Investing in the future is essential to the longevity and overall success of your dealership. This investment often leads to a larger market share, customers that become more familiar, and a chance for your organization to grow. As the leading industry association, AED does not face the same challenges or external market pressures that our dealerships face on a regular basis; however, we too are faced with the recurring question, “What is next?”
AED is faced with ensuring that we as your association continue to offer more and strive for continuous improvement in the programs already offered, all while ensuring that these programs and materials are fulfilling your demands as a construction or agriculture equipment distributor or manufacturer. This is what has kept AED growing strong over the past 100 years and counting. When making a key investment, you often plan for your return on investment to be seen at a time to be determined. In the same way, AED continues to invest with a long-term strategy to ensure that the demands of the equipment distribution industry will be met both today and in the future.
Workforce development is a phrase often tossed around in the industry, especially when discussing growth strategies, a key pillar of The AED Foundation’s mission and one that both AED and The AED Foundation are focusing on and investing a significant amount of time in. The term “workforce development” is often synonymous with recruiting and developing technicians, but it is much more than that.
The one thing that most industries struggle with, including the equipment distribution and manufacturing industry, is how to develop and train the next generation of managers and leaders. AED understands this challenge and recognizes its importance, and therefore has taken steps under the guidance of the Emerging Leaders Council to help solve this critical issue faced by our members.
The Emerging Leaders Council serves as a peer group made up of 20 people that will each be taking a senior leadership role within their company over the next couple of years. This group is tasked with advising AED on the development of its Leadership Conference; but more importantly, they serve as a noncompetitive sounding board for the next generation of dealership executives. In addition to the annual conference and biannual in-person meetings, the members of this committee rotate to host monthly calls to discuss areas of improvements that their dealerships are facing or to explore opportunities for growth. Some of the topics that have been covered this year include the use of social media and its impact on cold calling, online sales, and how to retain star employees. Under the guidance of the Emerging Leaders Council, the attendees at this year’s Leadership Conference will be exploring ways to stay motivated during times of hardship and to stay on top of their game.
Attendees will also develop an understanding of the power of presence and the practice of engaging, listening, suggesting and asking. Providing critical feedback is often a challenge for new and emerging leaders; during the conference attendees will be put to work mastering the art of being an effective messenger, especially during times of tribulation.
Investing in the future of your company includes allocating attention and dollars to technology. Leaders are often tasked with driving innovation. During a technology panel, attendees will learn what technologies are available and how to leverage them to improve their bottom line.
If your company is ready to invest in the next generation of leaders, I look forward to seeing you at the AED Leadership Conference, August 27-29 in Santa Rosa, CA.