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As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Selling Your Business Because You Want To Not Because You Have To

As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Selling Your Business Because You Want To Not Because You Have To

As your business vision develops over time, evaluating the option to transfer the dealership(s) to family, key management, or to sell to a third party can be an emotionally draining process. As a successful dealer, passion drove you to make sacrifices and take risks to develop a strong automotive enterprise. Seeing the seeds of your labor that you planted early in your career grow and develop over time fuels your drive for the business.

Read the complete article on the Automotive Buy Sell Report Magazine website

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As Seen in Digital Dealer Magazine - Not Everyone is Built to Lead and Sometimes Leaders Are Overlooked

As Seen in Digital Dealer Magazine - Not Everyone is Built to Lead and Sometimes Leaders Are Overlooked

How often have we seen ineffective leaders in senior level positions? Likewise, how often have we seen a manager that demonstrates exemplary leadership skills? A question many of us probably don’t ask ourselves enough is: what is the difference between management and leadership? Without careful consideration, many of us would probably naturally question if there really is a difference.

Read the complete article on the Dealer Magazine website

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Pass the Baton So Your Successor Can Fill Your Shoes

Developing a successor is paramount to sustainable business success. It requires empowering your successor to step up to the challenge, while holding them accountable to strategic goals. For a period of time there are multiple hands on the baton. If this delicate transition is not done properly there can be a demotivating tug of war experience - you might run past the disqualification line before the hand off is complete, or even worse, drop the baton.

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OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

Take a close look at the letters above. Now, without changing the sequence of the letters, break those twenty letters into a sentence.

If business has been tough or you don't feel passion or commitment from your people, your sentence might read "Opportunity is nowhere." You might be thinking, "What have I done with that list of business brokers? I know it's around here somewhere."

Tempting as that broker search might be, don’t jump at it. Those same twenty letters can create another sentence: "Opportunity is now here." Same twenty letters, same and yet a completely different approach to finding a solution.

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Management Synergy and Teamwork - It Takes a Village

Teamwork is imperative to business succession simply because you cannot do it all.

The call for teamwork extends to your business partners, supporting family members, aspiring successors, key managers, employees, vendors, suppliers, advisors, and of course you as the owner. However, teamwork is not a natural behavior in business, as those involved tend to be competitive, ambitious, aggressive, and want personal recognition. But team dynamics can be taught, supported and ultimately embedded within your company’s culture if all involved are truly dedicated to high quality, high performance and high customer satisfaction.

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Case Study – Misaligned vision between Owner and Management Creating Low Business Performance

Industry: Automotive 

Location: Midwest United States 

Company Overview: Family-Owned Group of Auto Dealerships 

Succession Matrix® Issues: Business Performance, Management Synergy & Teamwork


Challenge: While the owner’s measure of success for each store was based on net return, the store managers were solely focused on gross sales. This misalignment was causing the stores to perform below the planned level of net to sales. Dealerships were also under-performing when it came to gross sales and were receiving only 60% of the manufacturer incentive opportunities.  

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Case Study - Management Synergy and Teamwork's Impact on Business Performance and Succession Goals

Industry: Automotive 

Location: Southeast United States 

Company Overview: Family-Owned Group of Auto Dealerships 

Succession Matrix® Issues: Business Performance, Management Synergy & Teamwork 


Challenge: The General Manager of one of the dealerships was making decisions solely based on what was best for him and his store which was proving to be counterproductive to the overall interest of the company. Dealership was not performing at the level it was capable of.

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Successor Development and Talent Management: What Makes It So Hard?

Companies like to say that people are their greatest asset.  If that’s really true, why are so many organizations unprepared for facing the challenges associated with recruiting, selecting, and retaining the right people in the right seats?  

According to one COO I interviewed recently, “Talent management puts you under strain because it stops you from doing what you are rewarded for.”  This COO’s sentiment, one that I find many executives agree with, is one of the major obstacles to developing talent, family or otherwise: people simply don’t believe that’s what they’re paid to do.

Whether your business is privately held or publicly held, talent management and successor development in your organization probably share a common financial thread.  In both cases, development is expensed rather than capitalized.  Now you might be asking, “What difference does that make?”  Keep reading.

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OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

Take a close look at the run together letters above?  Now, without changing the sequence of the letters, break those twenty letters into a sentence.

If you've had a particularly difficult day or few days, your sentence might read "Opportunity is nowhere."  That's most likely the case if you've gotten disappointing results after completing the "Where Are My People" (WAMP) analysis discussed in my previous blog post.  All of a sudden, you have no successor and things aren't looking real bright when it comes to the key managers and leaders within your organization either.  You might be thinking, "What have I done with that list of business brokers?  I know it's around here somewhere."

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How to Hire the Right People

Regardless of what business you are in, you and your business are only as good as the people that work for you. This sentiment has been shared with me consistently over the past seventeen years regardless of where I have traveled in the United States or the type of family business I have been engaged with at any given time. Recently I attended a local Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) event in Orlando titled “2012 Smart Awards” which recognizes companies in Central Florida that have distinguished themselves culturally, creatively and through the economic impact they have made in the community. Without exception, each of the CEOs that were recognized expressed gratitude and appreciation to their employees who in large part are responsible for the daily success of the company. Having the right people on your team and in the right position can be the difference between success and failure.

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Business and Family Communication - How to Disagree, Agreeably

Disagreeing agreeably with others is an art form.  For some of us, it’s intuitive and comes quite naturally.  For others, it’s a learned behavior driven by unpleasant experiences at home with family or at work with business associates.  And, then there’s that group that just never seems to learn how to disagree without proving themselves disagreeable.  They just get nasty and treat every conversation as an interrogation.

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Family Business Issues: How Do I Play with My Predecessor's Team?

At some point in time, the ownership and leadership batons are going to be passed to the next generation.  When that happens, there's going to be some level of trauma for everyone involved, including the new owner/leader.  When the company becomes "yours", it comes with a team of leaders and advisors that you may or may not like and whom you may or may not trust.  If you are the successor, how do you make the best of this situation?

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Debate vs Brainstorming - Which One Actually Generates the Results You Want

Some people like to think out loud.  In fact, they must talk in order to think.  They love brainstorming; it’s how they create their map of reality.  The problem is that they think everyone else has to engage in the same technique in order to have an abundance of good ideas.  As a result, they subject whatever group they happen to be playing with – family, business, community – to the same process of “out loud” and “out of the box” thinking.

These brainstorming fanatics have even gone so far as to set up rules on how this unbridled creativity is to take place.  The most important rule requires that no one say anything negative or critical of another’s ideas.  In many cases, groups – family, business, community – leave a room pleased that the walls are covered with contributions.  This ideal, feel good boost to productivity or problem resolution seems to be the ultimate in creativity.

There’s only one problem...

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Want to Get Management More Involved In Developing Ideas? Try the Incubator Approach

When it comes to creativity, most of us have won the genetic lottery.  Trouble is, most of us get trapped in a “good enough” comfort zone, even when “good enough” isn’t.  It’s not that we don’t have the tools to grapple with business, family, and succession problems and challenges; it’s that we have chosen to use someone else’s best practices.  That can be a fatal flaw when it comes to succession planning.

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Management and Performance - That "Oh So Enticing" Spirit of Healthy Internal Competition

On more than one occasion, a client has openly crowed about the “healthy competition” that goes on within the company.  You can hear their jaws drop when I respond “Gee, that’s too bad.”  You see, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen healthy internal competition; so, from my perspective, that concept is just as much an oxymoron as “family business”.  Perhaps Walt Kelly, who wrote the famous and well read comic strip “Pogo”, summed it up best in an often quoted frame:  “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Many successful business owners and leaders are competitive spirits, confident risk takers, creative and innovative people who believe that employee engagement in the business – family or otherwise – and personal respect are rewards that must be won.  As a result, they set up incentives, rewards, promotions and other forms of personal and professional advancement so that there can only be a few winners – possibly as few as one – and multiple losers.  All of this effort is made to honor the rationalized belief that “Healthy competition is good for us.”

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Management Synergy - How to Design Team Collaboration

Teams are a puzzle to me.  Individuals with unequal talent, different experiences and education, and sharing only a commitment to a common goal come together in ways that pull them together or push them apart.  The elements that make them succeed or fail have certain characteristics that repeat over time; and even replicating those that are successful is no guarantee of success the second time around.

There are, however, certain characteristics and patterns that consistently lead to successful outcomes and results. 

Here are some of the pieces that I consider most important in designing team collaboration.

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Not Every Collaborative Team Decision Has to Be Built on Consensus

One of the great myths of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is that collaboration stems from consensus. 

The common approach to collaboration suggests that engagement is not possible unless people have an opportunity to participate in the decision making.  My experience as a Certified Succession Planner® leads me to believe something somewhat different. The behavioral assessments we use in helping select the right people for groups such as operational teams, family councils, and various types of boards suggest a great many people want to be involved in the decision making process without necessarily having the responsibility for actually making the decision.

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The Incentive Trap, Are You Caught In It?

Here’s something that may challenge your current thinking about incentives: Not all incentive programs motivate people towards better and higher levels of performance.  In fact, a good many of these programs have just the opposite effect. They can also serve as a source of motivation for the wrong people or a source of entitlement.

Basically, there are three types of motivation:  Fear (self-imposed or direct threats); Extrinsic (outside programs such as bonuses, special perks, etc.); and Intrinsic (internal drive for accomplishment).  While fear and extrinsic motivation may have some immediate impact on performance levels their impact is generally short-lived.

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Employee Motivation - How to Power Your Organization from the Inside Out

If your overall compensation package is at least competitive and provides a reasonably comfortable life style for your employees and family members, then it is going to take more than additional money to bring out the creative and productive energy that your staff carries around with them.  It’s going to take INTRINSIC motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is the compelling desire to do and be better because we want the satisfaction that comes from doing something simply because we love to do it.  In his book, Drive, Daniel Pink tells us that there is a “mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”

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8 Seconds After the Boss Is Gone, I'm Gone - Keys for Building Respect Between Your Successor and Key Managers

Over the course of the last decade in working with family-owned companies, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard horror stories of family successors driving their family’s business into the ground. Often times, it is our clients’ fear of this happening in their own businesses that motivates them to hire us in the hopes that we can help prevent this tragedy. In spite of situations that I  have been involved in where, after some time, I begin to share the business owner’s concerns, I maintain hope that I can be helpful in creating solutions to avoid this disastrous downfall.

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