Podcast Ep. 83 – A Peak at Greatness

Larry Olsen January 4, 2022

In 2013, Tom Rudnai decided it was time to pursue ownership and in July 2014, Tom partnered up with the Oremor Automotive Group to purchase Temecula Valley Toyota. Tom is the managing partner and serves as the general manager of the dealership. Focusing on the feedback from all the employees of the former ownership, Tom emphasized structure, communication, direction, and culture. The employees quickly embraced the new organization’s vision and Temecula Valley Toyota quickly became the fastest growing Toyota dealership in the USA. Tom discusses the importance of developing your people, surrounding yourself with great ones and how work-life balance is much easier when you know what to control and what not to.  For more on Tom Rudnai: https://www.tvtoyota.com/


Larry Olsen: Welcome. I’m Larry Olsen, and what’s on your mind? Once set, it delivers your life. To change the outcomes we want, we must change the plays we’re running. Join us at Mindset Playbook with Real people – Real talk for Real insight.

Narrator: Today’s episode is sponsored by Aperneo, An Achievement Acceleration Company, whose approach to professional development enables clients to gain insights and perspectives to live, work, and engage with more success.


Larry Olsen [00:01:15] I want to first off welcome everyone to the great automotive experience, which is a series we started from Mindset Playbook, and we’ve had great, great listening listenership and wonderful comments on the value that people are finding from this and the inside. Look, they’re getting on. What a great organizations do to make a positive customer experience. And there’s so much bad press out there, especially involved in the automotive industry, and most of it is based on just a few. And so, I want to highlight those that are that are literally hitting over the fence of making the customer have that great experience. And as I have shared with you before, the great automotive experience is when the thrill of buying the car meets or exceeds that of ownership. So, it’s  a high bar, and I think you’ll find our guest today is more than capable of meeting and exceeding it. So let me start out today by sharing with you that my guest is Tom Rudnai and let me give you a little of his background. In 2013, Tom decided it was time to pursue ownership. And in July of 2014, he partnered up with the Aremor Automotive Group to purchase Temecula Valley Toyota. Tom is currently the managing partner and serves as a general manager of the dealership, focusing on the feedback from all the employees of the former ownership. Tom emphasized structure, communication, direction, and culture. The employees quickly embraced the new organization’s vision and Temecula Valley Toyota quickly became the fastest growing Toyota dealership in the country. Tom’s awards, by the way, are too long to list. But not only did his organizations accomplish Toyota’s most prestigious award, the president’s cabinet, which puts you in the top one percent of all Toyota dealerships, but also to round him out. Tom became the first Toyota dealer to win the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro Celebrity Race. And finally, Tom was appointed the inaugural Sportsman of the Year in 2008. So, we’re going to talk about what he does in his spare time. He’s in. I want to welcome you to the great automotive experience, Tom, and thank you for investing your time with us today.


Tom Rudnai [00:03:49] Thank you, Larry.


Larry Olsen [00:03:51] You’re more than welcome. Tom, of all the things you’ve accomplished through your illustrious life. What gives you the greatest sense of pride and why?


Tom Rudnai [00:04:01] Probably my three boys, they’ve all. All grown up now, they’re done with college. Two of them are currently working here at Temecula by Twitter, and they’ve grown up to be just incredible young men. And I take a lot of pride now because not it doesn’t come from me. It comes from everybody that works with them, friends with them. You know, they all say, what a wonderful man they’ve grown up to be. And I don’t think as a parent, and I think I speak for all parents out there; I don’t think you can have any more pride than people really bragging about your children and how well behaved they are and how well-mannered they are. Again, I think they’ve learned a lot of talk about culture and direction and structure. I try to do that in the house, too. The kids were growing up and when they’re old enough to realize what all that meant. I think they’ve grown up and taken a lot of heart to heart, which is which is great to see.


Larry Olsen [00:05:04] You know, being a parent is not the easiest thing for any of us to take on. And being as involved as you were in developing your career and creating a legacy so that your boys can ultimately take over. How did you manage that to be able to regulate some time to be part of their development?


Tom Rudnai [00:05:29] Well, that’s probably more challenging part of our business, because the hours are long weekends. I’ve always emphasized when I had the opportunity to imagine that work life balance is so important. And you only have one shot with your children because they grow up so quickly. And you know, they go from being born to, you know, leaving the house and going off to college. And, you know, typically when they come out of college, they they’re on their own and their time goes so fast. And you know, I always talked to a lot of our team members here that are new parents. So I go, Listen, you need to spend as much time with your kids as possible because they’re going to grow up and be out of the house quicker than, you know, and you’re going to not realize when the time went. So, we try to again try to emphasize that life work balance and I try to do that myself. We always try to talk, but obviously walking the walk is the most important part of it gives you that credibility.  And even though, you know, prior to buying the store here, I work at Longo and Lexus for 21 years. And you know, it was a challenging job when it came to putting a lot of time and effort into it. But I think the kids recognize that that hard work and effort, you know, obviously pay dividends. So, I think they respected that. But I also when I wasn’t working, I, you know, I really focused on the family. So, and I believe they recognize that quite a bit too.


Larry Olsen [00:07:00] You know, so many parents, unfortunately, are not as passionate about their work. It becomes a means to an end. And so, they can bring all that stress home and the family has the impact of it. I’m not going to put words in your in your mouth, but it seems like you love what you do. And if that’s the case, what difference do you think that makes with those long hours when you are home?


Tom Rudnai [00:07:30] Well, clearly coming home in a great mood makes a big difference, working on the job that you don’t really like, you’re not going to be happy. We always tell people, Listen, life’s too short if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Go, go find something you’re going to enjoy doing. Because ultimately, if you can wake up in the morning and actually look forward to going to work and enjoying the people you work with and work for the company you represent, then it’s really not a job. And again, I emphasize that with every, every person that I interview, young and old, that you got to like when you walk in here did it feel comfortable? The people you talk to align with your beliefs. And if you can’t answer yes and all that, you know, people looking for that job don’t just take the job because we’re going to offer you a job. Take the job because this is a place that you can call, and virtually call home. We spend more time at what we do than with our friends and family so not enjoying this, you’re not going to succeed. When you love what you do, you’re going to show that, and it’s going to give you opportunities to grow because you’re the type of person that company is going to want to keep long term.


Larry Olsen [00:08:37] Absolutely. And speaking of your associates, how important do you believe that their attitude is on their ability to be successful?


Tom Rudnai [00:08:48] Well, I can’t stress the importance of that enough. Know we really focus on finding the right people. Teamwork team chemistry is extremely important. And you know, quite frankly, every one of our team members, they are the face of the company, whether they like it or not, because the interaction on desktop with our team members is the perception they have of our company. So, we talk about that all the time with our team members, and they’re going to make or break the experience with our team. The perception they have of our company is that a well-run companies or friendly company and the way we’ve grown is by finding the right people, embracing our culture, working together, having that great team chemistry, and we focus on repeat referral business. And that’s really allowed us to grow quickly and sustainable growth as well.


Larry Olsen [00:09:44] I gotcha. I gotcha. You know, there are a lot of leadership styles when it comes to direction discipline. And none of us can get do the perfect selection when we’re when we’re looking for new people to come on board. We can have a great onboarding program and we can talk about our values and our culture. And then something can go a little south because we’re human and we’re not perfect. We may have the wrong attitude one day because of what’s going on at home. How have you folks found the best approach at dealing with those nuances that can occur before this individual collides with a customer?


Tom Rudnai [00:10:26] Communication is the key, I think, to any successful organization, if you have good communication or great communication with your team members, you know they’re having issues, they’re going to open up to you and they’re going to talk to you about it. And the more they talk to us about it, the more we can assist them. We may not know all the answers, but a lot of times just getting that off their chest is going to give them a lot of relief. Knowing that we’re here to listen to them, knowing that we care about them makes a big difference in their attitude. And I think a lot of times we can turn that around and, you know, I go back to finding the right people. And again, it’s not easy. We’re spending a half an hour an hour with each individual, and somebody could interview very well, but they may not be who they are down the road. We typically have four to five people interview every individual, me being the last. I think everybody, every position and I make the final decision. I’ll tell you we had a little one about a year and a half ago, two years ago where we were shorthanded with our technicians instead of just hiring, hiring anybody that wanted to interview and come on board. We decided that we’re going to wait to hire the right people. We’re not going to just hire a warm body just so we have enough people. And I literally wrote a letter to every one of our guests and basically saying, Listen, we apologize. We know the wait times longer than normal, but we’re having problems with staffing the right people. And yes, we can hire people today to have enough people to take care of you. But we want to hire the right people, so we’re going to take care of you the right way. And I got a lot of very positive feedback. And yes, that we eventually lose some people because the wait times were too long for a short period of time. We may have, but I think we also got a lot of people that became a lot more engaged with us being their dealership of choice and long-term customers. Everything we do today, we talk to our team members all the time. Everything we do today is all about tomorrow. So, we’re always thinking long term.


Larry Olsen [00:12:42] Yeah, and you just demonstrated how important it is to be transparent, which you were with the customers, because I think that’s endearing to people when people are authentic and they kind of like it is instead of faking it. You got everybody scrambling trying to do a great job and more accidents are happening then than positive things. So, I can see where you get kudos. And the people that didn’t come back were probably the type of customers you wanted to build relationships with anyway.


Tom Rudnai [00:13:11] We’re hoping they get back at a later date. We did. We do retain a very high number. We’re considered a single point dealership for Toyota. So, it’s a little bit different compared to most dealerships in the metro area where you can have several dealerships within a 10-mile radius. We don’t have a dealership within a 30-mile radius of us, so we have, we’re on a little bit of an island, so we have a little bit of an advantage when it comes to retaining our guest. But ultimately, you’ve got to do a great job because, you know, independent of the other three locations. There’s a lot of independents, you know, a lot of independent shops around us, so we can listen to those independent shops, which, you know, we try not to, and we try to focus on retention as much as we can. And by retaining our team members, it makes a lot easier to retain our guests as well because we’ve seen similar familiar faces and we have people that are really, you know, they embrace our culture, which makes a big difference.


Larry Olsen [00:14:06] So, so let’s talk about the, So what? Who cares? What difference does it make? Why on earth would I want to buy a car from your organization?


Tom Rudnai [00:14:17] Well, again, it comes down to people I can’t stress out enough, you know, you’re going to be dealing with people that are friendly, that are knowledgeable, that are looking out for your best interests. They understand the long-term benefits of making sure that guest has a very positive experience because they are getting a lot of repeat referral business as well. We don’t have a lot of turnover here, so our salespeople are getting a lot of repeat business because they’ve been here for quite a while. And, you know, you can’t put a dollar amount on that. So independent of that, you know, we have very good processes. You talked about transparency. We’re very transparent even in this very, very hot market where many, many dealerships are charging all very much our fee. We’re still at MSP. We will never charge over MSP. We’ll put some product on the vehicle and charge additional for those products. But we’re not we’re not going to gouge people, you know, we’re not going to charge them $5000 for a for $100 add on. We’re always going to be fair, and I think people realize that. And if they do shop around and see that a lot of dealerships around us are charging four, five, six, seven thousand dollars just for market conditions, we’re not doing that. They may have some product on it, but they’re getting added value. You know, people tend to feel better about that.


Larry Olsen [00:15:35] Absolutely. And especially when their lease up lease is up in three years, correct? And they’re not upside down, right? Right. So that’s definitely a long-term vision to be in a situation where you could, but it goes against your values. And I think that’s where it really separates you from a lot of other organizations out there is you folks know what you stand for. Yes. And again, what do they say if you don’t know what you stand for, you fall for everything. So, I wanted to ask you. I’ve had a lot of dealer clients in my career, and I I’ve always seen interesting things happen when dealers, sons come into the organization and not so much because the dealers, sons have some kind of the expectation that they’re privileged or they, you know, they’re the son of the owner, and I should be treated differently. But the perception that’s created from the other associates and that’s almost too similar to the perception it’s created by the customer of that. All you’re going to want to do is get my money and you are certainly breaking that down to know we’re going to give you value. And people are willing to pay for value. How have you gone about making sure that? Your young men blended in well and kind of just there was a perception we were able to break it.


Tom Rudnai [00:17:13] Well, let me take a step back. Working for Longo, I worked for Greg Penske, Son of Roger Penske, one of the hardest working individuals that I’ve ever worked with and work for. And that being Greg and Roger obviously is an extremely hard-working individual as well. So clearly, you didn’t take that for granted that he’s earned everything he’s got. And then some, now partnered up with RJ Romero, whose father was in the business. I believe they had four dealerships RJ. Unfortunately, his father passed away. RJ took over and he’s now going into a 17 dealership, argued, Wow. Very respected, very hardworking, very humble. So, I’ve had the opportunity to work for two people that have had an ability to take, you know, get into a business that their parents had started and built up. And I believe that has taken it to another level. With my children, they went off to college. They did work for me over the summer, but I had them start off washing cars and then they worked as greeters in the service drive. And they worked in the service cashier area and doing some of the paperwork in the back office. And then once they finished college, I allowed them to sell it, start selling cars. And all three of them have done extremely well in sales and then they all work individually. And then they all left and ended up doing other things and having just recently came back because they decided that they did like the business. I’ve actually had them work at other dealerships prior to working here too, so they had a taste of what it what it felt like working for another dealership and how that dealership was run and the culture and all that stuff. And then they came back here and realized that this is really they love the culture. They love the way the dealership was run. And again, they’ve started off in sales, but they’ve done extremely well there. There are two of the hardest working salespeople at the dealership. You know, they’re very fair. They ask a lot of questions, and they know that they’re going to have to work their way up to the next level. You know, we’re not going to we’re not going to give them anything. Yeah. I think because of that, I think because of the potential perception, and I believe that they work harder than most because they want to prove themselves at this point, it hasn’t hurt them at all. And I think they’ve got the respect from not only the managers, but all the salespeople that they work with.


Larry Olsen [00:19:54] Oh, that’s fantastic. Great to hear that. Great to hear that. Because you never know what kind of an answer you’re going to get.


Tom Rudnai [00:20:03] Right? Right. Well, they do not. I call them if they want to move out. So we have we have a kind of a unique scenario. We have a sales team that has a closer look for the newer salespeople. Then we have a straight sales team, including internet, and they get paid a little bit more money. And both my sons are on the closure team, even though they’re selling a lot of cars. But I you’re going to have to work here for a while until you really prove that you close your deals and then we’ll put you on the straight sales team and then you’ll be up the internet. And then, you know, if you prove yourself there, then you’re potentially going to finance, but you’re going to have to take the steps that everybody else has taken. You’re going to have to earn every opportunity you get. And they realize that and it’s going to end, and they know it’s going to take time and it’s not going to happen overnight. They’re going to have to work for them. They both work for a while here now in sales, and we still haven’t given the ability to move in a straight sale yet, and we probably won’t for a while.


Larry Olsen [00:20:59] Yeah. Yeah. Very nice. Very nice. So let me ask you this. You’ve got a great thing going on, but what keeps you up at night?


Tom Rudnai [00:21:10] Well, probably this pandemic is not helping very much. I mean, it’s become, you know, now was on for now. We’re, you know, we’re getting four or five people out sick every day. It’s the symptoms are the same as the common cold right now, the flu. But clearly, we’re, you know, we’re being safe and we’re telling people we got to go get tested. And, you know, obviously they should take time off until they’re feeling better. So obviously hurting our brains, especially on the server side, when we get four or five technicians, a couple in a sense, go out and work to take care of the gas. And we again, we’ve got to communicate that to the guests that we’ve had several people call out. It may take a little longer than anticipated. So. So that’s been a challenge. But the thing more than anything else is finding good people that work for us. It’s a challenge. We were awarded an open point Lexus store. You see the picture over my shoulder here that is being built right now. We’re going to be opening in mid-February as long as everything goes smoothly from here to there. But does the anticipated open day and we’re going to take some people from Toyota and bring them to Lexus, but we also have to hire some people on the outside. We’ve hired somebody as big a challenge, especially entry level people hiring some of those people right now. We have so many people that are going to fill out an application. They have they have an interview set up, and I’d probably tell you 40% of the people don’t even show up for the interview until they think, you know, there’s a lot of 70-page application or they’ll interview with two people or three people or them when it comes to interviewing me, and they don’t show up for that. So, I’m blown away. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s just a situation we’ve never encountered, and I’m not quite sure why, but it’s happening right now. So, our biggest challenges and it keeps me up at just finding good people representing our company and obviously keeping people healthy right now is a big challenge. And just keeping people safe. Yeah, the big challenges that we have right now, I wouldn’t say it keeps me up at night, but you know, those are things that are probably the most concern.


Larry Olsen [00:23:24] You bet. You bet. And what is what is it about you? Do you think? And where did where did it stem from? I kind of want to peel the onion a little bit and get to know you a little better. Have you always been driven? Were you the three-year-old who was kind of running the neighborhood or?


Tom Rudnai [00:23:47] I was I think I was somewhat more you; we came from very humble beginnings, and I’ve always looked up to and admired all the all the friends that I had going up to. You know, they got things that you know, you’d always want as a kid, but your parents couldn’t afford. You know, I grew up in Toronto, Canada, where I was and still am a huge Maple Leaf fan. But when we went to a game which was maybe once every three years, I was sitting in the top row and the players looked like they were ants, they looked tiny and the old Maple Leaf Gardens and I remember, you know, looking down and going, wow, how lucky is that kid to be sitting on the glass? I would do anything to be that kid, and you know, quite frankly, sports was a big part of my upbringing. And I’m just wired that way. I was always wired to want to be the best, and I would do anything I could to be the best. I played a lot of sports. I was a football player and a wrestler -a little bit of college. I was a swimmer and growing up, a soccer player, a baseball player and swimmer. I did swimming at a pretty high-level, I swam with the Olympic team. I never went to the Olympics however, that’s a whole different story. But what I did was I swam with the team, so it was a huge commitment. Swimming was two times a week, Monday to Friday and every weekend and traveling all over the country swimming. I always wanted to be the best and I wasn’t the biggest, I wasn’t the strongest, I was 5’ 10” in high school, one hundred and sixty five pounds soaking wet. So. I was the first one to practice. I was the last one to leave. I was a wide receiver, so I’d have my quarterback throw to me and stay after or for recess. We throw footballs and on weekends we go meet in a park and throw passes and get our timing down. So, I did whatever I could to be a starter and to be a force out there. I think a lot of that translated into business where I’ve always been a very competitive person and I put in the effort to get the results that I wanted. Again, my father wasn’t like that, my mom wasn’t like that. I think you’re just wired that way, Larry. I really don’t know anything else other than I was wired that way. I’ve always been that way and are still that way today. If we’re doing anything, I want to beat you.


Larry Olsen [00:26:23] Okay? I look forward to that. I’m always up for a challenge. I, you know, as someone driven like yourself, there’s a belief system that gets developed inside of you and it becomes a driver. The you know, and it seems to me like you’re the kind of guy that like to win, but maybe not at the expense of someone else. You know, and it was just hard work and being the last one to leave in the first one to arrive. What have you been able to do to help instill that in in the individuals that work with you and associate with you?


Tom Rudnai [00:27:11] Well, I think again, walking the walk is probably the main thing, so leading by example, I think is the most important thing. All three of my boys were three sport athletes in high school and again when I came home from work, we’d go whatever sport they were playing, we’d go out and practice for two three hours. And I’ve always told them, Listen, you got to what you do at school practice with your team, you know, that’s great, but you got to do a lot more before and after, when you’re not there at practice, if you want to get to that next level. There are all three great athletes, but they weren’t wired like I am. So, you know, they didn’t really care as much as I did as far as taking it to the next level. They were just naturally gifted athletes, and I was fine with that. It’s hard to really teach those things you can, and you can show them, you can talk about it but if somebody is not wired that way, they’re going to put a lot of effort in. But who knows where they get, how far they want to take it and how much how hard they want to work to get there? Yeah, I think that’s the point where, again, that I always talk about, you know, that people are wired a certain way. I think to put myself in there in the same category. But when you look at the, you know, the Michael Jordan’s and the Kobe Bryant, again, they’re great athletes, but they’re also wired to where they did whatever it took, so they could win so they could be the best because they knew what they became complacent. There’s going to be somebody else. I came, came out of college or wherever, and they’re going to blow right by them. So. And there were they didn’t want that to happen. They wanted to still be the person and they did whatever it took. And you know, again, Tom Brady’s the same way. Hmm. Michael, do you look at all the greats in their respective sports or just why are different way? No, not that they’re talking. Not that they’re arrogant. They just they just want to win, and they’ll do whatever it takes to win in a good way.


Larry Olsen [00:29:12] Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I’m in the culture business and I’m in the vision business and I come from neuropsychology, which is basically helping people understand how they think and how the brain processes information so that they can make internal changes as opposed to having changes imposed upon them, which we generally reject. And one of the most powerful things, and I hear you talking about it, which all people can have, which can change their drive because we’re kind of talk in nature nurture a little bit too. And I get the genetic side of it and naturally driven. But you’re talking a lot about vision. You’re talking about the importance of having something greater than self that you’re aspiring to, or you run out of gas or the first setback. You know, you’re out and people that go through this 70-page pamphlet questionnaire to get on board and don’t show up, you know, there is a lack of vision there. And I think that what I’m what I’m getting from you is your company is all about vision, your company is all about, I mean, that picture is a vision over your shoulder and now it’s become a reality as of February. And now you will have people in there that will make it magnificent. And so, you, to me, are a visionary. Tom, you’re someone who you know whether it was imposed upon you or I want to sit next to the glass instead of up here where I can hardly see the game, but I’m grateful that I’m at the game, right? That that’s something that I think you just naturally instill in people. And if you’re not, you’re not doing more of it, you need to do more of it. And finding out what those visions are of those individuals, you know, what are they aspiring to? And I’m not saying you don’t, but just talking with you. It’s kind of electric. It’s made. There’s a there’s a charisma there.


Tom Rudnai [00:31:19] Well, thank you, Larry, that’s awfully kind of you.


Larry Olsen [00:31:22] Well, it’s the truth. And I think anybody listening has picked it up as well. Is you? Your guy wakes up in the morning, is looking forward to the day rather than it in the snooze alarm, you know, even though you might be exhausted, right? So, what would you? You know, the 30 minutes goes by so fast and we’re just starting here, but we got a lot of people out there that that are attempting to be the best version of themselves as they can be. And what do you cut? What would you share with them that they can be maybe thinking a little bit about in and all that’s going on around them? You know, I’m going to cry now, you name it. And after a while, people are like, “are we done yet?” And the reality is no. But how do we handle it? You know, we don’t tuck in a fetal position, right? Put our thumb in our mouth and don’t come to work. But what advice or words of wisdom would you share with people who were maybe just a little stuck or a little tired?


Tom Rudnai [00:32:25] Well, I think the main thing was when I first got the opportunity to become a general manager at Longo Lexus and then became president for both Toyota and Lexus. I hung on to things a lot. I went home and it was still, luckily, I had about an hour and half drive each way, so I got to unwind quite a bit. Even when I was sleeping, I was always thinking about work and doing this and doing that. And I finally got to the realization I can only do so much, and I can only control so many things and the things that I can’t control, I shouldn’t worry too much about the things I can’t do today, I shouldn’t worry too much about it or get to it tomorrow. And empowering other people around me where I don’t try to do everything on my own and that’s clearly only going to happen is if you surround yourself with great people and people that you can trust. And I’ve been fortunate enough to do that. I was fortunate to have great people with me at Longo and here at Temecula Valley Toyota will have that at the Lexus store we tend to promote from within as much as we possibly can, which is probably 90 percent of the time.  And you know, again, I go back to, you know, the structure that we’ve created, the direction, the communication, and the culture. And when I have a team members that are all embracing that, it makes my life a lot easier. It makes my job a lot easier where I can let go a lot more than I have in the past where I know that. The team members that we have are going to do the right thing. They’re going to do the things that are going to get us in any trouble, that we’re going to maintain the relationship that we’ve, you know, that we’ve built up in this community. And I think that it’s very comforting and I don’t go. It took a while, Larry. But you know, I got to the point where when I was driving home from work at Longo. I went home with a very clear mind, and I got to focus on the children and my wife, and I came to work and then I focused on work when I was there. And again, it took a long time. You know, again, I’m working with Greg Penske. I learned a lot from him. He’s a phenomenal businessman and a phenomenal individual. And, you know, working with Toyota and Lexus is just an amazing organization and working at long of all those years as their number one dealer. I got to spend a lot of quality time with all the executives throughout the years, and they’re all amazing people and I got to learn from a lot of amazing people, and I just was a sponge for a lot. And I continue to be a sponge and learn from people, and you take the best out of people, and you take that and you make it your own. And then the things that you don’t like you, obviously, you make sure you don’t do those things because it just upsets other people around you. So, I think those were things that really made me a much better person and a much better manager in a much better leader where I think people now trust my leadership and they’ll do the things because everything that we’ve done that we said we were going to do, we’ve done. And quite frankly, it’s what we said we’re going to do because the team came together so strongly, and we continue to do that. You know, there’s a there’s a Japanese term Kaizen, which we really taken to heart where it really means there’s no bass, there’s only better. So, there’s, you know, there is that never ending improvement. So, no matter how well we do, we always feel there’s more. I’ll give you a quick example that long ago. We ended up our best month, we retail new cars, twenty-seven hundred ten in cars, I remember when we broke two thousand for the first time I was with Yoshi Inaba, who at that time was Chairman for both Toyota and Lexus North America. And we were at a function for Toyota, and we just came off our best month ever. I think we sold seven, seventeen hundred and ten new cars. And we’re having a wine just, you know, everybody was mingling. And he said, tell him, I can’t believe you didn’t sell two thousand. You know what would happen. You got weak on me. So, I said, we can do 20. And I said, how about a little challenge? Yoshi said. Should I go? Well, listen, let’s wait for a five week and next year. Which was which was made as a five for weeks and months. I said we do 2000 new cars retail along with Toyota, and we have a party at your house. He lived in the Toyota Corporate House in Palos Verdes, is beautiful house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He said, You’re on. I said, well, but all of our sales staff and they get to bring their spouses because to me, it was important to always include a significant other beautiful and so long story short, we ended up hitting the two thousand. And so as soon as we did that, I said, you know, we can drive. Great job. We saw that night next day, OK? Our next goal, we got to get the twenty-two hundred and then the twenty-five hundred and then twenty-seven hundred was the next challenge show. And then after that it was, you know, we’re focused. We’re going to focus on hitting 3000 new cars in one month retail. But then the economy kind of took a hit. And, you know, we obviously never got to that three thousand. I ended up leaving to take this opportunity shortly after that. But you know, these challenges just, you know, again, having these visions of taking this to next level one and breaking it down to where each individual had to do a certain amount of cars per month, we got their buy in. So, we broke it down where it was very doable. It was, you know, think that we looked at and said, we can do this. You know, we all everybody believes when you get everybody believing a lot easier to accomplish your goals.


Larry Olsen [00:38:32] Beautiful. Well, that was. Thank you so much for sharing that that. Very inspirational, the power of setting the vision and then, as you said, breaking it down, so people actually recognize that we can do this stuff. Now you don’t have people fighting against it. You have people all embracing it and they get that synergy. Time has flown. My friend and I thank you so much for taking your time out of your very busy schedule. I want to thank our listeners and all the things that you could be listening to. You’ve chosen to spend your time with us. And for that, we’re both very grateful. And I beg your pardon.


Tom Rudnai [00:39:14] I just want to say thank you very much for having me on your show.


Larry Olsen [00:39:17] Well, you’re more than welcome. And with that being said, everyone remember, that wherever you are in life right now, no matter what’s going on, you’re exactly where you need to be. And it’s all about vision, and it’s all about the choices you’re going to make. So, get the vision, make the right choices, and love your life. Thank you so much. Take care.


Tom Rudnai [00:39:37] Happy New Year.


Narrator: Thank you for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, we ask that you please subscribe and share with your friends and associates.  Join us for Larry’s next guest, Dr. Jonathan Baktari (pronounced Bauk-tar-ie).  Dr. Baktari is a healthcare CEO, a vaccine and COVID-19 expert, and a physician with specialties in internal, pulmonary, and critical care medicine. He and his team at e7 Health, specialize in preventative medicine, vaccinations, and testing for viruses. In short, Dr.  Baktari was an expert on COVID, before COVID even existed. Make a date with this one, because it couldn’t be better timing.




TOM RUDNAI-graphic

Sign up for our insight-driven NEWSLETTER T.I.P. "The Inside Perspective”

The Inside Perspective offers insights for achieving more of what you want in life and work through bi-monthly T.I.P.’s, articles, and videos.