The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 11 months ago

David Long: Mindset Over Tactics

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The real change-makers in the retail auto industry all have one thing in common. They believe and deploy the power of a positive mindset before any job-specific tactics. Isn't it ironic? Those who focus strictly on tactics never seem to get a head while those who have a positive, willing, and committed mindset tend to rise the leaderboard consistently?

David J. Long is the Executive General Manager for Hansel Auto Group in California and has helped thousands of individuals throughout his career reach new heights through the power of a positive mindset.

Listen carefully as David helps us understand the importance of remaining positive and provides a glimpse into how he makes it happen for himself each day.

Noteworthy topics from this episode:

4:16 - You speak a lot about mindset. Why?

10:07 - How do you pivot or adjust and still keep on track?

14:25 - Is there a difference between positivity and happiness?

15:38 - How does one cultivate an attitude of positivity?

22:12 - How do you foster a culture of positivity?

26:22 - Caring drives us. 

Enjoying the show? Leave a rating and review here:https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-dealer-playbook/id857094979


Hey, welcome to this episode of the dealer play boat, a podcast that explores what it takes to create a thriving career right here in the retail auto industry. I'm your host, Michael Cirillo, delighted to be joined by 30 year veteran of the industry. David long. We're gonna be talking about the pandemic of positivity. Look, when we first launched the podcast, we did what I think many people would do, especially in the automotive industry, and that's why we were so focused on tactics like how to sell more cars or how to book more appointments, how to rank higher in search engines. The list goes on somewhere along the way, I had an epiphany. I've been thinking a lot about my personal development, those that have been here for a while, know that I've struggled with mental health issues and depression and and all of those sorts of things. And, and so as I was contemplating my personal development journey and what the contributing factors to rapid growth were and still are for me, there was one thing that I realized and you've probably noticed, the theme runs deep throughout the dealer playbook. It's one of the reasons why we focus less on tactics and a little bit more on quality of life lifestyle. You see, I realized what makes me perform better, What helps me think bigger reach higher, take more risks, has nothing to do with tactics alone. You see, I it has little to do with job specific tactics and more to do with mindset willingness, vision, the ability to lead and care for myself so that I can then do that for others. See, I came to realize the best tactics in the world will not compensate for a life that's in disarray, a life where I feel out of control and constantly at a loss. That's why over the years...

...with the podcast specifically, we've done our best to mix lifestyle and quality of life topics in with the tactics. We know you still got to get the tactics, but we want to mix those things together because I'm on a mission to let you know that no matter what you matter and that the seemingly intangibles are, would actually contribute to accelerated growth, not just at work but in all facets of life. And that's why I am thrilled to be joined by someone who I know shares this common interest to spread positivity throughout the industry in the world. David lung has built an impressive career in dealership operations, holding multiple leadership roles, including general manager, owner and operating partner, vice president of operations and can wait. Hold on. How much did David pay us to say all these big things about his career? I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. In august. David was hired as the executive general manager for Hansel Auto Group in California and most recently has been lighting up the airwaves on clubhouse and beyond as the founder of pandemic of positivity. My man, David long, thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast. Good morning Michael. Good to see you glad to be here, man, old man. So I've had the privilege of hearing you and learning from you on clubhouse. I think it's become this Feeding trough for all of us that we gather around and share ideas and I mean, you've got 30 years of experience in the auto industry, specifically in, in senior leadership positions in operations, managing the day to day. Um, you know, I'm intrigued by what I've observed, which is no matter what the subject matter we could be, we could be in a room about used cars or chip shortages or like whatever challenges the industry is facing today. Yet when you...

...speak, when you offer advice, it rarely has anything to do with the thing, yet has everything to do with the topic, whether it's used cars or whatever. But you speak a lot about mindset, how to have a healthy mindset or a positive mindset. You speak a lot about quality of life and recognizing one's individual worth above everything else. And so my first question, out of sheer curiosity is why? Oh, that's a great question. So, and as you were saying it, and up until that very moment, this thought didn't occur to me. But I went, I flashed back Michael to september 11th And I was running three dealerships at the time. And when the planes hit the building, I'll never forget the look on everybody's face, the dismay, the fear of, the apprehension, the concern, the worry. Um and I think that was a defining moment in my career in that no, you can't make that positive, right? There's nothing, there was nothing that I could do to make, to put the narrative in a way that made people feel like the future was going to be brighter than the past. But what I did know is and identified very clearly that everybody had different emotional needs and that was the day that my whole leadership career changed. Some people needed to go home and be with their families and love on them and be close to familiar spaces. Some people needed to lean into work and be distracted by activity so that one single impact on my career change the way that I lead people from that point on and has just evolved ever since. So the reason when something like chip shortages or Covid or what I'll share here in a minute is some of our obstacles. I always go to control the narrative, right? Like if you need this, get that, if I can help you with that,...

I'll do that. So that is what really I think has led to some of my success is giving people what they need, when they need it regardless of what I want or need or think for that matter, Does that answer your question? It does, and it leads me to, what do you do then specifically to tap into that for each individual? Like you pointed out some very specific things, um different emotional needs. Maybe they need to be distracted by activity or maybe they need to be home embracing loved ones, You've brought up all of these things, How do you as a leader tap into that so that you don't have a one size fits all approach? Have you ever met somebody? A really really high I. Q. Kind of like you you met people like you with really high over the chart off the chart? I. Qs. I've yes but more so observed them from afar. Like you look at Mark Zuckerberg. Yeah, well I'm not gifted with a high I. Cube, but I have been gifted with a fairly high E. Q. Are you familiar with that? So and I'm so grateful that I have a higher Eq than I. Q. Because I think it's served me a lot better than being intelligent on the book smarts. So I think that's how I've been able to just dial in and pay attention to people's unexpressed wishes. Um and it's not, I'm not always right and you're you might be, but most people are not always right as it relates to paying attention to the emotional cues. But I think if you ask the right questions and you position yourself and your people to feel safe, I think you get authenticity and in that authenticity people are able to take away what they need. That's worked for me. Is that something speaking of this, you know, emotional intelligence, Is that something you're born with? Do you...

...think that's a gift? Is that something that can be developed? You know, that's a great question. I learned to be incredibly emotional intelligence through actually really difficult childhood. I learned to pay attention to moods because of the way my parents showed up so inconsistently. So for me, although it seemed like a really, really, it was a really, really difficult time. Some of my best gifts were derived from those from those times, right? So I don't know if you can learn it. I know that I learned it the hard way, but I'm certainly glad I have it. It makes me think about so fast forward September 11. That's when you, that's when you identify, hey, everybody does have a different emotional needs. And I love this because it really ties into what some people might call psychobabble or, or intangibles on how you can actually rally a team and foster a culture of care, end of positivity. But I mean Like you said something like September 11 or a pandemic virus, you know, literally the things that they make movies about, We just experienced uh rarely in the movies though, do they just show everyone sitting at home watching netflix, like the way that we did. But but you know, this is another experience that we've just been through where people's emotional needs are different from an operational perspective. I want to go here just for a minute before we swing back from an operational perspective, how do you manage that in a way that you can still quantify progress right? Like if people are like, oh man, I need time off. Like we're not going to meet deadlines now or we're not going to meet these KPI s that we thought we were gonna meet.

Like how do you find pivoting or adjusting in the moment so that you can still ultimately stay on track as an organization? Mm That's been our greatest blessing and I'll just share this with you. So the beginning of 2020 was a cyber attack where we were held for ransom. They took all of our ability to operate our business away from us, locked us down, put a message on all of our computers and didn't allow us to do one thing. We couldn't punch time clocks. We couldn't open our rose, we couldn't log into DmS, we couldn't do one thing. Have you ever seen that? It was like a sci fi movie. See this is what happens when you say you're not going to participate in coop anymore. I'm just kidding. So, so we had to hire a negotiator and pay a ransom and or I mean it was like really like what you see in the movies. So that kicked off 2020. Um, so you know, you know, we couldn't make any money. People couldn't do their jobs. It was tough. It was and it wasn't ours, it was days, which felt like weeks. Um, so we paid the ransom. We got our keys to our kingdom back. We were able to log back on and get to work. Um, which was great. Right? There was like this big sigh of relief and then boom the wildfires in Sonoma County hit us and two gigantic wildfires. People lost homes and lives and there's ash falling out of this guy, Michael. I have multiple rooftops, I can see my BMW store from here. Um And it's only 100 and 5200 yards away, but when the ash was falling out the sky couldn't see it. Like the air quality index was four point oh two fires back to back and then right on the heels of that. And I share this for particular reason I had to fire everybody Because the pandemic, Alright, we're only gonna be closed for a little while which two weeks turned into quite a while. So every single...

...person, people have been here for 40, 50 years got furloughed right? People hear that and they think I've just been fired from my job. So when you ask that question about how do we pivot, how do we come when we brought people back? We were not able to bring, not everybody wanted to come back. There were many people that just wanted to stay home. They felt safer home. So there are people that did a job that we had to hire somebody that never did that job to come back and do a job they'd never done so to hit the KPI s and to find stride and do the things, I mean it was nothing short of an absolute miracle that people were able to jump in and do things that they had never done. I had sales managers doing finance, I had finance. Um when we didn't have finance, I had sales people working deal. I mean it was just, I had service managers greeting ups like it was just that we did what we had to do, right? And that in that one, six month period we learned what we're really made of and that's as a team when we really started coming together and I think that answers your question, but that's how we hit KPI S when people aren't able to post for their position. Yeah, there's something I want to touch on, which is how deeply rooted, I don't know, DPB gang if you're picking up on this, but I am how deeply rooted everything that you've just shared has this this very positive undertone to it despite experiencing like I'm writing down cyberattacks and I'm like flipping Putin, would you just stop with the cyber attacks? Okay. Especially things targeting automotive, you've got oil pipelines, taking down dealerships, kidding, but then you go from that to a wildfire. You go from wildfire to furloughing everybody, You go from furloughing everybody to bringing some of them back, having to then experience stretching as a team. Yet everything for you circles back to the word...

...miracle, which I think is really interesting. So I wanna, I wanna pivot just for a second so that we can come back to this positive undertone, which is how in your experience does one cultivate a positive mindset? And is there a different, like, first of all, is there a difference between in your opinion, positivity and happiness and if so, what? Yes, uh huh. Nobody's ever asked me that question that way. Well, I don't think one can be happy without being positive and I couldn't imagine being positive without being happy interesting. So I think they're almost one and the same interesting. And so how do you cultivate this is really where I want to go is how do you cultivate positivity? I mean when you look at the, the auto industry on mass, if we just if we were left to our devices and could only see what we see in the facebook groups or perhaps some of the drama, the conference or whatever happens. Sure. There is a growing number of individuals who understand the importance of positivity who are working really hard on this, but there is still such a large base that has this negative bias that where if they were cyber attacked and wild fired and having to furlough everyone and then experienced the change with that maybe they're holding themselves to the standard of pre pandemic and they're disappointed that they can't achieve that now and they don't like the way the pivots feel or the way progress feels like. How does one cultivate an attitude of positivity? So, you know, I didn't share, but while that was all going on in 2020, I had five deaths in my immediate family as well. So it was just, you know, it was just one thing after another. But how does one cultivate that or how does a leader get their team to focus on that? There's two different good point. Let's...

...start with, let's start with the leader as an individual cultivating for themselves and then perhaps talk about how do they then transition that or convey that to a team fair. I think it's, it's hard to give away something you don't have, right? So if you're not able to cultivate positive, so for me and you've been so transparent, all the episodes I've ever watched, you've always talked about, you had some, you know, some things that you've dealt with and you and I share that in common. I've never shared that with you, but um and I don't want this to be a trigger alert, but if you've never been to the place of having um being completely um so depressed that you can't get up in the morning, you can't get out of bed that you feel like you're better off not being here if you've never had those feelings. Um I think it might be hard to really relate at this people of a level, but because I've been there and I'm not there anymore, I have this unshakable faith um and this ability to stay positive because it's not what it once was, but I can I can assure you just like the physical body atrophies if you don't use it, the emotional happiness and positivity mindset. Atrophies if you don't use it, the differences muscles, I think I have memory. Well, I know they do must physical muscles have memory. So like if I used to work out hard, if I start working out my muscles have memory, they'll come right back. I don't think that's the same with attitude and outlook. I think it's a much slipper, slippery or slope with attitude, outlook and positivity. I think for me anyway, it requires daily deposits in order for me to keep a solid upbeat frame of mind that puts the narrative on life happening for me and not to me right, there's a significant difference between, oh, maybe this isn't optimal, but it's happening for me, it's going...

...to help me get where I'm going. Um and that frame of mind doesn't come free. It requires, for me anyway, it requires a tremendous amount of daily effort. Can you bring us inside? So do you have a routine that you follow? Are there certain exercises and things that you do as you're willing to share? Yeah. So it's the first thing I do every morning, so you can't see this and hopefully nobody, but every single morning I get up and I'm not an overly religious guy, Michael, but I start my morning on my knees and I all I simply just say please, uh and my please is to be the best version of me I can be to impact people to leave people better than I found them, to help people that are suffering and be able to pay complete attention to people's needs expressed and unexpressed. So that's my morning prayer from my knees. From there I go right to journal. Journal. Every morning I write down all the things that I'm incredibly grateful for. I write down the blessings that are coming to me and then I go right into my meditation. I love, I'm doing Wim Hof now. I don't know if anybody knows what that is, But I love starting my day with a YouTube video that's 11 minutes long from a guy named Wim Hoff. There's a beginner version and then there's an experience version sets up my whole day. I go right from that to work out after my workout, I hit the sauna and after my sauna, I am ready to go. And by the way, all that's done by six a.m. Because my day starts at six. Um, and, and that's how I feel what I call my emotional tool. And when I fill it that way and I feel it that way, five days, week minimum. Um, I'm ready to go, I'm armed and ready that answer your question. I hope so. That's my hack. It does. And I'm taking notes. And what I think is interesting is seeing some parallels to my morning, right? Morning prayer, gratitude journaling...

...and, or like just getting stuff out of my head, like gratitude seems to run through it now. Um but but you know, also taking time to be like, hey, I'm waking up with this thought and I just needed to not be in my brain anymore and I need to get it out. Um is part of that, the exercise I think is so, so crucial. I don't think a lot of people I certainly didn't, by the way, at the peak of my depression. I was like, it was like £255,, which is not Good for a 5' 7 Italian, like, like they were like, what do you want to, so what are you preparing to play penguin in the next batman movie? Like what are you doing? Um you know, now that I'm on this side of losing, you know, a ton of weight, exercising regularly, it's shocking to me how big of an impact exercise movement has in my ability to make better decisions to work throughout the day. Stay focused and something I had never realized when I was, you know, slurpee monday, Wednesday, friday, blizzard, Tuesday, thursday saturday, you know what I mean? So I think that's tremendous. So now you are working on self, you're filling your bucket, you're making deposits, you're feeling a certain way, you're in a frame of mind. I love how you said life, you're really in a position to be the victor, not the victim, right? You said life happens for me, not to me. Um how do you find now with going back to where we started, where everybody on your team, you've got hundreds of people working for you that you have stewardship for who are in different emotional states, who have different...

...needs? How do you both foster a culture of positivity for them as individuals and as a team? Okay, so I'm gonna use my son as an example. I know we're talking about my team, but this bleeds right over my son. My son. Yeah, he is, he's definitely the team, my son and my daughters. And one of the things that I learned as being a parent, right? I think I parent better than I do anything, at least I hope I do. Um, is that everybody has that gene or that part of their makeup that makes them a little self absorbed. How do I look today? How do I sound today? What do people think of me? And I think that's especially heightened when you're going to school and you're a preteen or a teenager. So, um, one of the ways that I know I can feel better about me is when I'm not thinking about me, right, When I'm out actively pursuing how I can fill someone else's emotional needs, I find that I'm not consumed with me, which then I'm not worried about how do I sound, How do I look? How did I act, what they think? And I'm more about how can I serve? So, and I started this at a really young age for my daughters and my son, like their mission. They are on a mission when they go to work or go to school rather is to find somebody that looks like they need something. Like they have a hole in their soul. Like they have, um, an emotional wound like they don't fit in, They don't belong, They look fearful. They look apprehensive. They look sad and to go fill that person up and what I found by them doing that they would come home Jack to the moon. They wouldn't come home thinking about how they did or what people thought about them or how they sounded, how they acted. They'd come home and said, Dad, I made this friend. I sat with him at lunch. He...

...went from being really sad or she went from being sad to feeling really good. I took him a snack. I shared melon, whatever. Right? And I thought, wow, if it works that good with pre teens and teenagers, how good could that work at work? Right. I know that adults have emotional pools that need filled and every single one of us, you and me and everyone we've ever met has a hole in their emotional pool. And pool is P. O. L. Write a pool of emotions that drains. And that's where the crisis of confidence comes. That's where the fear comes. That's where the anxiety comes. That's where the impending doom happens like. So I feel like as a team when we're out digging in trying to pour into one another and fill that emotional need, then the whole team comes together and there's a completely different vibration that we operate in. And we're not thinking about ourselves, meaning we're thinking about how we're gonna serve each other. And do we do a perfect no, but I got to tell you this team that I have right now. Does it about as perfect as any team I've ever seen. So it's super cool. So that's the answer to that question and that's how I see us serving each other as leaders. Uh I think this is tremendous. It's the, there's so many different universal law is built into this. It's the law of abundance, The law of positivity, the law of compounding returns the law of appreciation. Like just how you know the whole pay it forward thing, how everything like it just resonates with me on such a deep level. We certainly experience this in our organization, which I'm with you. There's, there's something so exhilarating about seeing everyone care for each other knowing full well that as they lift others, they will be lifted. I just think it's so tremendous and it really is a message that I wish, I wish the next dealer conference only focused on this kind of stuff. Yeah, maybe it's, maybe...

...it's yours in mind to put together, let's do it. You heard it here first folks think about this, here's our mantra here and you're gonna like this from the car perspective, it's caring drives us, hmm. Um, and I think for the most part we live true to that mantra, caring drives us. So the filter, we press everything through. Is it caring? And will it push us for will drive us forward? If it's not caring? It's not gonna drive us forward? We probably shouldn't be saying it, doing it or thinking it. How do you maintain this? I mean, I think I know the answer, but I would love your take for your team and for yourself. How do you maintain this, then when the going gets tough, when that unforeseen circumstance? When a pandemic hits or or when there's a chip shortage or whatever the circumstance might be, when you're suffering personal loss like you had mentioned, um, how do you maintain positivity, authenticity? I think the word would be authenticity. I'm just waving at people out of my office. Sorry. So, right. I mean, so when you think about the pandemic of positivity, it's not the pandemic of Polyana positivity, right? There's it's real genuine positivity. And if you're struggling, you're sad and you're wounded, you're hurt. You had a death in the family. Like, let's be real. It's painful. It's hard. Let's talk about that. Let's love on each other. Let's come together. And that's, I think what I saw when the pandemic happened and we had to furlough people. Like I didn't call one person out of the hundreds of people and have them cussed me out right there. Like I know Dave, this has to be really difficult for you to do. And I know you only have 300 more of these calls to make, right? Like it was, there was not one purchase they knew that they knew what my heart...

...was, right? So I think because we have those difficult conversations and we stay authentic with one another um the positivity and the kindness Israel. So that's that's what I think. Yeah, there's there's a layer of of um seeking to understand somebody. I love how you, you framed this as hey, instead of thinking about yourself, go, you're on a mission to go identify somebody who looks like they need something and to extend a hand like you said love on each other to extend that hand of love care, concerned tenderness, I think just speaks volumes to what can happen in an organization. Like the sooner we all start thinking more about this stuff and practicing it, implementing it. You know, the less we will actually have to sit here and think about how to sell more, how to have better software, how to have better marketing, how to have that, like none of them. What does that matter in the grand scheme of things? I think, you know, it comes down to me, David the concept of there are so many things we could do, but what should we do? Those things that should do is become much fewer. It allows us to focus a little bit more um for those listening who are feeling something and they're going, I like the way this conversation makes me feel, it feels different than other automotive conversations I've participated in. How can they get in touch with you to learn more about you and connect with you? So one I have been called different quite often. Um, but I can be found just on every social media channel or you can go to the pandemic of positivity dot com and all our contact information is in there. Um So that you...

...can find me anywhere Really welcome to share my personal cell phone as well any time is that? Hey, you just told me about cyber attacks. You know, you stop sharing your phone number all over the place. Okay. But let's talk about pandemic positivity now that you've, that you've mentioned the website. Tell me about the pandemic of positivity for those that aren't familiar with it. So it was a mission. It was this epiphany that I had at two o'clock in the morning and I never wake up in the middle. I sleep like a baby every night. Um But five deaths, cyberattack fires furloughed. Uh The election was going on, as you might remember. I mean there's just so much toxicity and so much negativity. And then the pandemic on top of it, I thought there's gotta be a way that I can find a group of like minded people to pour kindness love compassion through a portal of positivity into the world. Right? Let's just stop talking about all this craziness and let's start figuring out how we can be kinder more loving and more compassionate. And I thought, I know, let's shift the skate oma and the paradigm around the word pandemic and turned into a pandemic of positivity. God knows the universe, the world needs it right now and it just like caught up. Yeah, it didn't just catch up. People wanted it. It was a tsunami of positivity in that I start seeing everyone taking the pledge. The pandemic of positive. Their profile photos have stuck you realize, I don't know if I'm sure you do, but if you don't, let me just point out the fact that of all the profile pictures that people have changed their profile picture to the pandemic of positivity pucks have remained consistent for the longest period of time. So I would say this is a this is a tremendous undertaking. You're right. I think the...

...world needs, needs needs more of this, and and so, you know, I'm just so delighted to know you and um to to feel of your heart and your your welcoming spirit. And I think that's why things like this take off and why people need to experience more positivity in their life. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you sir for joining me here on the dealer Playbook podcast. Oh, it's my pleasure. I love talking about what we can do together to impact, and you do a great job of that. So that's the reason I suggest to spending time with you is because of how you serve how you show up. And you're really one of the nicest guys I've met. So thank you for having me. I'm Michel Cirillo and you've been listening to the dealer Playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make big changes in your life and career and want to connect with positive, nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive DPB Pro community on facebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content that isn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks for listening.

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