Every organization has them – those demons that hold us back and threaten to drag us under. The "elephant" demon we try to ignore, the fear demon of hard work and change, and the competitor demon who paralyzes us in place. It's not that they are all powerful; it's just that they scare us and it seems so easy to avoid them. Unfortunately, the easy option of today is usually the most costly for tomorrow.
The reality is that you can control them if you're just willing to take them on, to bring on their demise before you allow them to bring on yours. The answers are out there, but to find them you have to start with the right questions. And, once the questions have been asked, you have to have an open mind and, hopefully, a partner/team willing to help you face the demons.
We do this at Q4i all the time. Our business is driven by these big, pondering questions and the desire to face the demons that are looming so large in the industry. Sometimes we have very intentional brainstorming sessions and other times we're just stopping to address an idea or problem in the moment. I can't even begin to tell you how many of our business changing opportunities are the result of a conversation that starts with "What if . . . .?"
People often ask how we do so much with so few people, and the secret lies in these conversations and the confidence that we derive from them. We discuss things big and small, build a vision around the ideas as it matches our Purpose and Vision, and then we take action. See, if you only talk about it, then things don't progress. But if you put some discipline to it and you have a partner/team you trust, you can move those elephants and slay the demons.
We want you to have the same powerful conversations we have on a regular basis.
So, start by recruiting other team members who are fed up with being afraid and are ready to become the competitor who all others fear and avoid. Like anything new, you will have to start by being very intentional, by setting aside some dedicated time to take on one demon at a time. With a little practice, you will find that there is nothing too scary to take on, whether it's during an intentional brainstorming session or one that is more spontaneous.
Once you experience a little success, NOTHING will scare you.
Here are a few suggested questions to get you started.
- What if producers were held as accountable for their results as everyone else in the agency?
- What if we broke down the agency silos and worked cohesively?
- What if we couldn't get paid for selling insurance?
- What if we had to get paid based on the value we deliver to our clients – would we get a raise or take a pay cut?
- What if our sales process was so value-driven, so client-focused it became our greatest competitive advantage?
- What if we were the competitor in our market against whom nobody wanted to compete?
Here's some additional direction as you take on these questions.
- Ask the question and then describe what would happen for you once it became a reality.
- Then, claim that outcome as your future reality. For example, "We have created a sales process that is so value-driven and so client-focused that our close ratio has doubled, we have the best producer talent in the market asking to work here, our average revenue per account has tripled, and our profit margin is up by 10%."
- Finally, from the perspective of your future reality, ask yourself, "How did we make this happen?" and describe the specific actions you would have taken to drive that outcome.
- What you will be left with is a plan of how to kill the Elephants, Fears, and Competitors.
Like anything new, this is an exercise that will take a little practice. But I PROMISE you the results and confidence from the plans you create, the recognition that you are leaving slain demons lying in your wake, will make the effort worthwhile.
Photo by Chrstian Stock.