When it comes to compliance, the ultimate responsibility lands squarely in the laps of the dealer principal and general manager. While everyone on the team plays a role – insuring they are owning compliance in their department – the culture of compliance is created at the top. But how do you set the tone?
The first step is to clearly communicate that compliance matters. Every dealer principal and general manager should have some level of compliance training. Even if you have a compliance manager, you need to have a general knowledge of the rules and regulations. Otherwise, how will you know if your team is performing correctly? And, when the auditor knocks on the door, it will be the GM’s door – not the compliance manager’s desk. There are several training courses available for upper-level managers that cover the details you need.
Frequently, dealer principals believe they can simply send their people to compliance training, giving them sufficient protection from personal liability. “If someone screws up – it’s on them” is an often repeated phrase. In fact, this simply is not true. Dealer priorities are team priorities. If the dealer principal or general manager has no focus on compliance, then neither will the team. Dealers who make compliance a priority will run a compliant dealership.