From Cars to Coaching: A Day in the Life at Zimbrick Automotive

July 17, 2019
MRA Edge
Strategic Planning
Read time: 3 mins

Running a car dealership with 16 franchises can be tricky, but MRA member Zimbrick Automotive seems to have it figured out. The successful company is based out of Madison, WI, employs more than 1,000 people, and has been in business since 1965.

So, when a valued employee of 27 years who has worked his way up the ranks needed to enhance his managerial skills, Zimbrick reached out to MRA for help.

“No matter how experienced executives are, they sometimes need help.” said Vikki Brueggeman, Director, HR.

“We have used MRA for years, they’re a known partner in our organization, so we thought we’d ask them for help with this manager. And we are glad we did.”

The goal was to help him learn how to better handle employee issues. He also needed to define boundaries and hold people accountable. Zimbrick has a very good, but small human resources team. They recognized that there are external experts out there to help, so they turned to MRA.  Kristie Haase, of MRA, was sent over to guide the process.

Zimbrick’s mission: To help customers with all their automotive needs by staying true to the company’s six core values:

  • Integrity
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Continuous improvement
  • Care, concern, and respect for employees
  • Responsible individual initiative
  • Strong relationships with our business partners and communities

    Night and Day

    The transformation was undeniable. “The coaching he received has completely turned around his department, his relationships with his employees are better and his confidence as a leader has grown leaps and bounds,” said Brueggeman. “He now utilizes HR resources when he should and knows it’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out.’”

    A big part of this success story is the fact that he was very coachable. He learned a lot about himself, like how he wasn’t managing situations but simply trying to smooth things over. While he didn’t want to be the heavy, this manager realized being nice doesn’t play out well all the time.

    “And then there was Kristie, she’s a fabulous coach. She knew our organization well and listened to what we needed,” said Brueggeman. “She put milestones in place, met with us regularly, followed up between meetings and set up the model we needed to move forward. The six-month coaching process has come to an end, but it’s not really over because he can call and consult with Kristie anytime.”

    As it turns out, coaching fits very well with one of Zimbrick’s core values, continuous improvement. And because of his coaching, this executive has improved his managerial skill set, making him a better leader.

    “If your organization is even thinking about coaching for an employee, just pick up the phone and call MRA,” said Brueggeman. “Traditionally, we thought of them as the go-to for leadership and HR training, but not for coaching. Looks like we all learned something new.”

      Source: Sue Piette, Writer

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