Disrupt. It’s a pretty simple word, yet in today’s business climate it’s a very powerful and necessary action. I’m not talking about the type of negative disruption that we experience when UPS loses a package, the cable goes out or we have a customer who’s had too many beers at an open house. I’m talking about the type of disruption where we force ourselves to change a process or an element of our business for the better. The keyword here is “change” and ideally also “better.” That brings up a good point. Is all change for the better? Are we guaranteed better results through change? Is there a risk that what we change might turn out worse than what we had? Of course there are risks and no guarantees ... that is the thrill of being in business!
Let’s break disruption down and do an experiment with our business: Take one element of your business that you would like to improve and write it down right now. Most likely you can think of many. This is where many of us get overwhelmed. Our list becomes so vast that tackling it looks to be a full time job and we end up doing little to nothing. I have heard this phenomenon referred to as “paralysis by analysis.” Don’t throw away your list just yet, prioritize it. I like to go for the low hanging fruit first. I want the best return on my time by being able to check off the most tasks on my list in the least amount of time. Pick one.
What is the goal of disruption? Am I looking to sell more in F&I, close faster and therefore close more, or streamline service? The key here is to really get outside of yourself. Don’t just set your goal to the accepted standard or settle for what is better than before. Look for the gold standard. Is there another dealer that does something really well that you want to emulate? You may have to look outside of our industry for this. If you are in the PG&A department, the mall is a great place to look. Always look at your store, process or department from your customers’ point of view. Now, hypothesize. How will my suggested disruption affect this process?
Once you have your hypothesis, make your plan and execute! You must have enough confidence in yourself to ward off the naysayers, yet not be too rigid that you would prevent yourself from making corrections to the course should you not get the desired outcome. Ideally, your changes will be measurable so that you can assess the effectiveness of your disruption. Once you’ve fine-tuned your new process it is now time to either scale it out, if it is scalable, or start working the next item on your list. Congratulations! You are now an instrument of change. Those processes that need the most change are probably ones we have been doing the longest and most likely sensitive to the owners, managers or longstanding employees who originally implemented them.
Now that the New Year is upon us, we are past the point of making our resolutions. It is now time to DISRUPT!
- Tread carefully here as these are the family jewels. Getting their buy in to your disruption is key to the success of the project.
- Disruption can be applied universally. In every corner of our business there is the opportunity to disrupt a process — whether you are in the sales (which we all are), service or the PG&A department.
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the US, owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at: