Don’t rely on “tried and true” — set a new course for growth. - ©

Don’t rely on “tried and true” — set a new course for growth.


Relying on an old strategy is not that reliable. Here’s a call to do better. Let’s fast-track this process and set goals that build on what you’ve got, and make you better not just this year, but in the next ten as well. 


Carefully consider the past year, quarters, weeks, and days, and note what opportunities you encountered, and what led to improvements. Goals by themselves are basically harmless; they are expressed as a number, a time frame, an addition, or a change. The problems arise from how we think about them. What we must do to reach them, and how to create, attain, or achieve long-term success. And once we’ve set those goals, we believe not attaining them is a failure, commonly referred to as “setting ourselves up to fail.” In contrast, a more logical approach would involve making a realistic assessment of:

• What could you do to sell more?

• How can I get more training?

• What can I—and what must I—do better?

In my experience, most goal-setting growth plans fail not because you lack the required skills, but because your goals were unrealistic. It takes a lot of hard work, time, training, and planning to reach new heights. And while setting a large goal may appear motivating, it also can create a lot of pressure, tension, and stress.


What fuels your competitive drive? There’s no right answer. Start by first reviewing where you are today, and how you would have to change to support the increase you have in mind. It’s not about where your goals should or shouldn’t be; setting a solid foundation before adding something new is paramount.

Collecting opinions will be eye-opening, demanding, and satisfying. Reflect on what you learn and use that as a guideline for where you can improve the most. Outside perspective is a valuable tool to help you set realistic goals that are achievable and ultimately profitable for you personally, as well as for your dealership.

After assessing the status quo, start with a general approach that can be used as an outline for success. Don’t set your goals in proverbial concrete, however; always keep reviewing what you’re doing, and adjust along the way as needed. 

One example of a general goal is to use social media to a greater extent. F&I managers can get in front of key decision-makers using social media that they otherwise might never connect with...So start with a broad goal of using social media more effectively, then make a plan on what that means to you and how you’re going to get there, and then take time throughout the coming year to step back and re-evaluate to see what is working, and what needs to change to allow you to reach the broader goal.

Make small goals that produce great results, and it will propel you to growth beyond what you’ve imagined.

G.P. Anderson is finance director of Thielen Motors Chevrolet Buick in Park Rapids, Minn., and a 35-year industry veteran. He is ACE- and AFIP-certified, a 2008 F&I Pacesetter and winner of the inaugural 2011 F&Idol contest. Email him at [email protected].