Plan to Get Better

As we take a deep breath and reflect on the September market and indeed our performance in the last quarter, it will be the same for many athletes who have competed in the world championships in Doha. I also enjoy my athletics both as a coach for the local team and as a competitor who regularly competes in age-graded competitions throughout the year. In business, and in the world of athletics, reflection is a key element to success. Success does not happen overnight, it is the planning, both the short, and the medium-term that will assist in performance improvement, and in my option, this is the same for retailing in the automotive industry.

We come out of the September market which, when we look at the facts, the demand for vehicle registrations is up for the month, on a year-on-year basis by 1.3%, and down year to date by -2.54%, yet, it felt far more challenging than maybe the numbers suggest. With every challenge, there is an opportunity, and I wonder when we reflect on our September performance do we look for the opportunities, or are we focused on the result? The opportunity will always come from the input, the key elements, process, behaviours we do, to get the result, the planning, practice, execution, resilience, and belief of what we want to achieve, what we believe we can achieve. By focusing on the input, understanding what slipped by, because of lack of concentration or lack of persistence is a great starting point.

Depending on how good they are, an athlete’s medium-term plan will be four years, the Olympics is every talented athlete’s dream, yet talent is not enough to reach or be successful at the Olympics. They will have milestones each year, and within that year they will need to peak at two or three main races to ensure a championship medal or retain funding. The bespoke planning, which includes, training (both technical biomechanical and strength), nutrition, hydration strategies, as well as the involvement of the psychologists who provide their support, all of these elements and many more need to be close to perfection, as in some races a hundredth of a second can make the difference. In our industry, we need to peak each month, our national championship is quarterly, our profit, (an athletes funding) is reviewed each quarter, miss one and it is difficult to catch up. Yet how much planning and attention do we put into the detail, or do we find ourselves being a little too reactive to what happens around us?

When we analyse our third quarter, do we focus on the result or the input? When we carry out our reviews, do we focus on the accounts or the customers? The customers we were unable to engage with fully, and therefore lost at some stage during the sales journey. In sport, persistence is a major factor between being a success or an also-ran.

To be a success, I believe it is vital to keep trying and keep enhancing what we do, think about the words we use and the way we deliver that message. As well as this, think about the unspoken communications through our body language, to our colleagues and customers, which also say so much.

Every time we engage with a customer, by phone, e-mail, or physical conversation, think about it as our race. Our performance will determine if we win or lose when the stakes are high, should we not dive into the detail more often, should we not look daily on how resilient our team are, and how much planning they are putting in to make sure their next race is better than the last one?

If you would like to hear more about how we at GMD People, could assist you with creating a high-performing team, that delivers daily, you can contact us on 01327 831371 or

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