Best Practices for Achieving Goals
Crack open that random calendar you got at last year’s gift exchange: it’s 2022! The start of a new year is an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. While some of us enjoy or benefit from making personal resolutions each January, a new calendar year also presents an invitation to evaluate your business and set goals for the months ahead.
But setting goals is only part of the equation: successfully achieving them requires taking action, asking questions, and getting your team members on board.
Set Specific, Measurable Goals
While the same is often true of personal goals, it is imperative that the goals you set for your business at the start of the year are specific, measurable, and actionable. “Become the best dealership in our metro area” sounds positive, but it is so open-ended as to be pointless. Vague or nebulous goals like this example do a disservice to the goal of improving your business and will not connect strongly with your employees.
Instead, come up with specific but impactful areas of your business that you’d like to improve this year. It could be an area your store struggles with currently, or something your team does well that you want to take to a new headline-making level of excellence.
“Improve our average CSI score by 10 points,” “Retain X% of car buyers at the service drive,” or “Increase F&I profits by X% this year” are all examples of goals that can be measured throughout the year and cumulatively to ensure success; they are also specific enough that your team will understand and be able to act on them consistently.
So, You’ve Set A Goal…
You’ve decided what metric to focus on improving in the coming year—great! Now you need to support the achievement of that goal in the short and long-term. Start by putting together an action plan: what steps do you think your dealership needs to take to achieve that goal? Which departments play the biggest role(s)? What resources do they need to do what you’re asking of them? How will you measure progress from month to month, quarter to quarter, and cumulatively?
Next, think about what obstacles might derail that plan—it could be technology challenges, inefficient procedures, a shortage of staff in a key area, etc. Identifying and addressing as many roadblocks at the beginning as possible will not only give you a greater chance of achieving your goal but will help your staff engage with the objective more readily.
When challenges arise mid-stream—and they will—discuss them with your team: what ideas do they have for getting back on track? Do you perceive the same obstacle(s) in the process? Take employee feedback on board and work with them address challenges with the end goal—not pride or feelings—as your driving force.
Set Milestones and Celebrate Them
A calendar year is a convenient timeframe for measuring goals, but that doesn’t mean that the end result is the only thing you should celebrate! Since you’ve already determined the actions your dealership will take to achieve your goal and how you’ll measure success throughout the year, choose milestones along the way and mark their achievement.
Taking the time to acknowledge milestones demonstrates meaningful progress toward the end goal; it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the din of day-to-day work obligations, so calling out these achievements for your team is key in drawing their attention back to the long-term goal. Celebrating key milestones also lets your team know you value their contributions and hard work, which helps keep them engaged with the end goal as well as the business and its success.
Looking for even more insight on the topic? Check out the latest episode of Fixed Ops 5 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen, where host Corey Smith catches up with Zach McVicker, CEO & Founder of OnBoardian. And click here to view a video recording of the interview on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to the podcast and video series to make sure you never miss a new episode!