Lead By Communicating In 2011

2011 promises to be a challenge for all of us.

One of the biggest you’ll face (if you have not already) is becoming more effective as a Communicator.

This is part 4 in a series on Leadership for 2011.

The Leader in 2011 is a vastly different Leader than one from 1991 or 1981. The changes in personnel, technology, training, communications and knowledge DEMAND a Leader that is a better Communicator than one from those eras.

When I came up through the ranks as a Service Advisor there was not an emphasis on Communication. In fact, in some stores, there was an outright neglect in Communications.

If you have worked in those stores in the past you know that the only way you found something out or learned something new is when  someone got fired! After they were fired, there would be a meeting, remember?! It might have sounded like this.

“Ok, as some of you know, we had to let Sam the Service Advisor go yesterday. I  am not at liberty to tell you what Sam did, I can only say that everybody needs to be on their toes right now. Make sure that you have your house in order, if you get my drift.”

What???

Today, if you are still having meetings and Communications like that with your personnel, my friend… you need to come out of the dark ages.

In previous posts I have mentioned how I was tasked with a Communications Seminar at a national Transportation company and how I spend time looking at what organizations put up on their walls.

I found this organizations Leadership poster so compelling, I wrote down the concepts and am sharing them with you here.

The fourth concept in this Leadership model is…

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

In todays Dealership, Communication remains the number one problematic issue every single Leader in every single department faces every single day.

There never seems to be enough time or it never seems the be the right time or things are happening too quickly…and your personnel are getting the wrong message or in some cases, no message at all!

Lets have a little test and see if you have fallen into that category.

1. You have weekly meetings and when you are done, no one thinks the meeting pertained to them.

2. Your last meeting started late, was poorly attended and you felt that you did not get your point across.

3. When you schedule meetings, everybody assumes something bad has happened.

4. Your meetings ramble like a monkey grooming another monkey. One second your picking nits from the head, the next from the butt.

5. You don’t spend any time with your staff one on one. In fact, when you try to, they assume they are getting fired.

Ok, score yourself. If you answered YES to 1-2 questions, you in need of a Communications tune up. If you answered YES to 3-4 questions, you are in need of a Communications overhaul YES to all 5, time for a Communications trade in.

So, how do you change your Communication style to meet todays Communication challenges?

  • Start reading. Here are 3 recommendations. 1st, Patrick Lencionis “Death by Meeting” 2nd, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and 3rd, “The Bad Attitude Survival Guide” by Harry Chambers. These three books will get you started to better Communications.
  • Start planning. Start planning your Communications. One of the best things I learned to do was write down the top topics of the day or the week on a 3×5 card and carry it around with me. Next to the topics, if there was something particularly pressing that I wanted to emphasize, I put a star. If there was a particular person that I wanted to talk to about something, I put their name next to it. Then as I was out and about (LBWA), if something interrupted me or got me off track when I was speaking to someone, I could go right back to my notes and pick up where I left off. (This does not mean you cannot be spontaneous. And I am sure some of you will put the notes in a pda and carry it around. Do what is comfortable for you.)
  • Start asking questions. Learn to become inquisitive. Ask the right questions. A great book to get you started asking the right kind of questions is Dorothy Leeds “Smart Questions: The Essential Strategy For Smart Managers.” The Manager who asks the right questions will never have a boulder fall on their head because they didn’t know it was raining boulders.

The last part of Communicate, Communicate, Communicate comes from understanding WHO is working in your Dealership from a Generational standpoint.

3 True Statements.

 1. Everybody who comes to work in your Dealership needs their job but does not necessarily want the job they have.

2. Because every human has essentially the same Communication devices and capability does not mean they process the information they receive the same way.

3. Every Generation working in the workforce today thinks that their Generation is the “right” Generation.

All of this means that the Leader in 2011 needs to have an understanding of WHO is working in their Dealership.

By this, I mean knowing the difference between an X’er and a millennial and a Boomer and the Communication styles each needs in order to hear what you have to say.

This is not a new strategy folks. It’s been around for a while. You can attend one of many seminars on Generational Differences. If you cannot attend a seminar there must be at least a zillion books and papers on Generational Communication differences.

Heck, give us a call. We will put together a Communications Seminar for your Dealership and do it in-house.

The point is, in 2011, the key to becoming a better Leader starts with Communications. Get started on Communicate, Communicate, Communicate NOW!

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