When Craig Zinn walks into his business,
he’ll shake everybody’s hand and ask how
everyone is doing. Lately, the answers from
employees haven’t been positive.
With gas prices skyrocketing, the sale of
any vehicle with a V-8 engine has proven
quite a challenge. So what does Zinn, president and CEO of Craig Zinn Automotive
Group, do when his employees feel like
they couldn’t sell a truck or SUV to save
He goes out and buys breakfast for the
whole team. And with scrambled eggs,
bacon and french toast in hand, he gathers
the troops and begins to look for solutions.
“Things are a little tough today? Let’s sit
down. I want to talk,” Zinn says. “We’re
breaking down the negatives, and we’re
going to enhance the positives through
open communication. Let people know
you don’t want to just have your ass kissed.
You want to know what’s really going on.”
Make it clear to your employees that
you’re not going to bite their head off and
you really want to know what’s bothering
them. If you do, the chances improve dramatically that they will be candid with you.
“You always have to say, ‘What can I do to
help you be more productive?’” Zinn says.
“If they say, ‘That manager over there, he
won’t get off his butt to talk to my customers,’ the first thing you want to do is go
to the manager and say, ‘Is what they are
saying true?’ You get the negative attitude,
and you realize you have a problem with
the manager. If you create a closed system
where people cannot give you positive or
negative feedback, you’re dead. You
become the ostrich, and you believe what
you want to believe instead of believing
what you’re seeing.”
You have to pay attention to your people
and teach them to be open about the challenges they might be facing on the job. If
you don’t, you won’t have a clue what’s
happening in your business. When you pay
attention, it can produce a big payoff.
“You will find that management now
becomes another tool in the toolbox to
help your people be more successful
instead of being an obstacle to their success,” Zinn says.