Why Core Values Can Be the True Pillars for Your Success
The secret to long term success in any industry, and especially the automotive retail industry, is dependent upon relationships - the degree to which you invest in your employees, the level of service you provide to your customers, and the reputation you have earned as a provider to both your employees and customers within your community. Having a better perspective of your role and responsibilities, along with a deeper understanding of how your business impacts and supports the local community (aside from just providing a product or service) should all be considered as you define your long-term vision of success.
There are countless metrics that could be considered as measurements of success: customer retention, market share, brand recognition, or profitability. All of these are important, and we look at these metrics every day, but how do we measure or quantify our impact on the community, as opposed to just our most recent success within the community? With the exception of the products or services you provide to your community directly through your business, what positive differences do you, your business, and your employees provide to your community – and how can you quantify that?
As an employee-owner at NCM Associates, the founding firm of the automotive 20 Group - as well as an industry leader in data analysis, dealership employee training, and peer development - I feel truly blessed to work in an environment where Core Values are highly regarded as the foundation for all business and community improvement efforts: Excellence, Growth, Humility, Integrity, and Service. These Core Values are the defining qualities to which each employee should be held accountable, the Golden Rule for all client relations, and the guiding light for all NCM business decisions.
Excellence in the service we provide, delivered through our work, our relationships, and by accepting responsibility both professionally and personally for everything we do. Setting high expectations for exceptional performance, and then holding ourselves, our co-workers, and our clients accountable to meet their goals. Always positive, always constructive, and always looking for continuous improvement.
Growth is “something we do,” not “something we did.” NCM is constantly identifying and addressing learning and development needs to enhance our performance or effectiveness, as well as actively looking for solutions to problems. We pursue challenging experiences to enhance our understanding of emerging issues, and fearlessly guide our clients, our business, and our community through times of crisis by providing innovative and compassionate leadership.
Humility begins with understanding the structure and functionality of an organization, and the climate and culture of both the workplace and the community. It is important to build alliances within the community, or with other organizations, to enhance or to collaborate with others for the collective good of all. We must selflessly give, and openly welcome the opinions and viewpoint of others – even when challenged to formulate and rationalize the views of others. We strive to always treat others fairly, ethically, and as valued allies, while communicating openly and striving to build trust. You should seek mutual understanding of complex challenges and strive to learn more about the various roles and responsibilities of others within your group, plus their organizational roles, policies, etc., that will provide opportunities for partnership and continued growth.
Integrity is simply a reflective description of how you and your actions are demonstrated and perceived by others. You earn the trust of others by taking responsibility for your own actions, and always telling the truth. This would include following through on commitments and agreements, as well as respecting and maintaining confidentiality regardless of pressure from others. Be confident and forthright enough to admit mistakes, even when there may be consequences – and be forward enough to challenge others who are not acting with integrity or telling the truth. Be strong enough to take a stand based on principles and values, despite personal or professional risk.
Service could be defined in many ways, but the ability of an individual or organization to make valuable contributions to the outputs of others in order to achieve collective, organizational, or community goals is a nice summary. Provide support to team members by encouraging participation, actively listening to the ideas of others, and acknowledging the skills, expertise, experience, knowledge, creativity and especially the contributions of others towards a common goal. Always stay open to sharing information, and address conflicts constructively in the best interests of the group when necessary.
Employee engagement is everything:
Companies that enjoy high levels of Associate Satisfaction are generally accompanied by high levels of Customer Satisfaction. When you couple high levels of Associate Satisfaction and high levels of Customer Satisfaction, profitability and growth are the result. Everyone within your organization needs to be acknowledged for what they contribute, every single day. It’s a reminder of “why” we do what we do, and a reminder of “how” they make a difference in our businesses and communities – every single day.
If you have lost interest in this “blog” by now; I apologize. But I will also say that I had no shortage of Technicians or Service Advisors that were on a “wait list” to be employed at my dealerships. It was not a matter of how much I was willing to pay these potential employee candidates – it was a culture that ensured a “safe work environment” where employees knew that our company both respected the value of each employee as a producer, and also to acknowledge the “value” that they bring to our collective efforts. Too many times have I witnessed in my career as a manager, consultant, or instructor that employees don’t realize the “value” they represent to the company. The role of a Vehicle Detailer, a Phone Receptionist, or a Parts Delivery Driver could have a much bigger impact on your business and reputation on the community than any “World Class” Finance Manager, Sales Manager, or Service Advisor in your dealer group. The employee vision of their “role” in our organization does not always align with our awareness of their “impact on our organization,” so be sure to make this clear.
Take a few minutes to reflect on how your employees feel about their current “Level of Engagement” with regard to the above listed criteria: Excellence, Growth, Humility, Integrity and Service. How do they define or describe their perception of their role in the “Business” or “Community,” and how do they perceive their performance, or “Level of Engagement?” How much impact can one employee’s level of engagement have not only on your clients’ experiences, but also on those who work around them?
These conversations tend to lead to “Highly Productive” results in improvement of performance for almost any position within any organization. I would strongly encourage you to make the time to start hosting these conversations today.