ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

GAIN ACCOUNTABILTY WITH BIG TIME RESULTS

We all resist change...especially change that involves behavior modification and confronting some of the tough people issues in our organizations. But to achieve real improvement, whether it be in leadership effectiveness, sales performance, or organizational productivity, a change in behavior typically is necessary. If you are like most, you have spent a lot of time, money and effort on training, consultants and educational programs without seeing the results you were anticipating. Information was disseminated, but that new knowledge was never translated into a difference in behavior, leaving you disappointed with the results of your investment.

HOW TO MOVE YOUR PEOPLE FROM DISCUSSION INTO ACTION

I have been working in and outside the insurance industry since 2003 helping leaders that feel frustrated with the lack of action in their organizations and the lack of consistency and self-governance from their teams. In many cases, I have been asked to find creative ways to get a stagnant organization up and moving in the right direction.

In my travels, I’ve been asked to assist with some tough cases, and have seen everything you can imagine, from an agency with a drug and alcohol addicted heir apparent son, to the constant in-fighting from 6 siblings and in-laws partners, to owners and leaders who deeply cared for their staff and wanted to grow together but just couldn’t seem to gain momentum. With every leadership team, I find they most want to see their organizations grow and develop both in revenue and professionalism. Most just don’t know the formula. And there is a formula.

Staff gets stuck in ruts and so do we as leaders. There is an ugly, unhealthy pattern we see more and more that needs to end if we are to be overcomers of adversity. Here is an example – can you relate?

FIRST, when a new idea is shared, the immediate tendency is to weigh its merit and then discredit based on what we already know.

THEN:

The cynical voice of doubt.
We think about all the reasons why something won’t work.
We do nothing.
Inaction.

LASTLY:

We keep complaining about what is not working, feeling more and more discouraged at our staff, our carriers, and ultimately, ourselves.

There are systemic problems that plague most; we seem to keep talking about the same issues year after year:

  • doing better at creating sales culture
  • getting workflow in line
  • finding ways to develop leadership and staff
  • overcoming outside forces that threaten our very existence

and the list goes on. Now, with the new initiatives by our carriers and consumers, we never seem to get ahead of any of it!

OUR SECRET FORMULA TO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN

I mentioned a formula earlier. A number of years ago, a large national “cluster” group asked me what it was after seeing changes in their toughest situations.

I’m going to let you in on some of my secret: Change happens in a different mental process where Action Drives the Results – not in just looking at outside behavior and trying to get people to act. Telling people what to do and expecting them to do it doesn’t work, either. It didn’t work with our kids, and it won’t work with our staff!

Here is our secret formula for transforming your relationships (and you can start this coming Monday by doing these exact measures yourself):

First, we gain honest feedback from Leaders, Sales Teams and Service Teams on what is working and what is not working from their perspective. Our surveys always include the following 6 questions:

  1. What is Present?
  2. What is Missing?
  3. How do you contribute to what is Missing?
  4. What are the Possibilities?
  5. How can you contribute to help us grow and be better?
  6. If there is anything you could change, what would it be?

We ask leaders to stop trying to figure out who has said what and discredit (remember that unhealthy pattern I shared, above), but instead honor and compliment your management and your employees for offering a very valuable gift – the gift of honest feedback and opinion. This is where change begins – by looking at what can be done, and enrolling your staff to be involved in having it come to pass.

Second, we introduce the staff to a powerful life and business acumen called C4A or Conversations for Action. (You can find free videos about this our website - PowerHouse Learning).

During our time, we gain agreement on the areas that need to be improved, and set a timetable for progress.

Third, we talk about the journey more than the destination; how we will know when we’re on track, how we will know when we aren’t, and what we will do about it when we recognize we need to course correct.

Lastly, we set timelines with everyone, and track progress. This is how we move a culture simultaneously! We find when people know you give a “beaver barrier”, they actually start trusting the process.

Why does the method we use work?

Our Virtuoso! Program addresses the task-oriented side and the people-oriented side of business. You can do the same thing yourselves if you touch on the following topics in your change management and implementation:

Training and Implementation of topics and subject matter include:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Leadership and Sales Management training
  • Time Management
  • Accountability and Self-governing behavior
  • Difficult Conversations
  • Operational efficiency
  • Workflow
  • Procedures Manual implementation of practices for staff
  • Marketing and Prospecting
  • Hiring, Evaluations, and HR related challenges
  • Qualifying and Objective handling techniques
  • Understanding how and why people buy
  • Client Surveys
  • Client Relationship Management as a verb
  • Presentations & Proposals
  • Carrier Relations with Underwriters and Field Reps
  • Understanding the department’s Book of Business responsibilities (understanding the business side of the business)
  • Cross Sell, Account Round, Up Sell – all staff

Brandie Hinen is the President of Powerhouse Learning and has been featured in the who’s who of independent agency publications, a champion and implementer of lasting change.

You can find her at brandie@PowerhouseLearning.com or on her LinkedIn profile.