Buoyant Mazda puts people at the centre of attention

Mazda leaders draw inspiration from Britain’s 1991 world championship 4×400 metre relay team

Britain’s 1991 world championship 4×400 metre relay team of Roger Black, John Regis, Derek Redmond and Kriss Akabusi are sharing their experiences in change management and performance improvement to help develop Mazda leaders at a dealership level as part of a new integrated approach to learning and development by the Japanese marque.

The first step on this new approach is the launch of two new programmes designed to put its people right at the heart of its success. The programmes are New-to-Mazda, a brand immersion event designed for new dealer staff and People@Mazda, a leadership development program for dealership management teams. The course is designed to help mentor leaders within the dealerships and communicate key leadership messages.

They come at a time when Mazda sales are growing well ahead of the industry, with September being 45 per cent up year on year, resulting in the last six months being 30 per cent up.

Both courses are run by Mazda UK’s renowned Academy which is responsible for training all staff including workshop technicians. The first course, New-to-Mazda, is a day-long brand immersion course for new dealer staff and is described by Mazda UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson as a “complete immersion in the Mazda brand.”

New-to-Mazda is inspired from best practice brand engagement from outside the automotive sector. Mazda believes its short, intensive day course serves a similar purpose in much less time, equipping new dealer staff with the knowledge, confidence and passion for the brand to talk to customers in an engaging way.

The day-long course focuses on the Mazda product range with extensive driving on the Donington race circuit, providing new staff, both sales and after-sales, with an insight into Mazda’s history and is designed to improve advocacy and loyalty within the brand.

The leadership development program; People@Mazda uses Britain’s 1991 world championship 4×400 metre relay team of Roger Black, Kriss Akabusi, John Regis and Derek Redmond to help mentor leaders within the dealerships.

People@Mazda has been designed to make sure that Mazda’s industry-leading SKYACTIV models are matched by advanced leadership capabilities within the dealer network. It has been successfully piloted with three dealer groups and is due to be rolled out across the 136 strong network in four waves with 35 dealer management teams taking part every six months.

The leadership development programme complements New-to-Mazda and is designed to focus on how the management team at each dealership coach and develop their staff to improve performance. The Mazda Academy believes it will be recognised as one of the most innovative of its kind in the automotive industry due to its bespoke nature and approach to individual dealer needs.

“However much we progress as a company with our technological advancements, our most important resource is and always will be our people. It is therefore only right that we equip them with the skills to take that next step, with every dealer being uniquely different, People@Mazda recognises those differences and seeks to enhance them whilst providing a foundation of Mazda DNA,” said Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director of Mazda UK.

“People@Mazda is just at the start of an exciting and creative journey during which it aims to break free of all the traditional rules of training and development in the automotive industry and create something truly unique,” he said.