Last month, I challenged dealership leaders to make 2018 the year to invest in human capital. I listed three calls to action and some links to recent relevant articles.

Calls to Actions to Leverage Human Capital

  1. Develop Managers — “Job One’ of a Leader”
  2. Transfer Knowledge & Culture —  Mentoring & Coaching
  3. Attract & Develop the Workforce of the Future — Become the “Employer of Choice”

Here we’ll dig into #2 and explore some ways to create a culture that transfers knowledge and culture — in other words “How To” collaborate and share.

How To: Your Style

Encourage Participation. Step one in collaboration is to drop the stripes. With your team make sure everyone person, no matter their title, is encouraged to contribute their good ideas. This is easy to say and extremely hard to do, especially if you’re known for a directive style. But you can demonstrate your commitment to sharing and create an environment of sharing if you will ... 

Listen Actively. Most people don’t really listen to others. We are thinking about what we want to say rather than really hearing what the other person is saying and understanding their meaning. By really trying to understand another person, you can build a collaborative culture by ... 

Building on Other’s Ideas. Try not to move the conversation only in your direction. Instead acknowledge another’s ideas then suggest an improvement or alternative. Even better, suggest the synergies between a couple of people’s ideas. That again demonstrates a more sharing style.

How To: Face-to-Face

Deep Dive in Training. In the training we do, students say the most valuable time is when they can share their problems with other students and hear possible solutions from their peers. We foster this sharing by posing the question to each person: “What keeps you awake at night?” In order to balance the different styles of extroverts and introverts, everyone has the opportunity to ask for answers and is expected to offer their insights. Could you use this approach in your dealership?

Dealer Group/Peer Groups/20 Groups. The essence of these groups, no matter their name, is the sharing of best practices. Participants will get out of a group what they put into it. The most value is added when every member feels this obligation to help other members to improve. Could you create this environment for your team to offer their insights to others on the team and to get help in return for their own problems?

Internal Benchmarking/Regular Best Practices Exchanges. One of the benefits of a larger dealership is the ability to share best practices among your locations. This can start with internal benchmarking about differences in the numbers for each location. The most value is to learn why one location is better or worse. Some dealers have created their own internal peer group by having a best practice idea exchange among locations and to meet regularly — say every 6 months where managers from each location are expected to share their ideas and, in turn, learn from others.

How To: Information Technology 

Leverage Google, Facebook, etc. Many people get information to do their jobs from “The Web.” I hear all the time about how tech-savvy technicians (not always Millennials) use their smart phones to go online to help troubleshoot machines. Some manufacturers have their own proprietary knowledge sites but there is an incredible amount of useful information that others have created to share. (Last month, I learned how to install a new seal for my dishwasher from a YouTube video found online. Especially for precision farming, the same thing has already happened.)

Specialized IT Collaborators. The best example for a farm equipment dealer is the AgriSync App which can bring together, in real-time, the necessary people to help a farmer with a precision farming issue. The AgriSync terminology is “Trusted Advisor,” which implies the importance of a trusted relationship that is vital for true collaboration and sharing. Some manufacturers or suppliers have apps for their own needs.

Group Communications. Collaboration normally done face-to-face can be done online. Internally, some dealers have their own email or messaging groups for sharing. Externally, for the dealer best practice groups that I lead, I use an IT product called BaseCamp, which provides a way for dealer members to share and collaborate within the group. There are other similar products.

Without a doubt, there are many other examples. I encourage you to share and collaborate by posting on or writing me directly at


February 2018 Issue Contents