Someone Else’s Timing

On my way home from the gym this morning, I found myself waiting behind a small SUV for the light to turn green.  With only 1 hour to get ready for work, my mind was racing thinking of what I needed to get accomplished today. As I sat staring into the back of the SUV, the Jeep’s driver decided not to wait for the light to turn green. With no regard or caution, the driver pulled out into the right-of-way traffic, hooked a left, and went about her day; I don’t even think she realized what she had done-I know the baby in the back seat didn’t.  Had the Jeep’s driver waited a few seconds longer, people’s lives would’ve changed forever. In the eastbound lane, the driver, probably running late, wouldn’t have been able to brake in time and would’ve smashed into the back of her; even worse, the 35,000 lb fire truck traveling westbound would’ve changed the landscape of many people’s future, including those firefighters returning to the station.

 I’m reminded that when I’m not keeping time- giving little regard to others, Someone else is. Just because things are not happening or coming together fast enough for you or it’s another “one of those days,” consider the fact that you may be on Someone else’s timing. What seems to be keeping you FROM something is the very thing taking you TO your future. Timing is everything….it sure was today.

Happy Dad’s Day

This day is where Father’s proclaim their day,

and Dad’s have their say.

Dad by its pure definition,

is the informal meaning of Father.

Oh I get it, informal means not official or ceremonial,

I choose to be a Dad- a father why bother.

There are no ground rules, no real definitions a Dad has to go by,

no rulebook to follow in the dead, isolate hours of the night.

He gets crapped and thrown up on,

forget ‘bout the presentation tomorrow,

Dad will wait to see a doctor all night long.

Dad does what he does best; he just is…

playing pick up games of  meaningless “tag- you’re- its.”

He’s there to help you after a defeat,

like mother’s job, his too is never complete.

One Dad knows another,

even before they officially meet.

Nothing wrong with Fathers,

without the act, there would be no offspring.

It takes more than a seed,

no honor there, that’s just creating another human being.

Dads are there, through it all,

the stuff you can’t write about,

the symbolic measure of coaching a child through the falls.

Dads will always be Fathers

Fathers will not always be Dads,

for it takes more than signing a certificate, to raise a lad.

Sign your checks; garnish your wages,

that is your seed you gripe about,

a grief that you’ll likely pay for the ages.

Your anger is more than garnishments and checks,

as a dad, I hope you get it soon before you live with the regrets.

To regret is to say “Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.”

A life to be buried in a casket full of sorrow;

Dads don’t have time for that,

they’re too busy with planning for tomorrow.

This poem is to offer a sign of hope, maybe even growth,

Sadly, here writes a man who’s had the titles of both.

Tattoo Artist Of Books

I recently made the decision to not read any new books for the rest of the year. Instead, I am hitting the rewind button and re-reading the books I flew through in years’ past. Ashamedly, I did not read my first book cover to cover until I was 25 years old. I limped through high school and college without ever reading an entire book; Uncle Cliff [Notes] and I were real close. In my race to catch up with all of the years I missed reading, I blew through books. I was in a hurry to finish one only to leap onto the next one; I even set yearly goals to read 12, 24, then 36 books per year- as if I would get called to receive an award for most improved reader. The 12 years I have been reading has re-shaped my life; I also confess, in those 12 years,  I’ve forgotten more in those books than I can remember.  Some books I can’t remember ever putting my paws on some of them; had it not been for an occasional highlight here and there, there would be no evidence of me ever reading them. 

 I’ve decided to become a slow, tattoo artist of my books.  I’ve begun to slow down and re-read the titles that peak my interest and mark them up. I no longer treat my books as a shrine; if I want to highlight, scribble, draw smiley faces, or anything I feel lead to do I will-after all, I’m on my time and they were bought with my dime. Just as ink is injected into the skin leaving an indelible mark on the body, so to will I ink up my books. Inking up books leaves 2 things: 1) the scribbles, highlights, and notes you leave on the page get inked into your mind 2) the tattooed books are the footprints of important things left behind for your loved ones to remember you by.

You Can’t Lead ‘Till You Stoop

I am not qualified to write on this subject of leadership, but my heart is. Everybody has an idea of what leadership means to him or her personally. Leadership to me is simply this: stoop first, then lead. How can you lead someone from something if you don’t feel it first? Do you know what it is like to lose a child; stoop and imagine your own child never again dropping everything in a race to hug your kneecaps as you come home from an agonizing day. Do you know how it feels to have the love of your life walk out on you; stoop first before you tell an employee to take care of their personal problems on their own time- saying things like” check your emotional baggage at the gate.”  A salesperson is begging to race to the bank to deposit his draw check- hoping to outrun the rent check already written; stoop first before you decide, with your grandiose management power to hold the check until closing time-because you can. As a grown man tearfully stares into the eyes of his “manager” fearfully wondering if he can provide for his family in this rejection infested business; stoop first, before you tell him to man up; it’s a numbers game.

We don’t all learn to swim the same; some get pushed into the deep end and have to fend for their own lives; others begin with floaties. Just because you made it one way doesn’t mean another will. You can manage processes, not people.  It’s not the words you speak that make you a leader, for words can be hollow; it’s what you stooped for-the non-judgemental acts that speak louder than mere words.

Meat & Greed

Meat and Greed is good….at Outback and when playing a game of Monopoly, but has no place in a dealership. Are we doing a Meet and Greet or Meat and Greed when working with customers?  Ask yourself, how do you service your customer; based on commission or profession. Why are we patient and understanding with the customers who “paid all ‘tha money” but deal coolly with the customer who bought “the loss leader?”  How would you feel if your doctor treated you based on the profit you generated for him? What about if your house burned to the ground and your State Farm agent filed a claim based on how much you filled his kiddy over the years? Sounds crazy but we have all been guilty of providing service based on royalties. I don’t know why it is the happiest customers seem to be the ones who paid us a healthy profit; the worst ones seem to be the ones who we lost $2000 on the front, paid cash, and bought no warranty, and still thinks we ripped him off-what a jerk! Even so, “they” are “we”; they are our customers and deserve equal treatment regardless of profit.  Even when dealing with a difficult customer, never mirror bad behavior. Your words and actions can be water or oxygen; you can dampen the fire or fuel dissatisfaction even more. While we cannot please everyone, profit should never be the basis of how much attention and empathy we show to each customer.

Good Salespeople Are Stupid

The best salespeople are the stupid ones. When I say stupid, I don’t mean to imply that they should be mentally dull, foolish, or senseless; stupid salespeople lack keenness. When you are keen to judgment, you form an opinion based on your perception. You decide if you have a deal very quickly and market yourself that way. Using your god-given (yes little g for this one) talent of predicting the buyers from liars, you begin asking questions like what they owe on their trade; what payment do they want; and what’s their credit like? (Or, maybe that’s only happened on my lot.) That is what I love about new salespeople; they don’t know enough to be dangerous…to their career.  Like small children, newbies don’t form an opinion; they just act. Novice salespeople don’t parking lot appraise a vehicle; turn and run when a customer drives up in a beater; or blame an unsuccessful sales attempt on having a customer as an idiot.

Recently, one of my new salespeople up’d a doctor; the doctor instructed him to remove all the Jeep’s doors and the hardtop before going on a test drive. He went on to explain that he would be back in 2 hours and didn’t have time to wait. (The doctor wanted to “hear how the Jeep sounded with no doors and top”-are you kidding me?) What did my newbie do? He grabbed a socket wrench, and for the next hour, learned how to remove the Jeep’s hardtop and doors. The doctor showed back up late (imagine that); one hour later he purchased the Jeep.  The doctor told one of my managers how important it was for him to be that salesperson’s first sale; “As hard as he was trying to sell it, we were trying just as hard to buy it; we wanted to be his first sale.” To a veteran salesperson, that story has 3 strikes: 1) A doctor, 2) Being given an ultimatum of removing the top and doors, 3) And had no time to wait. By the way, he was a doctor, if I forgot to mention.  Ask yourself, if you were a 5-year veteran, would you have done that? Not sure if I would have either and that is what I love about new hires. They remind you of the optimism, raw emotion, and non-judgmental attitude you and I once had.  Become smarter to methods and knowledge and remain stupid to forming judgments.

My man Forest Gump said it right, “Stupid is as stupid does;” the real stupid ones get the job done and that is why they are good at what they do. Stay stupid, friends; see you on the Black Top!

The Impotency of Un’s

If your career has been thwarted quicker than Paris Hilton’s acting ambitions, consider the words that you are speaking. We’ve allowed the un’s to stunt our growth; we’ve mistakenly allowed words such as until, unbelievable, unfair, unfit, and unable to become barriers to reaching our potential. When the prefix un is attached to the proceeding word, it negates the action; we use reasoning’s of un to justify why we cannot move forward in our lives.  Just as un is a prefix and not a suffix, un’s are starters and not finishers; un’s cast blame on others in order to explain mediocre outcomes. Never allow the un’s to become a barrier to unlocking your future.

Are You Selling Or Celling?

Do you look at the Blacktop as your personal playground or do you call it called the yard. Did you ace the interview and get the job or did you catch a case-a mandatory sentence with no other options? Do you take care of your customers by under promising and over delivering or do you get put in lockdown-hidden away from population, for your safety. Do you proudly represent the auto industry or are you just doing time– serving a sentence until something else rolls around? Are you earning a commission or having the minimum put on your books?

Start looking at your career as an art form and not a prison sentence. Don’t confine yourself to a have to mindset; sentence it to a want to mentality. If you want to alter your future, you have to stop celling and begin selling. The sentence you are serving is voluntary; you have the choice to be mediocre or become excellent; you are not a victim unless you choose to be.

Successful selling is the transference of feelings fueled by emotion and followed up by logic. Successful celling is to be sentenced to mediocrity fueled by reasons and confined by doubt. It’s your choice to be the Warden or the Prisoner.

Nude, Basketball

I’m guilty of being a member of the All-Self team; clothed in self-comfort, self-righteous, and self-aggrandizement. As much as I thought I was helping others, I was only helping myself, until the summer of 2008 left me standing nude. I soon found out my golden calf was made of tarnished foil paper. When you are “on top of the world,” you have a tendency to mask your ills in layers of monetary fabric. Layer after layer, your problems get pushed deeper and deeper- until the moths of life’s circumstances consume every layer of fabric, leaving you standing naked, exposed. Standing nude strips you of the fallacies of life. If you think you’ve had it bad, stand nude- others have it worse; you think you are tough, stand nude- you’ll soon be sucking your thumb; think you’ve given everything you’ve got, stand nude- you’ve got more in reserve. Exposed, you have two choices: look at who you were or begin the journey of who you wish to become.

Think like a basketball. Basketballs become tougher the more they are used. The more they are handled, thrown, dribbled, shot and exposed to the elements, the stronger they become. Even with little air, a basketball will always bounce back.

Allow the circumstances of life to toughen your exterior; when life dribbles you bounce back harder; and never allow self-made moths eat your uniform.

Symphonic Management

Have you ever noticed symphonic conductors are the only ones not making a sound?  During a performance, conductors manage by miming; through facial expressions and hand gesturing, they guide the musicians through a performance. Like a coach, a conductor is unable to offer instruction during a performance; he has to rely on thorough preparation and evaluation-prepare the performance; evaluate the results.

Conductors don’t just show up for a performance; why do we? As a manager we cannot perform the, “Win one for the Gipper,” speech every morning; nor can we chant, “Sell a car, save your job!” If you owned your own fully stocked Home Depot you would complain that you didn’t have enough materials to build a house? Why do managers insist they don’t have anything to talk about each morning? Thanks to forums like Dealer Elite (dE) (no plug intended) and a ga-billion blogs, tweets, and podcasts there are tons of no-cost materials out there in order to conduct a well thought out meeting.  Those who have started online forums and blogs spend huge amounts of time and effort putting the final touches on what they wish to share to those who care. Why not use what is available? I’ve always said, tools work better when the toolbox is opened. Just as athletes review game film, conductors listen to their completed performance, so too must a manager review a sales person’s efforts. Tracking demos, write-ups, sold, and delivery percentages are methods of evaluating a sales person’s performance. You cannot inspect what you don’t expect. Using real data will hold your salespeople accountable for their actions; when they become accountable, they become more profitable.

Coaching is not done during a performance; that is called conducting. Your conducting is the result of your coaching. See you on the BlackTop!