“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” - Aristotle
The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw
I believe the independent agency system and its producers have the potential, and need, to be a more significant contributor to client success than any other partner their clients have. I also believe that the future of independent agencies is under attack and anything but assured.
Every year, we choose a theme and our theme for 2015 is Simplify.
It was a pretty easy theme on which to agree. As we look at all of the challenges the industry is providing, the complexity of life in general, and the naturally distracted personalities that we find in so many agencies, we believe that simplicity is something we all need more of. And, being honest, we chose the theme based on our own needs at least as much as we chose it for those with whom we work.
At first Simplify may sound like committing to “eat more donuts” as a New Year’s resolution; it’s anything but.
Taking on a new model. Creating a new culture. Starting in a new position.
These are all times where we feel compelled to dig deep and focus on self-improvement or team development. As we're moving more and more into being knowledge-driven businesses, waiting for a major event before seeking new knowledge isn't what will make you a leader. Continuously finding ways to increase your understanding of topics and being able to articulate the ideas effectively is increasingly important and is what will make you stand out in the crowded field of look-alike agencies.
Managing the performance of your employees is the key to maximizing their productivity. A Hacket Group study backs this up showing that companies who excel at performance management post earnings that are 15% more than their competition who are less effective at managing performance, they show a 22% improvement in net profit margin, and they spend 6% less on HR overall.
When introducing a new initiative in your organization, you understand the need to get your team motivated behind the cause. After all, the success of the initiative is going to be largely dependent on their level of support.
All too often, when we introduce an initiative, we only focus on why it is important for the company that the initiative to be successful. While I am certain that your team wants the company to be successful, the Company is only one of five primary areas of motivation for the individuals on your team. The other four are Society, Customer, Team, and, of course, Me. Chances are that if you divided your team up by their primary motivating force, you would have a pretty even number of people in each category.
One of the most difficult hires for any agency to make is to hire a new producer that will produce on par with your most successful producers. While I’m not suggesting giving up on that effort, I would encourage to make sure you are reviewing your current production team and constantly rehiring the successful producers you already have.
Huh?! - Well, not necessarily in the literal sense.
Every company should have a plan. A plan of where the company is going. A plan for everyone in the organization to follow and rally around as enthusiastic supporters of a larger goal.
We all want to be working toward a higher purpose beyond the next task on our to-do list. What we come into work for every day needs to be connected to that larger goal that the whole team is working together to achieve.
I live in St. Louis. Which, by unwritten law, makes me a huge Cardinals fan. Since there is no minimum age for said unwritten law, my 11 year-old son is also a huge Cardinals fan. And, of course, by some unwritten subsection of this unwritten law, our favorite player is Albert Pujols.