Adult Learning & Dealership Development

Adult Learning & Dealership Development

By Floyd Jerkins

With over 35 years in business, Floyd Jerkins is an accomplished senior executive in business development with more than twenty-five years of successful consulting and training experience across various industries. He’s well known for offering specialized services for business development. His is an important voice on the topic of adult learning and dealership development.

Through lifelong learning and having a host of practical experience from a career of developing his own company’s and leading people, his background and passions serve his customers with personalization and excellence. He’s coached and worked intimately with hundreds of business owners and executives to help them achieve more success. Floyd has led large scale project development and execution on an international platform. Today, he’s providing executive coaching services.

 www.floydjerkinsexecutivecoaching.com

 floydj@me.com

618.218.1763

Adult Learning & Dealership Development 

I’ve often heard that it’s easier to teach a 5th grader than an adult. I’ve never taught a 5th grader other than my kids, but what I’ve experienced first-hand teaching adults isn’t always the easiest.

As a child, we have this interest in nearly everything and are naturally curious. Then we become teenagers and have all the answers. As adults, there is a point where many stop learning about themselves and the ingredients for creating a prosperous career and lifestyle.

Education Creates Predictability 

I’ve employed a lot of people in my career. Through my consulting practice, we helped hundreds of businesses with various employee development issues. Nearly every business segment requires knowledge-based workers. These skilled men and women have to learn more because the business and customers are evolving. Each week and year, they accumulate this knowledge through experience and education.

An equipment dealership evolution is relatively predictable. Consolidation is well documented that the volume owners are shrinking, and the size of complexes are getting larger. As you move from a two-store to a 20 store complex, specific policies or procedures change with the organization’s size and scope.

The knowledge and skills required to operate the business at a corporate level are different, but still predictable, based on the roles and responsibilities. Location management and key production roles like sales and parts and service management are easily duplicatable. Well, easy is not always the case. If these folks need to learn more, where do you get this knowledge?

Typically, OEM’s offer training on various topics. When the notice comes in, key managers look across the room to see who they will send. A few training companies in the industry offer workshops for a couple of days on selected subjects. None of these offer a holistic curriculum-based education model similar to what you find at a local college or university. Why not?

Developing Talent and Bench Strength With Holistic Curriculum

Teaching adults always requires the teacher to develop methods to undo past learning experiences. Adults have a way to tune out things they think they already know or are uncomfortable to learn. That’s why at a college standardized testing is used to create reliable comparisons across all the test takers.

As the organization grows in size and scope, developing talent and bench strength should become as predictable as knowing when the next sale will happen. Growing this talent requires planned approaches to measuring what they learn by their roles and responsibilities in the organization.

Learning Without Scars has developed a holistic curriculum pathway for dealership personnel that measures learning. I don’t see this type of “behavioral education” anywhere in the industry. Here are just a few thoughts to consider:

  • The curriculum allows a dealership team to be taught the same methodology vs. sending your people to various classes that often require that you undo some of what’s taught to match your dealership.
  • The content contains concepts and applications that are proven; it isn’t guesswork.
  • Students are assessed before attending a class to know they are in the right class and the proper instruction level. Then they are tested after a class, so you know that learning has taken place.
  • Online learning classes that include video instruction is a win-win learning model. Students can access information 24/7 365. Anytime, anywhere so they can learn when they are ready.
  • A manager oversees this personal development and knows the test scores to evaluate performance, so there isn’t any guesswork if the learner has learned something.

Many people today want the magic potion to succeed. You can’t take a class and become effective if the teacher or the class material isn’t relevant. It takes real experience and a proven background of success. Ron Slee and Learning Without Scars has been successfully coaching and developing leaders and businesses for 40 years. That’s the facts, and I approve of this message.

 

 

 

 

Time is the Enemy

Time is the Enemy

Each day it is important that we check to see how we are doing? We must start with what I call the “critical few.” They are the measures that determine if the department or business is in good shape or not. And we must review our position with them every day.

Alongside those “critical few” we must have performance standards. Being simplistic I want to look at the “critical few” against the standards in a very basic manner – meeting the standards or not. Green or Red.

And I do this every day. It is the first hour of my day. If everything is Green then I can get on with my day. If any of them are Red then there is work to do. Contact the individual who is responsible for the item and communicate. Ask some questions, is this anecdotal, what caused the aberration, is it an anomaly or ongoing, what do we need to do to improve the results and get back to standard. A series of questions. This should end up with a plan to get back on track and back to standard.

But it must be every day. Consistently and constantly. Otherwise you aren’t in control of you job function. You are out of control. You will never have enough time to keep up with everything that happens to you on a daily basis.

The Time is Now.

Focusing on the Job – the PSP Program

Focusing on the Job – the PSP program.

Continuing to define and describe what we do at Learning Without Scars takes us to our position of providing a pathway for employee development at their individual job functions.

Most Industry and Wholesaler Learning Programs are focused on parts product training and department management. At the AED where for twenty-five years we conducted all of the Parts and Service training the focus was on management. We operated classroom programs lasting two days. The Executives and Managers who attended these classes learned the ins and outs of Parts Management or Service Management and we took them through a three-year development structure starting with “What it Looks Like When it is Right” and moving to “Performance Excellence” and finishing with “Reaching Market Potential.” They were all good programs and we did this training from 1994 through 2015.

However, as was pointed out to me by a very successful executive in our Industry, “you need to create job function training not management training.”

That resonated with me and as a result we have created specific job function training programs. That is what we call Planned Specific Programs – PSP’s. Our PSP’s are aimed at the specific job functions within the Parts and Service businesses. Instore Selling, which covers the telephone and counter job functions, Parts Office and Warehousing, Inventory Management for the Parts business. Foremen/Lead-hand, Service Writer, Inspector, and Service Office for the Service business. And more.

The film you are about to see will give you an explanation of the PSP Program. I hope you enjoy it.

The Time is Now.

Management Mentoring and Coaching

Management Mentoring and Coaching Program

A coach’s job is to bring out the best in the individual and the team.

We always work here to develop programs that fill needs within our industry.  We have now developed a mentoring and coaching program addressing client needs in the area of individual employee development. We were approached with the need to assist with individual managers in accelerating their development on the job. This also covered those instances where an employee was having difficulty in adjusting to a new role.

These programs have been divided into three pieces: Learning On Demand, Films and Work Assignments.  Over the course of this next week, we are going to tackle each of these pieces in an individual post.

Learning On Demand

The Learning On Demand programs consist of a pre-test, a video program and a final assessment. The course program itself lasts approximately two hours.  There will be discussions with the manager to review the program and to consider specific action items for the week ahead after the course has been completed.

We will recommend Specific Learning Programs – LOD – that apply to the work of the manager. For instance:
1. Basic Management
2. Leadership
3. Make It Matter
4. Time Management
5. Change
6. The Art of the Possible
7. Standards of Performance
8. Best Practices
9. The Balanced Scorecard
10. Activity Based Management

These programs will be enhanced, and the individual learning and knowledge deepened, with individualized coaching to follow up on the classes.  In addition, Ron tailors live online coursework for each manager who is taking a Mentoring and Coaching program.

Next, we will cover the learning films that Ron uses to build upon the knowledge in the online courses.

The time is now.

A thank you for the AED

Today I had the opportunity to read December’s issue of CED magazine.  This is the last month I will be a contributing writer to the magazine, and I am touched and thankful for the tribute the Associated Equipment Distributors wrote in their magazine.  We have had a wonderful professional relationship over these many years, and I wish you the best in your new endeavors.

 

December 2014_AED Article

 

The time is now…

 

Parts Management – Customer Service

What Drives Good Customer Service

Attracting, developing, sustaining, and retaining customers is the key to profitability.

In the world of customer service, we seem to be saying one thing and doing something different. We don’t walk our talk. But we are not alone as a group of service providers who are interested in what our customers need and want. This has become an epidemic in industries worldwide.

Microsoft commissioned a major survey back in 2007 as well. Its conclusion was that the number one business issue for service providers was “customer relationships.”

The survey noted: “They value innovations that support improvement in the customer experience, and they paint a picture of corporate cultures that prioritize customers.”

The survey conclusion also asked, “Why is it that their actions don’t support this belief?”

This is a similar conclusion that I reach in my consulting business. When intellectually we know what needs to be done, why is it we just don’t get it done?

Blog post 11132014

This might be a cute comment, were it not so serious. The world has clearly changed. Products are much more capable and technology is definitely influencing how they can be used. The opportunities for clients to obtain products and services from a variety of suppliers have never been so numerous. How will we defend ourselves and protect our customers from competition?

We have a serious need to provide much better training, technology, and tools to our employees, especially the ones we charge with the responsibility of satisfying customers in the parts and service groups. Without good system information, these critical employees are dead in the water.

And so far, we haven’t provided them with much good information. Many times the first question we have to ask the customer in parts support or service inquiries is, “Who are you?”

How friendly is that opening for a discussion with a potential consumer? Does it bolster a “customer relationship”? I think not. Go back to the conclusion from the Microsoft survey and note the “innovations that support improvement in the customer experience.” What have you done over the past year to enhance the customer experience in your business? More importantly, what are you planning now?

My suspicion is there was nothing in the plan last year and this is not a subject included in many of your businesses’ annual planning cycles. You know that process, don’t you?When you set budgets and create forecasts. This planning cycle needs to be focused on the customer experience, not only on your profit and loss. Companies that focus inwardly are destined to fail. It is the company that focuses on keeping their customers happy that will succeed.

Let’s look at the top focuses of the companies surveyed in the Microsoft survey.

It is very clear and straightforward to me, and I am sure to you as well. The view of the market in 2009 is cloudy and mixed at best. We might have a somewhat brighter outlook based on the more environmentally sensitive mood in the country, but the economic outlook is much more difficult than at any other time in my experience.

Yet I know that parts and service business opportunities will increase. I also know that you know your opportunity to increase business in the parts and service area is huge. But I also think it is clear you either don’t know what to do or don’t want to do it. That is a difficult position to be in, isn’t it? The customer expects us to provide leadership to them. They expect us to provide the support they require for their needs.

So do yourself and your customers a favor and ask what they want you to do for them. Don’t be shy. They will willingly tell you what it is they want and need. But be careful. If you ask and they tell you, then you will have to act. If you don’t act, you will be in more trouble than if you hadn’t asked at all.

Last month we looked at your most valuable service attribute as a business—your employees. This month we’ve looked at retaining your customers, the people who provide everything in your life.

Are you ready for the challenge? The market, your employees, and your customers wait for your answer.

Learning Without Scars Membership Offer

Special Offer

To welcome you to our new learning business we are offering an introductory special membership.

The normal membership is $35.00 for a calendar twelve month membership. For the remainder of 2014 we will extend the period of your membership up to a maximum of fifteen months until December 31, 2015.

With your membership, you will receive a 30% pricing reduction on all learning Without Scars products.

Don’t miss out.

The next webinars are in October – we will be offering eight parts and eight service webinars yet in 2014. The next classes are in Chicago in November and for previous attendees of the first two of the three level management class series also in Palm Springs.

Go to www.learningwithoutscars.com to purchase your membership.

Take advantage of this special offer kicking off our first year.

The time is now…

Financial Fitness

Financial Fitness

This is a business model based simulator that we have developed over the past forty five years working with more than one thousand dealerships, of all major brands and most secondary brands, worldwide.

We provide the basic input forms on our website on the internet and you provide your information. We will hold all of this input information confidential. We will analyze your information against our management measures and standards that we have developed over our consulting career.

We are using six levels of performance in the reporting for each of the management measures. The range of measure covers five departments; sales, rentals, parts, service and administration. We review each department in four sections; revenue, finance, operations and assets. We will have a range of management measures from three per group to over six. There will be a range of nearly two hundred measures to select from in the Financial Fitness Model.

We will use six levels of performance in the reporting for each of the management measures. The lowest is represented by a “Red Cross” which is a “triage” level. Then comes the “Red Light” which means stop this now. Next is the road “Caution” sign. Standard Performance is represented by a “Green Light.”  High performance is represented by a “Gold Star.” Performance that is too high is represented by a “Frown Face.

We will take your input and provide you a sample of the Fitness Model with a selection of measures. This will be complimentary. Then we will provide a series of four choices of our service. Basic, a selection of three to five measures for each department – 15 to 25 measures for each  store. Standard which will be three measures for each section within each department – 60 different measures. To the Special and ultimate levels which will be dealer selected. The Ultimate will have a minimum of 100 measures for each dealer location.

We are currently working on the creation of a series of TIPS (Typical Improvement Options). The TIPS are those steps we have used in our consulting work. The use of TIPS would reduce the need for on site consulting work which will save you money. There will be three to five TIPS for each measures. Each TIP will have a “How To” document provided which will outline the steps and actions to take on this measure to improve the results.

If the TIPS option is not sufficient for the dealer then we are developing a network of “ACES” (Associated Contact Experts). These ACES will be made available on a consulting basis to assist the dealer in making the necessary improvements in their operations.

We are very pleased with the development of this new option for dealers. Our goal continues to be that we help everyone move to a best practices level of performance.

The time is now

Education Step #7

The Wall Street Journal of May 31st, 2012 had an editorial from John E Chubb and Terry M Moe which discussed internet based University education. It is well worth reading and puts forward one of the directions that education will be following in its pursuit of developing a new model for the students of the world.

We are at the beginning of a radical transformation which will allow many more people on the planet to obtain education from the best teachers that any specific subject matter has in the world. The time is now.

Thought for the day

In preparing my column for the Construction Equipment Digest I was struck with a question. Do you deserve the loyalty of your customers? Think about it please. What do you do to earn and retain the loyalty of your customers. It is an important point. The time is now.