What The “Motivational Divide” Means For Dealers

December 11, 2013

I had an “uh-huh!”-type moment while reading the New York Times opinion pages this weekend.

unknownAs the parent of a teen-aged son, the “Can’t We Do Better” column from Thomas Friedman discussing the progress of American teens in schools caught my attention.

In the column, Friedman suggests today’s kids will “need to be constantly improving their skills over their lifetime” to be competitively and gainfully engaged in an increasingly high-skilled and technical labor market. Kids will also need a lot of self-motivation to cross what’s called “the motivational divide” that will separate high achievers from their peers (e.g., those who have more “self-motivation, grit and persistence” than others).

The “uh-huh” moment came as I recognized the parallels for dealers.

Indeed, dealers who resist change in today’s highly competitive, fast-evolving marketplace are struggling the most. Right behind this group, I’d put dealers who are on the wrong side of the “motivational divide”—that is, they may recognize the need for change, but they haven’t yet mustered the conviction and courage to shape their businesses for the better.

The column also noted that the best-performing schools all have “ownership cultures” that foster shared opportunities to innovate, take risks, test new ideas and hold each other accountable—a concept that’s no stranger to today’s top-performing dealers.