As part of their long-term vision for a network training programme, Suzuki GB inducted their dealer network into a personal development programme in November 2022, across both 4W and 2W divisions. 
 
The course, named ‘Dealer Principals of the Future’, is designed for those individuals who have either recently been promoted to the ‘top job’, or hope to be given the opportunity in the next few years. 
 
The course commenced in November 2022 with primarily web-based activities. This involved the completion of 12 modules covering the ‘soft skills’ of management through The Red Thread, World Class Manager Programme 1. The cohort then undertook their World Class Manager 2 learning, which moved them to the next level in their personal development journey. 
 
All learning was supported with a series of online coaching hubs and several face-to-face gatherings for all those undertaking the courses. This culminated in a final graduation day for all the successful participants in April 2024. 
 
The World Class Manager Programmes are not aimed specifically at the motor industry but cover all aspects of management development for middle to more senior leaders. They cover all aspects of the core skills required for the development of current and future managers. 
One of our successful participants would like to share his journey with us. William Blackshaw, Dealer Principal of family business Blackshaws Dealer Group had the following to say: 
 
Having recently experienced a really challenging period within our business, I have, without realising it, found myself very focussed in attacking these scenarios with an extremely positive attitude. 
 
I genuinely don’t believe I would have managed this, had it not been for the training provided over the past 18 months. 
 
Specific examples of ways in which I have transferred some of the learnings into my day-to-day behaviours include the following: 
 
- This morning, I arranged a meeting with an agenda; previously I’d have said can we get together for a chat. The staff were able to attend with prior knowledge and many brought data and information pertaining to the meeting agenda. This made for a very productive conversation with a positive outcome. 
 
- We have a small project that I was trying to get off the ground. I was struggling to arrange a meeting with 3 staff members, so I took a step back and asked one person to lead the project. I advised the project lead of the outcome I was hoping for and asked that he arrange the necessary meeting. He went on to create a detailed plan with the other team members and he has now taken on full ownership and control. 
 
- I am working on a larger, long-term project which is quite important to the future of our business. We have had one to one meetings with each of our staff members to explain what this project is about. I have found that the staff have appreciated my openness, now understand the goal and are collectively working together to achieve the result. 
 
- I recently found myself asking a staff member a question. He replied, so I asked another question and kept asking more. Without noticing, I was coaching him around what I was asking. Again, the outcome was the right one. 
 
I just wanted to thank you for such excellent training. 
 
During our face-to-face training sessions, I asked the question “am I good enough?”. If I were facing the issues I am currently facing, this time last year, I know I would have curled up, hidden from the reality, sulked, moaned and felt sorry for myself... today I am tackling these issues head on and with confidence. 
 
Thank you for your support and for helping me to develop the skills which are making a huge difference to my daily working life! 
William Blackshaw, Dealer Principal, Blackshaws 
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