Embracing 3 Essential Principles Learned in the Face of Challenges 

To say I was unprepared to be a General Manager of a struggling RV Dealership in 2009 would be a vast understatement! I found myself amid a firestorm of challenges, with the flames seeming unquenchable.

Becoming a leader in any capacity without proper preparation can be overwhelming. As a young leader facing numerous challenges, I sought guidance from a trusted mentor. Through our conversations, I discovered two invaluable principles that have since become foundational to my leadership style. Additionally, reaching out to the previous owner of the dealership revealed a third important principle, providing me with direction and confidence.

In this article, I will share these three principles that have shaped my approach to leadership, helping me achieve remarkable results. 

What do you do when the opportunity ahead is daunting?

Harness the Wisdom of Past Success: 

When faced with challenges, exploring proven strategies that have yielded success in the past is essential. By connecting with the previous owner, who led the dealership to the top of the market, I discovered the immense value of intentionality.

High-performers are deliberate in their actions, and their achievements stem from purposeful decision-making. By learning from their experiences, we can gain invaluable insights and apply them to our own leadership journey. 

Takeaway: Seek out the best in your field and learn from their expertise. Success doesn’t care whose idea it was! 

Build Your Inner Circle: 

Thinking like an owner means recognizing the importance of building a strong inner circle of trusted individuals. These key team members provide valuable perspectives, insights, and support.

By assembling a group of capable leaders, such as the sales manager and office managers mentioned by the previous owner, you can leverage their expertise and create a collaborative environment. This inner circle becomes a resource for success, offering guidance and serving as a sounding board for important decisions.

John C. Maxwell in his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” refers to this as the Law of the Inner Circle, stating that “A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him.” 

Takeaway: Do you have a core inner circle? Who is in it? Are these leaders who inspire you and drive you to be better? Do you trust in their abilities and their understanding of the business? If not, it’s time to make adjustments. If yes, listen to them, learn from them, and allow them to excel without stifling their potential. 

Prioritize the Success of Individuals on Your Team: 

A leader’s true goals lie in enabling their team members to achieve individual success. By focusing on the growth and prosperity of the salespeople, I realized that their accomplishments would naturally contribute to the dealership’s overall success.

Taking the time to understand each team member’s strengths, challenges, and aspirations allowed me to develop tailored strategies to support their growth. Through genuine care, guidance, and ongoing support, I could help them surpass their previous achievements and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Takeaway: Zig Ziglar puts it best, “You can have everything in life you want. If you will just help enough other people get what they want.” 


We all learn valuable lessons in the face of challenges! Though each of these principles is exemplified by strong leaders, I learned these three in the midst of the fire, and they became the bedrock of my priorities and focus as a General Manager.

I challenge all of us to prioritize these principles more in our leadership journeys. By harnessing wisdom from successful individuals, building a trusted inner circle, and prioritizing the success of team members, leaders can unlock the path to exceptional results.

Remember, the keys to your success are often closer than you think, waiting to be discovered through intentional inquiry. When you embrace the mindset of an owner and empower those around you, success becomes a natural byproduct. Embrace these principles and embark on a leadership journey that inspires and uplifts others, while achieving remarkable outcomes. 

Todd Nuttall

President of Bish’s RV