Are You A Winner?

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Greg Goebel - Also by this author

The 2005 Dealers’ Choice Awards have been finalized, and 49 companies in 19 categories have been recognized for their outstanding products or services to the retail automobile industry. I extend well-deserved congratulations to all winners for being chosen by members from the retail community.

There is much discussion about those winners on other pages of this publication, as well on What I want to talk about is just what makes a winner? After all, my favorite coach, Vince Lombardi, proclaimed once, “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing!” With the importance being placed on the top providers in the retail auto industry, where else should we look for winners?

First we must define what is a winner? Webster defines a winner as “the contestant that wins a contest.” It also may be further defined as the person with the best score, most points or highest total. By these definitions, you must beat someone on a scoreboard or scorecard.
Don’t get me wrong. I am the most competitive person you will ever find. But I believe that people can be a winner without at the same time causing someone else to lose.

I have always wanted winners working with me. However, if you want to create a team of winners in your dealership, you certainly don’t want to do it by using Webster’s definition. That would mean every time someone wins on your team, by definition, someone else would have to lose. If that someone else wasn’t one of your team members, then it would likely be a customer. That doesn’t work either.

I believe a winner has at least five characteristics. First, they must know what it takes to be a winner. To me that definition is: “A person that gives 100 percent of their effort in the preparation for and during their performance of a task.”

The second characteristic is integrity. Winners don’t become winners by cheating. True winners do not want to taint their accomplishments. They know accomplishing their goal by bending the rules doesn’t fulfill their desire to excel.

The third characteristic of a winner is that they must set high goals. For example, I have a cousin who has been a long distance runner for years. At the age of 53, he decided he wanted to complete an Ironman Triathlon. That meant he would have to swim two point four miles, bicycle 112 miles, and finish by running a 26.2-mile marathon – and complete it all within 17 hours of starting. That was a high goal. I forgot to tell you. Prior to setting the goal, he swam about as well as a rock.

What are your high goals, both professionally and personally? Are they goals or just hopes? There is a big difference.

The fourth characteristic I believe is discipline. You must be willing to work hard to achieve your goals, and you must have the discipline to perform well during training and during the task … to stay the course. That discipline means believing when others doubt, staying the course when temptation steers you otherwise and never settling for something less than what you have set out to accomplish.

My cousin, already an accomplished runner, had to train 20 – 30 hours a week for over a year to reach his goal. First he had to essentially re-learn how to swim, something he never had embraced to begin with. More importantly, he had to learn to enjoy it. That is discipline. So is continuing on when you are just half way through the grueling event and your body is telling your mind that it is ready to pack it in.

Do you have the discipline to both make the necessary preparations in your position at the dealership, and then stay the course to see you goals accomplished? What about the people you have working with you?

Finally, the fifth characteristic is a winner must be motivated. Motivation can come in all sorts of packages. To my cousin, it would be the sense of accomplishment – to be able to do something that he knew that very few people on earth could do. Self-satisfaction.

In a professional sense, it could be monetary. It could be self-recognition. It could be to gain a title or position. It could be simply to impress someone else. It could even be spiritual. Your motivation may or may not be the most altruistic by nature, but you must have that motivation. It is your responsibility to motivate yourself – not others to motivate you.

To recap, a winner must know what it means to be a winner, have integrity, have high goals, have the discipline to perform, and be motivated. Notice I didn’t say you had to cross the finish line first.

Speaking of finish lines – back to my cousin. The first place finisher of the Triathlon he participated in crossed the finish line in eight hours and 40 minutes. My cousin completed it a little over five hours later, in over 14 hours, but well under the 17-hour time deadline. Regardless of the fact that he was well behind the first place finisher, he absolutely was a winner. So were the cancer survivor and the amputee that finished behind him.

Are you a winner? Do you try to surround yourself in your personal and professional life with winners? I have been blessed throughout my life and career to be able to say yes. It is vitally important to surround yourself with winners. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do.

Congratulations again to all of the winners of the 2005 Dealers’ Choice Awards. They have what it takes as well!

Vol 1, Issue 4

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