I think it's long past time for us to start thinking about the "what ifs" in our business and take action to do something with those possible, or seemingly impossible, ideas.

I'm talking about those exciting conversations that start with "What if . . .?" I think those two words are almost magical when used correctly. Think about it, kids use them all the time:

What if the sky was orange? What if turtles could fly? What if I was president of the world?

Starting a question with "What if..." immediately unlocks our imagination and envisions exciting new possibilities.

Unfortunately, somewhere between being a 5 year old with unlimited "what if" scenarios and our adulthood where we sit in strategy sessions in the office, we lose the magic.

Now as unimaginative adults, instead of starting with "What if...", we start with "Maybe we could..." or "I'd sure like to..." or "Wouldn't it be great if...".

Now instead of focusing on some great new possibility with our question, our creativity is immediately surrounded with self-doubt, and we look for all the reasons why our idea couldn't really happen.

My challenge to you

Force yourselves to regularly have "What if" sessions. Use "What ifs" to imagine ideal as well as doomsday scenarios.

Whatever you insert after these two words and the way you ultimately respond will largely determine your future success. By engaging in these conversations as a team, you are much more likely to create the ideal scenarios, while at the same time ensuring your ability to survive the doomsday scenarios.

A few suggestions to get you started:

  • What if there was no more employer-provided health insurance?
  • What if there were no more commissions paid out by carriers?
  • What if you had to assemble health insurance plans instead of getting an off-the-shelf solution from the carriers?
  • What if your advisory firm was the most sought out firm in your market? 
  • What if you communicated your message so effectively to your market that potential clients came to you?
  • What if you made such an impact on local employers that they were able to make a significant difference in the community?
  • What if everyone on your team understood your value proposition and sales system inside and out and could articulate it so well that writing new business was almost easy?
  • What if you knew your critical indicators so well that you were making strategic business decisions based on data rather than on gut feelings? 
  • What if you had a network of peers to turn to for questions and answers that helped grow your agency at an exponentially faster rate?

What if you brought your team together and put one of these questions up on the table? What kind of conversation would follow? What would describing the outcome do for your level of excitement? What kind of confidence would develop by being able to describe that future reality?

You see, when you start with "What if..." you're not even asking yourself if the idea is possible. It is assumed that it has already happened. You get to focus on the exciting new reality and all of the great outcomes that go along with it.

It's funny how the energy and excitement resulting from the conversation will allow you to make things a reality that would/could never happen if you had started with "Maybe we could . . ."


Photo by tanya_morozz

Defining Your Business Brand