John Cragg, EVP (East)

Communication is the heartbeat of leadership.   Increasing our ability to communicate using digital tools in a virtual environment has been a game-changer.  We now work across markets and functions virtually and frequently to clarify expectations, quickly solve problems and collaborate on new opportunities, in a way that removes friction.  

We are also adapting faster than ever before to accommodate our customers.  Using video and communications platforms, we can interact with them in ways that are efficient for everyone and improve their experience with us.

Margaret Lane, VP, Human Resources (East)

I always join at the beginning of these because I do believe in this program. I love seeing how it’s grown. It’s something that if you just keep an open mind if you can just see the vision, it’s not something that’s going away, it’s something that we need to grow upon. 

The digital world is something that we need to adjust to and something that we need to embrace.

Rick Cardwell, General Manager of Gateway Toyota

I’ll be honest with you, when we first started this I was terrified of it. We have brand meetings in the easy monthly, and I wouldn’t even show my face – I would hide. But this forced me out of my shell, and it couldn’t have been at a better time. 

For one it’s now allowed me to hold accountability for our internet. We used to post zero videos. Now we’re sending videos to customers, our service technicians are required to send videos. We’ve embraced this at about every facet. Now 100% of our MORs are done (digitally). We use video all throughout our dealership. Our service techs are using video to communicate. I’ve held manager meetings through this process before I wouldn’t even have considered that. Now we use this process to monitor every touchpoint of the dealership. Our BDC…the last two grading periods, we’re one of the 3 out of 150 dealerships to get a perfect score. 


Matt Schnell, Director of Finance, East Madison Toyota

We need to recognize that our showroom doesn’t end at our front door, our lot doesn’t end at the curb. These digital tools allow us to grow our influence indefinitely. We need to recognize to unique opportunities this allows. If we walk through the showroom and see something wrong, we fix it. That’s how we need to operate with our digital presence. 

I think for me it’s not practical for me to visit 18 different stores, but digitally we can collaborate and we really haven’t been able to do that. What everyone needs to understand is that you don’t have to be perfect at it, you just have to do it. The ability of us to use these tools and collaborate…they’re all opportunities and ways for us to make ourselves better.


David Milcoff, Director of Service of Marin Honda

This class came upon me at really the right time and I was able to really expand my knowledge base. The confidence that this class gave me allowed me to go back and double down my efforts and try to figure out how to best impact the store as far as our ability to reach out to customers in sales and service but also internally. It allows us to contact anyone in the store at any time. 

Another thing that we discovered in our breakouts is that the amount of followers you have means everything. All of the content that I post, if nobody follows you then nobody will see it. So that’s something we’re still working on. But if you’re going to build your audience, you have to make 

One of the things that I hear back from our reception center is about how good and responsive we are (this is because of their usage of Teams). I’m not saying this to boast about Marin Honda, I’m saying there’s an opportunity out there to be responsive to our clients that are calling in, and Teams provides the platform we’re able to communicate back and forth and get an answer right away. Thirty seconds with a client on hold can feel like 10 minutes, so if we do not respond fast enough with our clients via our reception center there’s some serious opportunity with those people. And these are people who are actively reaching out to work with us.  And the Teams platform gives us the opportunity to increase our communication.

The other thing I’ll say is that Ideas and execution are going to take time. The first thing you’re going to do is set up a flawed system to get this stuff done, so let’s take the time to get our people what they need and set them up for success. 

The way that we can increase engagement is to utilize our team members to engage with our messages for us. Virtual advertising, virtual messaging, and virtual networking is like newspaper advertising 25 years ago. And costs significantly less if nothing. So this is a big deal.