What is leadership? In today’s world, we are often asked many questions and read lots of endless articles about the buzz topics and buzz words like todays digital retailing or the virtual customer, etc. … but what we don’t read enough about or get direction on is how to lead, how to make those around you better, or how to tackle tough things as a group. We are in a time of everyone wanting something yesterday, and if you don’t get on board today, you’re lost. It creates a very reactionary society and sales environment. I have yet to see a reactionary sales system work for a sustainable period of time. We need to focus on getting into the mix with our people and tackling one piece of the puzzle at a time to create the complete picture.
To be a leader is to practice the art of bringing people together and using all of their strengths as one. To tackle the tough issues and prepare your business for long-term sustainability is culture and that is where true leadership comes into play. You cannot convert your business to a digital environment or transition to multiple delivery options until you create a culture that can embrace respect for others and the ability to allow individuality. What I would say is the most successful way to lead is allow others to take the lead and offer them guidance as you stay in the middle and help bring up the ones that are starting to lag behind. Draw out the ideas from the back and push them to the front, and allow the alpha personalities to be themselves while making sure all the voices are heard.
Once you have that nailed down, you need to set a 30/60/90-day game plan and stick to it. As the leader, you must create the outline and then bring your people in to organize it and tackle it. You have to have the discipline to stick to your plan and give it time to work. You cannot shift mid plan and you cannot start to chase the “today” thing. Success doesn’t have a shortcut; that is why preparation is so important. How often have you had great sales meetings or great ideas that you started and never finished? They didn’t fail because they were bad ideas, they failed because you didn’t have the plan in place for follow-up. That is why a defined timeline is so important. Set your goal and set your timeline. Assign specific tasks to the individuals who can complete them, and let them do their job. Have your specific check-ins and methodically move along your plan to success.
Bill Kelly, Executive Vice President
Automotive Development Group, Brown & Brown Dealer Services
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