Problem Management: Learn From a Children’s Book

The funny thing about professional wisdom is that it can come from even the least likely of sources—for example, children’s stories.

We both have kids, so we’re very familiar with the humorous or even cutesy nature of these stories. But the truth is that kids’ books are usually meant to teach, so it isn’t all that surprising that you might even be able to learn something about running your dealership and dealing with problem management from one.

Take the Winnie-the-Pooh series, for instance. There’s a rather iconic scene at the beginning of the first book where Christopher Robin is walking down a stairway, and trailing behind him is his teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, bumping the back of his head on each step as he descends the stairs.

For the bear, this is the only way of going down the stairs—bump, bump, bump—but he often feels like there must be a better way, if only he could stop the bumping long enough to think of it.

Do you ever feel like the bear bumping his head down the stairs? Like you get so caught up in fixing the small, day-to-day problems that you don’t have time to move the mountains that stand in the way of your dealership’s growth, bigger profits, and better customer satisfaction? It’s a common conundrum in dealerships across the nation.

The CEOs of dealerships are usually essential in fixing any problems their businesses face, whether that means putting out small fires or moving big mountains. And in small businesses, CEOs are usually required to be involved in the most critical large projects. Without their approval, insight, and wisdom, projects don’t get completed.

So how can you stop bumping your head by having to put out all the small fires, and make time to attack the big rocks of moving mountains for your dealership? It’s actually simpler than you might think.

The main way to accomplish this is to move away from the “do now!” strategy that is required for handling crises. You won’t ever have the time to move the big rocks out of your way if you’re always putting out little fires. But if you move to a process where you schedule time devoted to planning, preparation, progression, and prevention, you’ll quickly notice that the small fires will decrease in severity and frequency, reducing the time you spend dealing with them.

To do this, our No. 1 tip is to create weekly plans, not just daily to-do lists, and block time for these important tasks. Get away from interruptions and dedicate some serious brainwork to removing the causes of the smaller problems instead of combating the individual problems themselves.

You can stop hitting your head against the wall, Pooh Bear, but only if you devote time to it when you aren’t distracted by the everyday dilemmas that materialize.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers, and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1507.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller


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