By Brent Kelly:
Several years ago, I heard a quote from leadership expert John Maxwell that caused me to stop and pause. He said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
I think the word that caused me to stop and pause was EVERYTHING.
I believe that leadership is important in business growth and development, but EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership? That seems like a bit much.
Over the past few years in my own coaching business and now as an executive coach for The Sitkins Group, I can confidently say that John Maxwell is 100% correct. EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership.
Recently, our entire team at the Sitkins Group started to make a list of the scariest trends facing insurance agencies today. After internal discussion and getting feedback from insurance leaders across the country, we discovered 8 common scary trends. They include:
· Low organic growth
· Anemic pipelines
· Lack of processes
· Straying away from the basics
· Attracting, training, and retaining staff
· Client Retention
· Insurance carrier issues
· Profit & value vulnerability
While there are multiple causes for these 8 scary trends, every single trend can be traced back to one common issue…. a lack of leadership.
For many insurance agency leaders this may sound harsh, but all progress begins by telling the truth.
For many insurance agency principals and managers, they didn’t start out dreaming of leading or running an agency. Often agency leaders were the best producer so therefore they become the leader or they were the next in line to lead the agency as a 2nd or 3rd generation owner.
Like any skill, leadership can be developed, but you must be intentional.
Leadership, more importantly effective leadership is a huge challenge. There are no perfect leaders. However, it is imperative that every insurance agency leader takes accountability for their behaviors and actions.
Your agency’s ability to face these scary trends head on and spur growth is ultimately limited or accomplished by your ability to lead effectively.
Let’s start with a basic question. If you had to rate yourself (1-10) as a leader, what number would you give yourself? Be honest. What is your current level of leadership effectiveness?
Here is why this is so important. If you rate yourself a 6 out of 10 as a leader, you will never attract or keep people in your agency that are above a 5 (at least not for very long).
As John Maxwell states, “The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.”
The lid on your agency’s level of success is you.
Now that may seem like a great deal of pressure, but you can increase your leadership lid and your level of effectiveness.
1. Up level your team
Your main responsibility as a leader to maximize everyone around you. To up level your team, you must make some difficult decisions by asking important questions.
· Does anyone on your agency team needs to be repositioned or transitioned?
· Who on your team needs additional training and mentoring?
· Who are the people you need on your team moving forward that will spur growth?
2. Up level your mentors
Every great leader learns through mentors and coaches. They find people who have had prior experiences in situations that you have not yet experienced. They find others to help keep them accountable and challenge their thinking.
You are who you surround yourself with. I know that when I coach agency leaders there is often a feeling of loneliness as they are looking for someone to talk to about the challenges they are facing. Find respected people in your community, in the insurance industry, or anyone who can help take you to the next level. The best athletes have trainers and coaches for a reason.
3. Up level your thinking
I believe that most agency owners allow scarcity and fear to cloud their thinking. They are often so preoccupied working in the business and putting out fires, that they forget to work on the business.
To raise your leadership lid, it requires abundant thinking. Instead of asking “Can I?” you start to ask, “How can I?”
Some of the greatest business leaders of all time credit part of their success by scheduling “thinking time.”
How can you begin to think bigger? How can you improve your agency culture, empower those around you, inspire your team, maximize agency processes?
It’s been said that only 2% of people truly think, 3% think that they think, and 95% of people would rather die than think. Become a 2% thinker.
The Bottom Line
As an agency leader, regardless of your official title or position, you are the difference between agency growth and success and being like most other average independent insurance agencies.
The power of leadership is that it has a multiplying effect.
You have two choices: Work hard and longer for the same results or up level your leadership and multiply your efforts.
The best news of all is that you are in full control of increasing your leadership effectiveness.
Brent Kelly is an executive coach and keynote speaker with The Sitkins Group, Inc.
If you are looking for world-class training and coaching for your entire agency on leadership, sales leadership, sales production, and client retention, click here to learn more about The Sitkins Network.
The Sitkins Network is a territorial community of high-achieving independent insurance agencies looking to transcend commoditization, defy comparison, and become a category of one in their marketplace.
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