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What’s Important Now: CAMP Shows Dealers That Leading is More Than Being the Boss

Cooper’s CAMP Shows Dealers That Leading is More Than Being the BossLeft. Right. Left, right, left.

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 Cooper’s CAMP Shows Dealers That Leading is More Than Being the Boss

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Left. Right. Left, right, left.

It wasn’t quite that rigid as Cooper Tire dealers returned for another installment of the Cooper Advanced Management Program (CAMP) in Columbus, Ohio, Sept.29-Oct. 2. But it was close.

Entitled "Leadership and Optimizing Performance: Managing the People Side of Your Business," this CAMP was the second in a three-part series. The first part was held in May of this year in Findlay, Ohio, while the final part will be Mar. 1-4, 2004, in San Antonio. The 24 Cooper dealers who showed up in Columbus have made a commitment to attend all three programs.

Totaling nearly 15 hours of classroom time, this CAMP session’s sole purpose was to develop foundational knowledge and skills, enabling participants to successfully manage and lead their organizations to obtain sustainable business results through motivated employees in a rapidly changing and competitive environment, according to Cooper.

"How you choose to lead is more important than anything else in your business, and will determine how profitable you are," said Rod Winkle, Cooper director of organizational development and eduction, who conducted the CAMP session. "Because of the changes in our industry, we have to change the way we, as leaders, need to lead."

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Winkle offered dealers a plethora of ideas and new ways of thinking about things. Some of his thoughts were:

®′ There are four primary things a leader should always do: Plan, Organize, Lead and Control.

®′ There are four stages of team development: Forming, Storming (when teammates jockey for position), Norming (when everyone understands their roles) and Performing.

®′ 10/30/60 Rule. Ten percent of employees are perpetual losers who always cause problems; 30% are locked in success mode and will never fail; and 60% are fence-sitters who can fall to either side.

®′ Dealers need to have a vision, but they must be able to convey that vision to employees.

Winkle also used video clips from movies like A Bug’s Life, 12 Angry Men, Apollo 13, Hoosiers and Remember the Titans to demonstrate positive and negative leadership qualities, as well as methods for getting employees to respond to leadership.

"However, I don’t want you to think that I’m an expert," Winkle said. "I’ve designed the program to take advantage of the expertise in this room. I’m not a teacher, I’m a facilitator."

To that end, Winkle encouraged group discussion and allowed dealers to talk to each other and help each other solve problems or find new ways of looking at things.

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"When you’re with dealers, you learn new ideas because not everyone is running their businesses the same," said Charlie Toney, of C. Adam Toney Tire in Oak Hill, W. Va. "I think CAMP is informative. It brings to light areas you need to spend time on, especially with everyday-type things. We always need a refreshing and a refining of our skills."

"CAMP gives me new ideas to take back to the office," said Jamie Paris of Jim Paris Tire City in Denver. "They really teach us things to help us make decisions, which helps us improve our business. And, it reinforces ideas we already have."

One of the most important things Winkle wanted to impart on the dealers in attendance was that business owners should have a vision for where they want to go, be able to adequately explain that vision to employees, and be able to lead those employees to achievable goals.

"I think there’s a real opportunity here for Cooper to show dealers how to be more successful," Winkle said. "Dealers need to identify opportunities to improve and manage their business.

"The biggest problem with independent tire dealers is a thing called ‘wearing many hats’. It’s important you all do that, but it’s more important that you take the helm of your ship and navigate expertly, and show your employees you know where you’re going."

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