Can you spare some change?

By Jackson Smith

JacksonSmithChange is inevitable in business, just ask anyone in the electronics world. If those companies don’t change rapidly they are quickly left by the side of the road as new technology passes them by. In the powersports business, we are faced constantly with change from manufacturers and venders trying to outdo each other. To keep up with those changes our employees are constantly learning about these new products and their features and benefits in order to better help our customers. But what happens when your organization needs to change its policies and procedures? The question becomes how we best handle those changes.

There are several factors that need to be looked at when changes are being made within a powersports dealership. First, we need to make sure we have studied the proposed changes and know they will produce the desired results. Second, we need to make sure the management team thoroughly understand and are onboard with these changes before we have them presented to our staff. And third, once the changes are rolled out, we need to listen to feedback from those staff members.

Leaders by nature come up with ideas and often want their ideas implemented without looking at the effects on the organization.   What may look like a great idea in one department may have devastating results in its effect on other departments. We need to take look at the entire process and see how each change effects the entire organization.

Changes are best made as a team. Bringing managers together to ensure they understand the process and procedures before they are rolled out to staff are imperative to the success of the changes. Managers are vital to any changes being made and must be able to have open discussions before implementation. Often mangers can be made to feel their input is being seen as a weakness or insubordination if they don’t blindly go along with all changes. Again you must have your management on board and ready to roll out the changes. Further managers should be the ones who present and oversee the training of their staff members. Staff members already have jobs, when we add too or change their current procedures they are going to have questions and if managers are not ready to answer them you can quickly have dissention among the staff.   This can lead to lack of respect for your managers and staff taking short cuts to get the new procedures done without actually completing the process. This will have a negative result from the changes that were supposed to make things better.

Once you start the changes staff members will quickly let you know what is working and what needs to be adjusted. Listen to them and thank them for their input. Ideas that look good on a spread sheets may have hidden problems that were never thought of. Celebrate your staff once they have embraced the new policies and/or procedures. Positive feedback will help ensure the changes become an ingrained part of your company.

In our fast-based business environment changes are going to be inevitable. Ensuring that the changes are necessary and not reactionary is most important. Remember look at the overall organization before making changes to ensure we are not creating chaos within the organization. As we rollout changes empower you management team to be the leaders you are paying them to be. If their team doesn’t feel they are in charge and knowledgeable about the changes you will never get your staff members on board.  

Jackson Smith is the parts and service manager at Destination Powersports, a multi-line OEM dealership located in southwest Florida. Jackson has more than 30 years experience in both the automotive and powersports industries.


One comment

  1. So many great points in this article: respect for people, focus on the front line staff, deep consideration of the effects on the organization as a whole, collaborative problem solving... Looking forward to reading more!

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