CommentaryApr 20th, 2022

Ed Roberts on People, Self-Development, and Advice for New Leaders


As we began our research, it became apparent that this would not be a standard COO interview. Ed has successfully implemented human centric ideals which continue to translate into Bozard Ford Lincoln’s immense growth and recognition as one of the Top 100 Dealers to work for. 

As Ed prepares to share his insights at CXAUTO 2022, we wanted to meet the Leader who has grown the Dealership from 44 to 308 employees whilst continually giving credit to those around him.

Ed takes a seat and smiles, he shares that he has a great day ahead of him and by doing so, sets the tone for an open and personable conversation. What ensues is a whirlwind of golden nuggets, what feels like an exclusive TED Talk, if you will. 

Our Editorial Team would later spend time analysing and drawing together these pearls of wisdom. Careful not to miss a thing and with the goal of stringing it all together, we are honoured to share Ed’s insights on people, leadership, building teams and thriving through and beyond a global pandemic. 

Ed on Leading through a Pandemic:

  • In most cases, when Covid became a world-wide concern, people weren’t able to look beyond the pandemic, we all went into protection mode. At Bozard Ford Lincoln, we wanted to make sure that our people were ok first and foremost, make sure that they knew that we were going to take care of them. Beyond that, we wanted to make sure that everybody understood that there was another side to what was happening in the world.

Ed described their approach as reallocating resources to align to who they wanted to be when they came out of of it all, “we wanted to make sure we were making our Store better”. Approaching this from an entrepreneurial mindset, setting goals and finding a way to get there. 

Ed on Leadership:

  • Sometimes we think, as managers, that if someone does something wrong, we need to approach them head-on, but leadership is a lot like parenting, we need to encourage them to stand up and walk.

Ed on Self-Development and taking Ownership of your Personal Growth

  • Everyone of us are in a situation where we can make the most of what we have, we have to get locked in on what difference we can make.
  • You have to chase self-development, you will become recognised. Keep pushing, surround yourself by the right people, people that you can learn from. They may not be in your immediate surroundings but they are out there.

 Ed on Building Teams:

  • When a good team comes together, we enhance who we are as individuals.
  • Chemistry is the most important element, complimenting the team and representing the team surpasses all else.

 Ed on Building Trust and Loyalty amongst your Employees:

  • Learn the currency of your people, learn what is important to them and allow your people the flexibility to fit those priorities into their work life.
  • When we can enhance what is important to our employees, they will enhance what they do for us.

 Ed on Advice for New Leaders:

  • Know your people: understand what motivates your team, understand what is important to them, learn what they are going through, these all inform your approach.
  • Learn the strengths of individuals and consider those strengths in relation to the role that they fulfil within the Business. Understand what the five most important elements are in that role. Sometimes we learn that someone is really good, a “rockstar”, at three of those five things, whilst not necessarily excelling at the other two. We tend to focus on those two things, when what we should be doing, is pairing them with someone who is able to compliment them by being good at those other two things. By doing that, you will find that cohesion is created within the team, people will begin to engage in a way that compliments each other. 
  • Set Goals with your staff, everyone wants a goal to chase after. It allows you to praise them, to give you something to talk to them about, to have conversations that become a piece of the Business.
 “In a football game, if we are down seven points with two minutes to go, well if that clock wasn’t there, we are down by seven points but we have all day to catch up. The goal setting element is about giving your team something to chase after, but you have got to break it down to where it is relevant. A goal that someone wants to achieve at some point in their career, is not necessarily a goal that you want to set today. Make it relevant, make sure its obtainable, make it time bound and constantly talk about it."

As Ed celebrates his ten year anniversary with Bozard Ford Lincoln, we look forward with confidence. There is a future for human connection within the highly competitive automotive retail space, in fact, it may be what is driving it. 

See Ed live at CXAUTO2022 on the 14-16 June at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey, CA.

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