#SitkinsIsTheSolution

Trivial Many to Vital Few - Click #5

podcast Aug 02, 2022
 

Brent Kelly:

Welcome to the Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly, your host. Thanks so much for joining me on this episode. And if you're playing along at home or you've been keeping track of what we've been doing on this podcast, this is part number five of an 8-Part series that we're doing around clicks, and those clicks are those breakthroughs, those new ideas, or maybe an idea that's gone dormant for you as an agency leader, to help you break through, to give you that click, to move your agency to the next level. And for the fifth time in this fifth part of the series I have my very special guest, he's the CEO, founder of the Sitkins Group, and he's helping us dissect these clicks, these breakthroughs, but he also has a very special hat on today, and I know many of you are listening only. I love to listen to podcasts, but we also have a YouTube channel where you can watch these podcasts. And if you can't see, if you're listening, Rogers Sitkins has a very special hat on that he's worn for many years. So Roger, for the watchers, they can see it. For the listeners, could you explain what your hat's all about today?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, it's a baseball cap, a coaching cap, and it has the universal no smoking sign. It's got a red circle with a red slash through it. It says "practice quoting," because our whole thing is stop practice quoting, stop unpaid... No, don't do practice quoting or unpaid consulting, and it leads to the whole theme where we talk so much about relentless preparation, and I say practice everything except quoting. So it was a reminder today, and the other thing is that I had some, real world. I had some skin cancer zapped, and my wonderful bald head looks even worse with all the zaps on it, so I covered it up with my favorite cap.

Brent Kelly:

Well, I love the cap and I told you. So, regardless of anything else, I love the cap, and we were talking before for... Sitkins Group has been doing this for a long time, and one of the coaching outfits was the ball cap and the whistle, the No Practice Quoting, which again became... It's interesting for me, and again, just side note, as I travel around and work with agencies, you'll find someone that will be, "hey, I've done some Sitkins stuff 20 years ago. It was great. Really helped my agency get some momentum. Is Roger still wearing that cap?" Or, "does Roger still have that whistle?"

Roger Sitkins:

The whistle, yeah.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah, so today I can say yes, Roger is wearing that cap, but it's a great cap, No Practice Quoting. And by the way, a little preface we're going to be talking about the next couple weeks on those clicks, we're going to get into some stuff about differentiation, and a big part of that is No Practice Quoting.

Brent Kelly:

So Roger, I appreciate you kind of setting the stage. So before we get into today's content, which is going to be, the click is about moving. The click is from the trivial many, of all the things you could do as an agency, to get into the vital few, what's most important. Before I get into that, I do want to mention our book, which again, video is behind us, The Best Version Possible. And The Best Version Possible books available at Sitkins.com/BVP. So go to Sitkins.com/BVP to get your copy there. Again, we continue to get some great feedback and people really appreciate the book, not even for the content Roger. I think what people really like, and talking to agency leaders and producers and they go, "you know what, I can read all this in a couple hours."

Brent Kelly:

It's not this big 500 page behemoth. We really got to the point in the book, so again, check it out, get some great feedback, Sitkins.com/BVP. So Roger, I want to get into click number five with you, and I have to be careful, because I say this is my favorite click or this is my favorite thought, but this is such an important thought and principle of this idea of moving from the trivial many to the vital few, and I want to set this up with some thoughts that I usually give insurance agency leaders or things that we hear. Here's the question that I ask insurance agency leaders all the time, and I'll ask you as a listener, is this, do you need or want more things to do? Do you want more things to do in your agency?

Brent Kelly:

Of course, I'm guessing if you're listening, whether you're in the car or you're at the kitchen table or you're watching on YouTube, you're probably saying, "no Brent, I'm good. I got enough things to do," and join the club. When I talk to agency leaders, certainly for the first time, if we're having a conversation and they want to learn more about what we do and how it'll impact their agency, one of the first things that I tell them is listen, my goal and our goal at Sitkins is not to give you more things to do. It's to help you focus on the right things, the most important things. Get rid of or push off the distractions, but do those important things more often and with more intention. In fact, one of the rallying cries that we have in working with agency leaders and their members is this.

Brent Kelly:

We've got to understand the concept of what must be simplified so that we can focus on what really matters, and when agency leaders get focused, they start to get momentum. They start to get, obviously the clarity, the consistency and the commitment that we talk so much about in The Best Version Possible and The Best Version Possible experience. So Roger, I want to set that up and then I certainly want to dive deep with you today and get your thoughts on this, and the first question I have is, why is this click, this breakthrough, this thought of moving from trivial many to the vital few, why is it so important to insurance leaders today?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, when we're dealing with the insurance agency leaders that really want to grow their business, and I'm assuming that's who's listening to us today. One of the things we find is they love the bright and shiny. The BS, the bright and shiny and they love great ideas and there goes another squirrel, there's another bright and shiny. And they're always chasing an idea and they get this attitude, especially... Again, sales oriented people. "Well, that's a great idea. We can do this, we can do that," and something that hit me a long time ago because I'm a voracious reader and studier as you know, is there are always more great ideas than there is time or capacity to execute them, or what we do is we're trying to execute too many things at a time and our team doesn't really know what's going on, so they think, "well, are we focused on this or are we focused on that?"

Roger Sitkins:

And then of course the team winds up, as we've said before, the team will wind up going, "don't worry, this too shall pass," because they'll have another new idea and another new idea. So the key thing here is to realize that you can't do everything. Like you always say, and you just did. "Do you need more things to do, do you need another new idea," and rather than reacting to every click ping ring and ding that we see as we're out there in social media and studying, we say, "look, I guess everything could have an impact, but too many things have like very little impact," so the key is to find out what are the vital few, the core strategies, the core beliefs, the core attitudes, the clicks, if you will, that when we get focused on them, we get tremendous results.

Roger Sitkins:

And it comes back to our favorite law, the predictable imbalance in the universe, that 20% of what we do gets us to 80% of our results, whether it's 20% of our customers, 20% of our producers, 20% of our thing, 20% of what we do personally gives us 80% of our joy, so getting down to the point and say, "you know what, what are the vital few things that I'm actually going to do versus another great idea I'm going to chase that will get replaced by another great idea that gets replaced by another great idea?" So when we look at this and we say, all right, if it's true, that 20% of what we do, and do is a bunch of different things, will get us 80% of our results. Let's find the 20% and let's stay totally focused on it. As you know, one of our great elite, 50 sales mastery producers, he's at 4.2 million of commission. We talk about him a lot.

Brent Kelly:

What was that amount he has?

Roger Sitkins:

4.2 million of commission.

Brent Kelly:

Oh, okay. I want to make sure that I heard it.

Roger Sitkins:

So he kind of has figured it out, but he came back, not this last session, the session before, even though he's been hearing this for decades with me. He said, "I just had another breakthrough. Rather than 80 20, everything I do now is 20 80." We said, "okay Jeff, tell us more." He said, "well, I'm going to figure out... I'm going to focus on the 20% all the time and not even worry about the 80," so he started right off and he said, "I'm going to really focus on those 20% of the clients and replicate," which we talk about, but now he has a laser of focus on it, but then he said, "personally, every time I work with a client or anything I'm doing, I say, 'what are the 20% activities that I've got to maximize and get the 80% out of the way that's taking time, energy away?'" So this thing is just stop trying to chase everything because, again, for us, most of us, everything's a great idea, versus saying, "nope, I'm only going to get focused on the vital few." Maybe there's a new phrase, "the vital, vital few," and keep knocking down what I'm doing and master it.

Roger Sitkins:

Master it. Don't just say, "I'm going to do this, do that." Mastery, and we always say mastery is when you've mastered something, you know it so well, you do it without thinking, you're in the zone. And then you could also teach others because it comes from your heart, so that's my opening comments. Find out the vital few, period.

Brent Kelly:

Excellent, so many good takeaways there Roger. As you were saying that, I wrote down, I've said this before, but it's true. It's like when everything's important, nothing's really important. And you look at how agencies operate in many cases and, "well, that's important, that's important, that's important." Well, yeah, but what level? And I think the word I continue to say around this principle and this idea of the vital few, and as you mentioned, the power of their 80 20 rule, which has been around forever. A lot of people know it, they just don't do it very well, and the word is "leverage." I want to get greater leverage, and you think about... This goes back, I'm getting some nightmares in my head now.

Brent Kelly:

All of a sudden I was thinking about my school days where you're going through science or some of the early aspects of physics, and you've got the seesaw thing, the fulcrum, it's in the middle, or depends on where it's placed. It takes a lot more energy and effort, or depending on where it's at, and some areas you put it and things just pop right up. And that's kind of like with agencies, is going, "listen, we've got to identify," and maybe I'm setting my next question up here a little bit Roger, but that's okay. It's my podcast, I can do that, but one of the things that we've been working on so hard at Sitkins is to take all of those years of experience that you've had Roger, and the organization and looking at my background and knowledge and our teams and all the agencies and putting that together and saying, "gosh, Jeff, all those things," and there's a lot of things that work. What's really important? And what I love, what we are creating, and this is coming out to the world here very soon is the fact that there's really four areas.

Brent Kelly:

There's four areas. Now there's depth of these, but what happens is agencies don't focus enough, they find the next bright and shiny. So you can take that however you want Roger, and I'm teasing the audience here a little bit, but my question to you, and wherever you want to go with this, is how can an agency begin to determine what's really important? Like you can say, "well, that makes sense Roger and Brent. Yeah, 80 20, and there's a few things that are more important than the others, but how do I know what they are?" How would you answer that?

Roger Sitkins:

Wow, join Sitkins? No, that'd be good.

Brent Kelly:

I'm good with that Roger, because we will help you. Really will.

Roger Sitkins:

As we always say, what we do isn't for everybody, but when we look at all the things that we've talked about and we try to put it into a great place, we found there's just too much. Like you're saying, it's like a big basket or a big barrel. We throw another idea and throw another idea, throw another idea. Said no, what we've got to do is we've got to get ourselves laser focused as coaches, as consultants and say, what are the four things that matter the most? And we've talked about this a few times, but it's real simple, not easy as we always talk, but simple. It's number one, we've got to get everybody aligned. We have to have agency alignment. We've got to be playing from the same playbook, or I use analogy the other day. I said, could you imagine an orchestra where everybody in the orchestra has a different sheet of music? It wouldn't sound too good.

Roger Sitkins:

So the number one is agency alignment, getting everybody aligned. So we're getting sales, service, leadership, admin, and ops, all aligned going in the same goal. Next thing we have to do is green zone. We've mentioned this several times already on the podcast, but of everything I've ever done, maybe the stickiest, is the green zone. There's a red zone and a green zone. The green zone, we've got to get our producers that TSS, that KPI of TSS, time spent selling. We've got to do everything we can to get the producers freed up to spend 80% of their time, energy and effort in the green zone, then we've got to get totally focused on retaining and replicating our best clients, and finally, obtaining new clients. When we get that laser focus, there's really only four things.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, yeah, every one of them is deep, but it has a lot of topic in it, but the key is to be able to put some name around it, to get some structure around it. So, this brings up... I've used the term "deep" a couple times, we've certainly used it before, but one of the things that we saw as consultants, and one of the things that we see in agencies, because we have all these great ideas, we go very shallow. We do a little bit of this, a little bit of that. It's sort of like sitting at the water line with the tip of the iceberg, and we go shallow on trivial many things. We can try this, we can try this, we can try this versus saying, "no, let's get laser focused on the most important issues that'll have the highest impact, and stick with it and go deep

Roger Sitkins:

And deep, surprisingly, another acronym which we use, is delivering excellence in every process, so if we take a whole concept of a green zone, that's sticky, but what do we have to do to get exceedingly deep on our execution and make sure we do it all the time. Because if we're staying above the water line and chasing too many things, we're semi-successful, and as we've said on this before, I've heard you say it when others are on with you, that it's a great business. You're going to do well no matter what, but that's shallow execution versus saying, "no, I'm not going to do 20 things. I'm going to focus on four things, and those four things, I'm going to go exceedingly deep, and I'm going to find them," pointing at those that are on video with us. We're pointing to a copy of the book. I'm going to go deep and get to the best version possible of that part of my agency, and we can get all those parts together, the vital few, working in concert, aligned, the results are predictable and guaranteed. It's industry leading results, so there's my sermonette on it.

Brent Kelly:

No, it's great, and I obviously kind of led you there a little bit, but as you were saying that again, we talked about deep and we have talked about that as an acronym before, and that all stemmed... We've done a podcast on this Roger previously, it's been a while, but in talking about when I first read... I don't know who read it first, but we read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, and that started the thing, like where is it that we, and certainly the agencies, we're getting so distracted. As we've talked so much, even last year of, what do we need? What must we create to take all these things that we know that work and give people focus in those particular areas and just those areas and a proven process they can follow within those areas?

Brent Kelly:

That's part of it. It's, "hey, I want to go deep Roger. This alignment thing makes sense, but what's the roadmap to that?" This green zone makes sense. What's the roadmap, what's the process there? And to be able to say, "listen, communicate in these areas and we're going to help you do that, and you're going to follow a roadmap there," so again, I led you there, but I wanted to get your thoughts because again, what we do, we believe in it. We see results with agencies. We see the freedom it creates and we're passionate about helping agencies do that, and one of the things that I know that frustrates me, I'm sure it frustrates Roger, is that we see agencies continually get distracted in the bright and shiny, the noise that quite honestly is easier work, but it doesn't get very good results, and getting back to what truly works.

Brent Kelly:

So Roger, one more question, and we can take this a number of ways. In fact, I was thinking about this question, I can get the positive side and maybe I can get the negative side or you could go wherever you want. So, an agency gets focused on the vital few. They say, "listen, we know we can't do everything. We're into the most important things." I want to know the positive impact or outcome that an agency can feel and see. I have some tangibility here, and then the other side, which again, you can take wherever you want is, what's the cost if they don't? So I'll throw that difficult question over your way.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, I'll start with the cost. It's a loss of millions of dollars. We've talked about this so often now, and in today's environment that a hundred thousand dollars of increased profit, not revenue, but profit, which is quite frankly pretty simple to do. If you stay focused, it's worth 1.2 to 1.4 million of increased value. As an agency leader, we've talked just the other day that, most of them, it's their largest personal asset. So, the cost of not doing it is regrets later in life. Yeah. I'll be able to get to it next time when we kid around about "someday I'll." "Someday I'll," it's not a good day of the week. "Someday I'll do this. Someday I'll do that," versus saying, "no, I've got to get laser focused," and when we see the best breakthroughs, and we've talked about this in previous podcast, the one agency CEO that got up at the end of our session and said, "that's it, we're doing one thing. We're going to do one thing, but we're going to do it exceedingly well," and he went from 3% to 9% organic growth in six months.

Roger Sitkins:

So, when you get the laser focus on that, first of all, the whole team understands, "oh, I guess that's what we're doing," because with all due respect, when they do say "this too shall pass," they're right, and they know they don't have to follow everything because something will replace it versus saying, "no, this is something we do," and when they can get focused on that and they say, "well, look at the results we're getting," plus there's not guesswork. I realize, and we've been guilty with it, as we said in our own company, where our team is going. "Oh, there they go again," versus them saying, "oh, that's exactly what we're doing."

Roger Sitkins:

So the clarity, when people finally say, "oh, that's it, that's where we're going," now they can show up to work and they can get in the zone. They can say, "here's exactly what I'm supposed to do," versus, "we'll change this process, change that process, et cetera." So, it's a matter of number one, allowing your team to know the playbook, the sheet of music, whatever you want to call it, so they can say, "here's exactly what I'm going to do today. Here's what I'm going to do this week, this month, this quarter," and then the key is the excellence. It's not partial use. It's not like, "well, we're kind of dabbling our toes. Maybe a couple of our employees will do it." No, it's the deep execution, because every strategy that you look at, certainly the proven strategies are proven. What a surprise, they work.

Roger Sitkins:

When you do the work, when you follow the steps, rather than saying, "well, I'm going to kind of do it," and I've used this before, I'm at my vacation home in Georgia and I just love the saying, "we're fixing to." I mentioned it before. So, rather than fixing to do it, let's just do it. Let's just say this is one of the vital few, not a trivial many, it's a vital few that will get us at least 80% of our results, and we're going to perfect that process. That's what we're going to do. Creates that clarity, communication's much better. Everybody goes, "oh, here. Okay, let's go. We know what we're doing."

Brent Kelly:

The word I wrote down, as you were saying, that you mentioned clarity, and of course that's one of our key pillars around clarity, consistency, and commitment, but the other "c" there, which we use all the time too. Again, this is everywhere in the marketplace, but it really is about culture. Getting the vital few is saying, "this is our culture. This is who we are," and Roger, we define it. It's the language and behaviors, so what people say and what people do, that's normal. And quite honestly, a lot of agencies are like, "what's normal?" Well, it depends on the week, or it depends on the month.

Roger Sitkins:

The day.

Brent Kelly:

Right, depends on the day. I love my sports analogies, and I just had another one of them pop in my head because I was thinking back and I forgot what year it was, but obviously Roger, you played football.

Brent Kelly:

And I remember we had a season where this was... I don't know, maybe it might have been my sophomore year or something like this, so I wasn't playing a ton of the varsity, but we were doing average at best. And I swear every week the coach would come back, "okay, this is the new way we're going to do things," and you get to week six or seven, and you're already not having great results, you're like, "who cares?" Even if you don't say it out loud, that's the mentality that people are thinking in their brains, and you're always trying to change something that... "You know what, I watched this thing, so here's what we're going to do," and the team's going... As you said, "don't worry, this too shall pass." What does it matter? He's going to change it next week anyway. And you think about agencies out there, how many of them are thinking that throughout their teams going... Versus saying, "listen, this is where we're going. This is why we're going there. This is what it's going to mean for you. This is going to become the culture, the DNA, the language, the behaviors of our agency, now you got to prove it," but that gets down to saying this is the vital for few. So Roger, you're nodding your head. Do you want to add to that or comment?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, I think back to high school and college football, my high school coach, Dick Mosley. Coach Mosley, one of my great mentors in life, and I was fortunate, he was in my life for 50 years, and I've talked about him before. In high school, we're league champs and we did really well. We had eight plays, eight. We ran them to the right and ran them to the left, so I guess we had 16, but if you scouted us, you knew what we were going to do, but we perfected them. We even had one... I saw a clip on this, not this play, because that would've been black and white and thick film way back when, but I saw a clip of this great touchdown, a kickoff touchdown.

Roger Sitkins:

And there's a real long story I won't bore you with or the listeners, but we started the start of the season, pre-season football, and he drew up a kickoff return, and we practiced it every single day, but we only used it one time. It was against a rival that our coach really wanted to beat, and he said, "we're going to run this play." We practiced it every week. Ran it one time, opening kickoff, touchdown. I don't think I ever played that story before, but Coach Mose just said, "look, we've got to have..." We didn't use the term vital few back then, but he said, "look, we're just going to run eight plays. We're going to perfect them, and that's what we're going to do," and that worked so well and we just kept doing it. And that always stuck in my mind about look, don't do a lot of things.

Roger Sitkins:

Let's just do the core things, but practice. You talk about Bruce Lee with his practice skills and everything, his commitment to practice and just say look... Great example, it's so simple. We've mentioned it so many times, how do you ask for referral? You practice it, so this is... I think we mentioned two times ago, but as an agency leader, if you want to know your people are conversational and comfortable, ambush them. Just go up to them and say, "ask me for a referral." Go up to them and say, "hey, how do you handle your... How do you do the service hand off? How do you introduce your team to your client so that they get the red zone stuff, and you stay in the green zone?"

Roger Sitkins:

Or just to say to the team, what's it all about here? Do they even have an overall agency goal and focus where people can say, "well, here's what it's all about," and certainly in ours, it's real simple now. It's about retaining and obtaining ideal clients. Your listeners have heard it a thousand times, but then you have to say, "okay, retaining and obtaining ideal clients, that sounds cool, but what do we have to do? What are the vital few things we have to do to retain and obtain ideal clients?" And I guess teasing a little bit more now on our upcoming Best Version Possible Program, is that in every one of those four key areas, as you know, we're boiling it down. There's only three things you've got to do in each area. If you master those, when you master those, predictable and guaranteed results, so we have such passion around this now saying simplify to the point that everybody understands it then have a laser focus on it. "This is what we do. Here's our playbook." It's amazingly cool what happens when people will do that.

Brent Kelly:

And on that, one of the things you'll see is how do we simplify the playbook, but then actually do it. Why are we doing that? Remember at the very beginning, I said, what can we simplify? What do we need to simplify so that we can get laser focus? And again, when you get focused, you get traction. You get traction, you get momentum, you get confidence. It becomes part of the agency, and that's just a big part of what we see great agencies do. I forgot the... I'm going off memory here, is Bruce Lee that did he say, "I fear not the man who's..." Is it a thousand or 10,000 kicks? I forget.

Roger Sitkins:

10,000.

Brent Kelly:

"... 10,000 kicks, but who's mastered one kick, and practiced 10,000 times," or something like that. I'm sure I just messed that up, but it just comes back to that of just owning what it is that you do in the trivial many.

Brent Kelly:

So the vital few, verse the trivial many. So Roger, thanks so much again for joining me on this. I love the conversation and I certainly give you a few of the questions, but I told you, I just want to chat with you and get your thoughts and take on some of these important things. We've got three more clicks we're going to get through, and obviously these are all important. They all do fit in the model, but we're going to start to get into this idea of differentiation. You're going to hear more about that. What does that really mean as we get into future clicks? So, Roger, thanks again. For the listeners out there, by the way, whatever podcast platform. You're listening to, whether it's on Apple or Spotify, we're on a bunch of places, I love if you could share it, give us a rating and review. We're continuing to try to grow the audience, help more agencies become that best version possible. If you want to check out our book, please do. sitkins.com/BVP. So with that, I wish you and your agency all the best and your success. Thanks for listening.

Order your copy of Best Version Possible now

 Other "Clicks" in this Series:

Click #1 - Small Thinking 

Click #2 - Teams

Click #3 - Activity vs. Results

Click #4 - Renewals to Referrals

 

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