I am fortunate to get to speak with some of the most successful benefits producers and agencies in the benefits business on a daily basis. In every challenge, they see even greater opportunity. In every prospect, they see a future client. In every client, they see an opportunity to make a difference. With healthcare reform, they see an opportunity to leave their competition in the dust. “What an unbelievable industry we work in. We make a terrific living and get to make a great impact on the businesses of our clients,” they say.
Unfortunately, on occasion I speak to benefits producers and agency owners who are convinced that healthcare reform will put them out of business. They say that the carriers have made it impossible to make a living in this industry. They are convinced that their margins are being eroded faster than they can add to the top line. Larger competitors are giving away value added services and are going to take away their best clients. Those very clients are deemed to be demanding more but insisting on paying less. “What a horrible industry this has become. I remember when this used to be fun,” they say.
You would think that these two groups were competing in completely different industries. Actually, you would be right. The first group has decided to define the benefits industry in a manner in which they are in control and establish the rules of the game while the second has accepted competing in a benefits industry controlled by everyone else.
You would think the profiles of the individuals within the respective groups would have to be completely different. You would be partially right. They are completely different, but only on one trait, the attitude they show up with each day.
You would think that one of these groups must be right and the other wrong in their assessment of their future. In this case, you would be wrong. In fact both of these groups are exactly right in their personal assessment. Because the first group only sees opportunity and a bright future they can make happen, they are assured of finding even greater success. And, because the second group only sees the horrible things that can happen to them, they have assured themselves of a very bleak future.
Bottom line is you can take control, have a positive outlook, and take advantage of unprecedented opportunities, or you can lie down, cede defeat, and be crushed by unprecedented challenges. The reality is, you do get to choose. Seems like an obvious choice to me.
Photo by Lisan Yee.