Article

All In on the Process

The publisher seeks inspiration from men of vision but still relies on the alarm clock method to get business done.

February 2017, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by David Gesualdo

David Gesualdo
David Gesualdo

This month’s cover story was contributed by trainer and dealer operations expert Ron Reahard, and it was completed shortly after last month’s college football championship game. In a matchup for the ages, the underdog Clemson Tigers beat the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide — the same team that defeated the Tigers to take the crown a year ago.

Ron’s article was inspired in equal shares by “The Process,” the management and leadership mantra followed by Alabama’s head coach, Nick Saban, and “All In,” the mindset adopted and preached by his Clemson counterpart, Dabo Swinney. In brief, “The Process” makes impossible tasks possible by dividing them into manageable pieces. “All In” demands that every member of the team be present in every moment, on and off the field, to ensure success.

Both approaches have merit, and if we can’t learn from the two most successful men in a given field, whom can we learn from?

Personally, I have my own ways of getting business done. The first you could call the alarm clock method. When I am ending my workday, I look at what I did and didn’t get done and adjust the next day’s start time accordingly. I would love to work from 9 to 5, five days a week, but that’s simply not realistic.

Nor can I expect everyone to do as I ask without follow-up. Those who need extra prodding are unwittingly subjected to the Post- It method: I write out a Post-It note and stick it on my monitor as a reminder to remind them. To graduate to non-Post It status means I know you can be counted on to complete any task or let me know if you can’t. (It’s an exclusive group.)

So I adjust, but I’m hardly alone. I know this because of I have a number of colleagues who I know work late into the evening and on weekends. I know I can call their office line at odd hours and it will ring their cellphone. I know that, if I get an out-of-office autoreply from their email, I just have to wait a few minutes for an actual response.

Another publisher once told me I needed to learn the half-ass method. What’s that? Well, some people are very detail-oriented and the rest are not. If they are, you have to give them 100% of whatever information you have on hand. For the rest, give them 75%. They’ll be happy and you won’t have to work as hard. I considered it. But I didn’t really want to give anyone less than 100%, so I reverted to the alarm clock method.

But I will give “The Process” and “All In” a fair shake, and I hope you will too. Just don’t be surprised if you have to modify them. It’s tough to get complete and total buy-in when you haven’t achieved the godlike status of a head coach at a major college program.

But no football coach, dealer or magazine publisher ever chose their career path because they didn’t want to work weekends. The auto industry is full of workaholics, and that’s OK. We all seem to get along.

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