Knowledge Based Empowerment
We as an industry have developed a vision problem - we have become short sighted. The most vivid example of a short sighted industry was the railroad industry after the turn of the century. The railroad magnets actually believed that they were in the railroad business. If, they instead, they realized they were in the transportation business, NEW YOUR CENTRAL AND B&O could have been names on the sides of airplanes instead of on the sides of rusted ore cars. If they would have regained a bit of the farsightedness that caused that industry to thrive through the 19th century they could have treated their employees a little less mechanically.
We, too, are guilty of short sightedness as an industry. The insurance agency system must realize that it is inthe business of providing financial and asset protection products and services to individual and business consumers in the United States. Once owners of insurance agencys realize that this is their mission rather than providing competitive insurance policies to its customers, they can properly tune in to th full spectrum of quality management techniques to reach their long term goals.
The first and principal change in attitude between the old insurance agency business and the new is tin the treatment and empowerment of employees. No longer are employees expendable if they don't perform to vague expectation. Nor are they independent entities able to conduct business the way they, rather than the agencies, desires.
If we step into the future the successful agencies of the 21st century will treat all employees as partners and associates rather than as clerks. In order to do this we must learn to :
1. Hire well - be more interrested in the prospective employees latent talents and creativity than in skills learned in prior jobs.
2. Train well - weather you are a large agency or a smal one create an outline for a training schedule for each job within your agency that will assure you that your employees will know the agencies pholosophies and every facet of the job that they are occupying.
3. Empower your employees and share with them that information necessary for them to determine if and how much their efforts profit the company.
I would like to describe some of the ways that empowerment can result in truly exciting growth and profit potential.
1. Envoke trust
2. Monitor results frequently
3. Practice what you preach
4. Oversee, don't supervise