Communicating and Goal Setting
By Courtney Becton
Team meetings are an excellent way for staff to collaboratively discuss upcoming projects, expectations, individual initiatives, and team goals. Operational departments are known to meet regularly, with the vehicle sales department often in the lead, but what about your back office? Are they taking the time to communicate as a team and improve their performance? The flow of executing tasks and reaching goals set forth for a team are better accomplished when clear communication is established, and everyone is on the same page. The end of the month can be quite chaotic, so, having a staff meeting every month, or more frequently can be very beneficial during the transition between closing and beginning a new month. The goals for each month fluctuate based on the level of activity, and the sales volume, which also means, the plan of action should be appropriately adjusted for everyone to hit the ground running, and in the same direction. It is essential to know where you are going and how you will get there, individually, and as a team. When staff meetings are held, some of the key points you will want to discuss so that everyone is clear on what is expected should include:
- The current sales volume and target (e.g., If you are anticipating at least 200 deals to need posting by Friday, the end of the business day, and you have three billers, discuss how this will be accomplished, how much time is allotted for posting, and who is available to stay later if necessary.)
- Establish a cut-off time for deals to be in accounting, and a cut-off for posting; allowing enough time based on the volume. (Controllers should be in communication with Sales and F & I Managers about the end of month cut- off, reconciliations, payroll, commissions, and deals rolling over into the next month if those requirements are not met.)
- Create one comprehensive, End-of-Month checklist for all personnel to refer to and stay organized. Discuss the checklist and identify potential roadblocks before they happen.
- Allow an open floor for suggestions, considering the person completing the task understands some of the roadblocks they have encountered in the past. (Managers should be aware of issues staff are met with and be able to evaluate alternatives to the current process to make it more efficient.)
- Encourage team effort and initiative (If someone has completed their tasks, and help is necessary at another desk to close the month on time, assign support where needed.)
Communication is the first and most crucial step in getting your team on the same page. It is also essential to stay up to date on what is happening within the department. This interface also allows you to take corrective measures where needed, build a rapport with your team, and create a better work environment for all. Thirty minutes of meeting and checking in with your team can make a big difference in setting and reaching goals.