Circle of Choice: Part One

An effective process consistently produces the right results

Although this topic could apply to most employees, this article is really directed at Producers.

One of the biggest problems I see with average producers is their inability—or unwillingness—to focus on the right things. They chase way too many “bright and shiny” objects, allowing endless distractions to take them away from their “real” job. As one of my great clients and friends once said, “You’ve got to define the job of a producer and then not let them fake it.” In other words, know what you’re supposed to do and then do it! Now that’s some pretty good advice!

Success comes down to the choices producers make (or let happen) each and every day. I refer to this as “The Circle of Choice.” Inside this circle are the things that can be controlled. The things that are totally uncontrollable are outside the circle.

Defining where you will spend your time and energy dictates your level of success. You must identify those things you can control and those you cannot.

Putting a laser focus on those ITC (In The Circle) items drives great results. The key is to stop wasting time on things that are OTC (Outside The Circle) because you can’t really do anything about them. Furthermore, wasting energy on things beyond your control has a way of feeding on itself. Before you know it, those worries and complaints can snowball into an avalanche of pure angst.

To keep focused on what’s ITC, I always think of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Begin with the end in mind

Another key to The Circle of Choice concept is to begin with the end in mind. In his book The 48 Laws of Power, author Robert Greene refers to “Law 29: Plan All The Way to the End.” Basically it explains that, when you plan from start to finish, your circumstances and any obstacles won’t distract or deter you.

This idea also is reflected in Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In fact, “Begin with the end in mind” is the second habit. That’s what truly highly effective people do!

If we’re going to begin with the end in mind, the starting point for producers becomes the agency’s Personal Business Model. What’s your end in mind?

I talk to producers about this all the time, both in one-on-one coaching sessions and in ProducerFit programs, and I’m amazed that so few of them have an end in mind. They seem clueless as to where they’re going—almost as if there’s no tomorrow. Their typical modus operandi seems to be to go out and do a good job, sell some new clients, retain 90% of existing clients, and assume that everything will be okay. But they don’t have an end in mind.

Now let’s say you want to be a million-dollar producer. Will you have 50 clients paying you $20,000 each? Or 25 clients paying you $40,000? Maybe you don’t want to be a million-dollar producer and you’d be happy with a smaller book of, say, 40 clients paying $10,000 apiece. That’s fine. But what you can’t have is 1,000 clients paying you $500 each! The specifics of your personal business model don’t concern me. All I really care about is that you create one with a focused end in mind.

At a recent training program I introduced the concept of ITC and OTC, which really hit home with the participants. Nearly all of them realized they were wasting too much time OTC. Are you?

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