Lessons in Leadership

I recently returned from a fast and furious tour of our ADESA Canada auctions — 12 site visits in five days. While it was a jam-packed week of numerous conversations and many one-on-one interactions with employees, what I gained was authentic insight into becoming a better leader.

Fortunately, our employees already have passion for the auto remarketing industry and are dedicated to strengthening customer relations. But change is a constant in every industry, and in the auto remarketing industry we are seeing a technology transformation — innovating for a more digital, mobile future.

As ADESA president, it’s my job to set the direction for the future of ADESA, earn employee buy-in, provide tools to develop their skills and continue to fuel their passion for the industry and our customers.

Set the Direction

ADESA’s parent company, KAR has grown through strategic acquisitions. ADESA is benefitting from those acquisitions — integrating new technologies, capabilities and platforms. However, it can be confusing for ADESA employees who may not understand the value in acquiring a mobility-focused company, STRATIM or a digital auction platform, TradeRev.

As a leader, working closely with fellow KAR leaders, I have the responsibility for setting the direction or vision for what ADESA should aspire to be for our customers and our fellow employees. By translating how KAR business units will align to create a more modern, efficient auction environment for ADESA customers, our ADESA employees will know where we are going and how we will get there. 

Follow Their Lead

During our Canada site tour, the many hours I spent at locations like ADESA Vancouver and ADESA Ottawa helped me become a better listener. We hosted all-employee meetings at each of the locations we visited during those frenzied five days. The best part was hearing what our auction workers had to say — what customers are saying, how we can improve processes, and the challenges they are facing.

I know that to be a great leader I must earn their trust, and to do that, I need to follow their lead when it comes to day-to-day customer interactions. They know what works, they know what frustrates customers and they know how to exceed their expectations.

Tune-Up Skills

At the same time, I must offer our employees the tools and training necessary to create efficiencies, better serve our customers and help develop their skills. Just as a car needs tune-ups every 10,000 miles, we can all use career development and skills training.

The auto remarketing industry is innovating and our workers need to keep up with the innovation. As a leader, I need to integrate training and career development into the everyday workflow of our auctions.

Fuel the Passion

What I love about our employees is their passion for the auction business. Their passion was palpable when I visited our Canadian sites. They love what they do and my job as a leader is to foster their enthusiasm for the job and the industry. Their passion is contagious. Just ask our customers. My job as a leader is to fuel that passion — fan the flames with support.

I have served as ADESA president for nine months now. I came into this role knowing that I would be leading the organization through a technology transformation and to do that I would need all employees on board for the journey. Spending time at our auction locations has helped me be a better leader and understand how I can best serve our employees during this time of change. Just as they are passionate about our industry, I am passionate about its future.

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