it's like, right, here's your desk, sit down, make phone calls and find customers, but it doesn't work like that anymore.

Michael Cirillo: 12:18

What I love about this is like you when you start getting an inside, kind of look at other organizations that don't have this type of structure. And you hear the sentiment of of not just employees, the whole team leadership team, right down to you know, whatever, whatever the entry level positions are. That's one of their biggest worries is they don't know if they're actually doing a good job. On the flip side of that leadership sometimes is prone to changing their mind about things 87,000 times a day. And so now all of a sudden, you have this same tool, this unified system, where everybody's being held accountable, not just employees but leadership team alike, for for employees to be like, but wait, you keep changing your mind, we're shooting at a target that keeps moving. This doesn't feel good, either. So I love that I think more dealerships I

Kyle Mountsier: 13:06

think it is the ultimate expression of care, in my opinion. 100%, which is like most people wouldn't be like, put a whole bunch of structure in place. That's caring. Yeah, but actually, like, if you think about it from a child's perspective, right? Structure is caring, don't go in the road is caring, actually, like do your homework so that you can succeed is caring. And those are some of the things that like putting structures like this, whether it be technology or just processes are extremely caring for both your organization and your people more deeply. So um, yeah, yes,

Unknown: 13:37

we care about you hope you fail. A lot. There's your desk, there's a phone, gonna make it as ambiguous as possible. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 13:48

Doesn't his voice sound better in a mic for someone? Well, hey, I I'm just excited and grateful that Glenn Lundy introduced us like 33 minutes ago, and we and we're able to say, hey, the kids, I think that more dealers this conversation is going to encourage and prod to put in whether whether or not they put into software, but continue to dial in processes, make it write it down, make it plain. And you're a living breathing example of like an early an early phase of that because there are struggles and there are moves and there are things that have to happen to make that a sustainable process. But thanks for coming on.

Carla Cosenzi: 14:30

So much for having me. That was fun. I appreciate it.

Michael Cirillo: 14:33

Good. I love that after they met 33 minutes ago, they both abruptly opened the monday.com app on their phone and put this podcast as a to do first due date. 33 minutes.

Kyle Mountsier: 14:48

Thank you for listening to In The Dirt with ASOTU. We love the automotive industry and the people who make it run day in and day out. We would love to connect with you more through our daily dose of fun, a free email that you can To sign up for at asotu.com That's a s o t u.com. We put our heart and soul into it every day. Thanks again for listening. Join us next time for more Conversations In The Dirt with ASOTU

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