LC2020
Features March/April 2020

2020 Leadership Conference—Fostering a Culture of Growth and Innovation

What does it mean to foster a culture of growth and innovation? That question (and theme) was at the heart of the annual Leadership Conference of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies this past January. Senior managers and guests from the different enterprise groups engaged in a week of discussions and training sessions devoted to innovation and growth. Each day’s conference was emceed by a member of the Miller family. The conference kicked off with a look back at the accomplishments and milestones of the previous year as well as videos crafted around the conference theme. The entire week of training and discussion can be viewed below.


RECOGNIZING LEADERSHIP, HARD WORK, AND STEWARDSHIP

One of the highlights of each year’s conference is recognizing individuals and entities for their leadership, example, and accomplishments. The Page One Column One Award recognizes the dealership that is working on all cylinders during the year to generate the most net income relative to its gross profit. At the close of 2019, several dealerships were in a position to win the award, which speaks volumes about the hard work and stewardship taking place every day in our dealerships and is an indicator of the quality of leadership in place. Ty Leuthold and the employees of LHM Subaru Boise took home the prize. Well done, BSU!

Conference attendees also took time to recognize an individual who exemplifies and promotes the core values of the LHM Group and leads through consistent example and deliberate teaching opportunities. The 2020 Leadership Excellence Award was presented to Don Stirling, executive vice president for LHMSE and Utah Jazz. Congratulations, Don.


THE NINE MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTES OF THE LHM GROUP

“There are key attributes that make us special as an organization,” Greg Miller said as he began his presentation, referring to the time-proven characteristics that make us who and what we are as a company. These attributes and characteristics foster loyalty from customers, employees, and strategic partners, and set us apart from other organizations: 1. Family owned; 2. Our business is a means to an end; 3. Quality/tenure of our leadership; 4. Humility; 5. Good, timely decisions; 6. Keeping good company; 7. Financial strength; 8. Continuous improvement; 9. Our reputation.


LESSONS LEARNED AT LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

Tyler Wardle, vice president of membership sales and service for the Jazz, shared key insights and perspectives through his experience as a salesperson, general manager, being a member of the Miller family, and his current role within the Jazz organization. “I learned how important protecting and promoting our culture is to the company’s continued growth and success,” Ty shared. “Innovation is woven into the fabric of the Larry H. Miller Group, and it is that culture and drive that will lead our company into the future.”


CREATING A CULTURE OF INCLUSION, GROWTH, AND INNOVATION

CEO Steve Starks began his remarks by reflecting on some of the key achievements and efforts of individuals and entities during the previous year, with an emphasis on culture, willingness to change and adapt, and years of hard work and dedication. “As a new CEO, I have been asked on a few occasions what my vision for the organization is moving forward,” Steve began. “While I certainly have a vision for what this organization is and what it can continue to become, I have the good fortune of transitioning into this role with the organization being on an incredibly strong foundation.” He shared leadership moments he learned working alongside Gail Miller and the Miller family and encouraged the attendees to lead in creating a culture that is inclusive, a culture of growth, and a culture of innovation.


A BRIGHT PAST AND INNOVATIVE FUTURE

Gail Miller, owner and chair of the LHM Group, concluded the conference with a stirring call for those gathered (and employees across the enterprises) to look for the positive and find ways to lift up one another. “Our company culture is special and differentiates us from other organizations and from the competition. We must treasure and protect it. Our culture allows us to move forward in a values-based way to better care for our customers and employees, and in so doing, making our communities better.” Gail shared that we can’t mandate change or how it happens. But we can (and must) create the right conditions where growth and innovation are encouraged. “A culture of innovation energizes and inspires; it creates endless opportunities for growth and change.”


INSPIRATION AND IDEAS FROM INSIDE AND OUTSIDE EXPERTS

Listening to experiences found within the Group as well as calling on insights from industry experts are hallmarks of the education that takes place at Leadership Conference.

HOW CULTURE FEEDS GROWTH AND INNOVATION

Amanda Covington, chief communications and government affairs officer, moderated a panel discussion that included Steve Miller, Steve Starks, Kasey Webster (MUR), Chris Barney (JAZZ), and BJ Vander Linden (MMC). The group represented leaders from around the organization, and they discussed how the right culture and environment can fuel innovation and personal development.


GUEST SPEAKER: BETH COMSTOCK

Storyteller, marketer, optimist, futurist, and author of the best-selling book Imagine It Forward, Beth Comstock shared her insights from three decades working in media and marketing and most recently as vice chair of innovation at General Electric. Among the insights discussed, Beth shared this: “The world will never be slower than it is now. To thrive in today’s world, every one of us has to make change and innovation part of our job.”


GUEST SPEAKER: NICHOLAS WEBB

“The best organizations in the world deliver exceptional experiences to their customers, and they’re doing this by building organizational cultures that put the customer first,” was the thought Nicholas Webb used to kick off his presentation. A world-renowned strategist, best-selling author, and futurist, Nicholas discussed how culture and values provide roadmaps for employees and help our organization stand out in a competitive landscape and deliver on what customers crave.


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