My GMEP Experience Part 3: An Unexpected Lesson

POSTED ON February 05, 2019

Have you missed out on the other parts of this story? Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

As I wrap up this series of three articles focused on my experience in the NCM Institute General Management Executive Program (GMEP), I thought it would be a good idea to highlight the biggest surprises from this last year.

This year marks my 10th anniversary from completing my MBA at the University of Michigan. Every year, a large group of us get together for a football game and to catch up on life, family, and work. It’s become a great tradition that I look forward to each Fall. I expect something similar will develop with my classmates from the NCM Institute. One of the most rewarding things about this program has been the lifelong friendships I’ve forged with my classmates, who are some of the very best GMs, aspiring GMs and executive managers in the industry! No doubt about it!

Aside from the friendships, the other unexpected surprise this year has been the support and quality of instruction, especially the focus on leadership and accountability management. To some reading this article, that may come as no surprise. I guess when you think about it, how can you train someone to be a great GM without focusing on leadership and holding your teammates accountable for success.  After all, being a great leader is not the same thing as being a great manager, and if members of your team don’t know what the expectations are (what is being scored and how to score it), how can you ever expect lasting success? How can you hold your team accountable? Further, as a true leader, you must be able to articulate the vision and successfully have your teammates follow you.

Becoming a Leader in Your Dealership

Like every topic in this program, leadership was not only introduced and discussed, but the instructors did a great job of weaving the topics together so you can understand and appreciate the interdependence. For instance, over the course of the year, we read four separate books that tie back to the theme of leadership. Discussion, role play, and understanding your impact as a leader in the dealership are central to that cause.

Even though my management and leadership experience has been primarily rooted in the corporate environment, this concept of accountability management still rang true for me. At a high level, the NCM Institute breaks up accountability management into six elements:

  1. Plan your work and work your plan

  2. Define and communicate your expectations

  3. Measure what you intend to manage

  4. Inspect what you expect

  5. Respond appropriately to positive/negative performance

  6. Develop a systematic structure

Beyond the theory, as a student, you’re given a true roadmap (and practice at implementing) great accountability management in your store. Creating an org chart for your store, job descriptions, and DIT (Did it Today) sheets are just part of the process to remove all ambiguity from what is expected by every member of your team.

I can’t overstate the detail and support that comes from each of these concepts within the institute. Sure, the curriculum dives into specifics. However, these specifics were backed by some great ideas from the instructors that have worked well for them in the past as well as students sharing examples of things that are working in their dealerships. Having that perspective from 24 different dealerships and two instructors just couldn’t be gained in any other environment.

It has been an absolute pleasure chronicling my experience with the NCM Institute and the GMEP Program in this 3-part series. Once again, I’d like to thank Subaru and Subaru of Las Vegas for their support during this effort and everyone at the NCM Institute.

-Joel Zimmermann, 2019 GMEP Graduate

Visit our course page for GMEP to learn more about the program.