JOIN NOW
MEMBER LOGIN

HOME

AGENCIES

SPEAKING

OUR STORY

UPDATES & EVENTS

CONTACT US

UPDATES

Collaborate and Thrive: Specialty Risk Success Story with Chance Morgan

 

Welcome to the Agent Leader podcast. My name is Brent Kelly. I am your host. I am delighted to be with you today. And today I have a very special guest I'm super excited to have a great conversation with. In fact, he's one of our members. Their agency is one of our Sitkins Network members for a long time. Longtime friends, longtime participants, and a lot of things through Sitkins and Roger Sitkins over the years. And I think more importantly to you, the agent leader I know in our prior conversations I know today this gentleman is going to have some great things to share, some takeaways to think about, about growth, about culture, about whatever else we talk about, which could go lots of different directions. I have Chance Morgan with me today and technically he's the sales and product development person at Specialty Risk Insurance in southwest Missouri. But as we were joking before we went live, first of all they don't have titles. Number two is he's probably got about 15 of them, plus if there actually were, so Chance welcome to the podcast.

Chance:

Thank you Brent. It's really a pleasure to be here. And I know we've had these conversations a lot off and on and they're always fun. Maybe they're less fun when you're being recorded, but we'll see how that goes. It is funny you bring that up already about the titles. I mean we believe since we started 12 years ago, that you start giving people a title that just really tells them what they don't have to do. And so we don't believe in titles. Granted the insurance industry loves them and they don't know how to talk to you until they know what title you have. And so we enjoy filling out different titles on different applications to let them know that, yeah, I'm capable of answering this question for you even though my title doesn't make you think so. And so we have a lot of fun with it. So I've been a maximizer and a product and development guy. We joked earlier, I'm just the guy that you can come in and talk to the counselor. So sometimes we actually do construction work like the fence out front we built. So just whatever needs to be done is what we do.

Brent:

Yeah, definitely a lot of roles. Obviously a big reason I want to talk to you is that your agency has been very successful and of course people can define success in a number of different ways. And I think you've already alluded to, I think a big part of your success is let's be very frank, your agency is unique out in the world and how you do things and how you view things and some of your philosophies. And here's the better news, you've had great results. Not that you haven't stubbed your toes or made mistakes. I'm sure we'll talk about that. But yeah, it's an incredible story and obviously one of the things that you do is help support the agency, help support Kevin Charleston, the president. He's been on this podcast, it's been a few years ago since he's been on here, but it's just always exciting to catch up. And I know we were joking. We had a conversation a couple weeks ago on a different issue and we started just having conversations and I go, my gosh, this would be incredible to have on the podcast. There's so much value there. So now we're going to try to recreate that right Chance. We can do that. No pressure. So no pressure. Before I want to hear about lots of different things, but just give an overview if you would, of the agency, just kind of background of the agency, you're all about all those good things.

Chance:

So we're obviously just a standard independent type agency. We have contracts with hundreds of different companies and we sell about everything. We do a little personal lines, employee benefits, little safety, a little HR, but we're about 85% commercial. The rest is all kind of ancillary to serve our big commercial customers. Inside of that, 70% of our business is really connected to food, not specifically like chips necessarily, but we have snack food manufacturers, but basically any phase from the dirt to the plate. So we do a lot of livestock, a lot of farms, a lot of processing, a lot of shipping, a lot of ingredients. We're just really big in the AG world, but not just singularly farms or singularly livestock. And because of that we've been able to build a subset that people look for. It's nice to find someone that understands the food side. And so we've been able to work in about 45 different states on the last 12 years we've grown. We actually have a year over year growth of 32.4% for 12 years, which means if anyone's ever been taught the rule of 72 every two years and two months we double, which is nuts.

We haven't quite two years and two months doubled staff, but it gets close. And so we've now reached about a hundred staff members and it's, it's been a challenge in terms of just keeping up with people and of course culture and people are a key asset and so we think we're pretty good at it. But just as an agency, it's been, we're not in a very big town. Carthage has about 14,000 people. Lowell County we're in has about 200,000. We're two hours from Kansas City, we're two hours from Fayetteville, two hours from Tulsa, four hours from St. Louis. So we're tucked in the middle of the southwest and just not a lot of people.

Brent:

Yeah, there's a lot I want to unpack on this Chance because I think, and it's interesting, you live in that world and you do it every day and you've done it for years and years, like, oh, that's just kind of how we've done it. But I have no doubt it's some of the conversations people going to go, Hey, what you go back to your organic growth 32.4% and that's not one year and that was the exception, or it's just because of a hard market.

Chance:

When you take last 12 years and factor in the year over year, it is average 32.4%.

Brent:

Yeah, I think most agency owners and leaders would go, oh, I'll take that. So I do say that because if you haven't yet, lean into what Chance is going to share because it's really interesting. I think what I'm sure we'll go deeper into and I want to go deeper into is the fact that it's one thing to have that growth for a year or two. And we see that with a lot of agencies because you've got a good person, hard worker, a couple good producers, whatever it is, and they're out there doing it. And you guys had that years ago, but then it's like how do you replicate that? How do you build that in the fact that, oh gosh, now we need people to support this and these people that support us aren't necessarily like us and we started, but you've gone a very unique way and approach in how you've gone about that.

And by the way, if you want to get an idea of their culture, quick side note, go to the website and just look at the photos. You might notice a few cowboy hats. You're very authentic in who you are and what you do. So I want to start with that Chance, just the fact that you and you kind of hit it, how do you grow at that rate? I mean you said double every two years and two months to have that kind of growth and then support it with people who come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different ways they look at things, maybe different philosophies or how do you manage all that?

Chance:

The hardest part for us is that we realize that we're better off training both insurance and technology. So instead of just going out and recruiting people from other agencies that have insurance experience, we actually found that we're better off training them from scratch, slows us down a little bit. But what happens is we end up having four or five people start in batches. So we've also been able to position ourselves locally that we don't recruit much. We don't call many people. We don't run a lot of ads. We'll throw some on LinkedIn every now and then looking for something special. But in reality, people are calling us and so we're getting good agricultural minded, hardworking, middle of the country culture. They're walking in the door and saying, we understand you're a great place to work. So what we've done marketing wise, we've positioned ourselves is that we have a white collar agricultural job in southwest Missouri for you because there's a lot of kids that grow up in agriculture, but you're in the mud, you're in the muck, you're in the heat, you're in the cold.

And they all love it. They love the background, they love part of it. But at some point, some of them say, I kind of want to just do loans for a bank for farms. And so instead of just being the only agriculture, white collar jobs in the area at the banks, we've been literally teaching schools. We spend time with a lot of the local colleges all the way though. We go three hours away pretty much every direction. Anybody that has an AG program, we go pitch that. We have white collar jobs for you. Even to the point that if we bring someone in, say from Oklahoma City OSU, the best one to find is a couple AG kids that are in the dorm. So at summer they have to go home because the dorm kicks them out. Well, we'll pay them to come be an intern for three months or two months at their office and we'll rent them an apartment.

Well, they can't afford to go work somewhere and rent an apartment, but you give them apartment and pay them. Well, they don't go home. They come work for us for a few months. Well then what happens is they go back and work. So we've been able to find people by just recruiting heavily as interns, but also when we do find someone at college, Hey, go build this little processing team. We paid one guy a dollar an hour override, and he hired three people to process underneath him while he was at school, and we hired all four of them when they graduated. One since went on to work for a bank, but the other three are still here. So I mean, it's just culturally, we've just tried to tell young people that we have a place that you're going to want to work if you want to be in AG and not have to be in the cold, in the heat.

Brent:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that approach for a lot of different angles. And I want to go again, go deeper in this, but I think one of the things you said initially, Chance we talk about this, and again, some agencies do a good job, some agencies struggle, but it's like, well, we just need to find people that have some insurance knowledge or experience and then we will kind of straighten it out and figure it out and get them in our approach, which is hard because those people, maybe they're good, maybe they're not, but they come with prior habits, prior ways of doing things. And what you said is we're going to get them before they have any bad habits and we're going to treat them from scratch. And something that we talk about and I've talked about in this podcast is the number one role of an agency leader above anything else is to grow and develop your number one asset, your people.

And you all take that on literally, that's what you do. And of course the outcome is the growth around that. Now I'm guessing there's probably a person that you're listening going, wait a second. So you just go find, can you mention the college stuff and you find people who have the right attitude, the right spirit, you can get a sense of as a person and then you train them. How do you do that Chance? Now again, I know it probably varies, but just give me an overview of how do you do that? What does that look like? What's the process?

Chance:

No, it's a great question. And it's funny, it's our biggest challenge today. Still we're never satisfied. As weird as that sounds, even though we know we've been successful, we've never just woke up one day and said, you know what? That's good enough. That phrase doesn't exist here. That's good, but that's good. But where the coach that was never super friendly was like, okay, yeah, you scored a run. You're supposed to, oh, you made the tackle. Yeah, well you need to go make 22 more so we can win this game. But we're not that touchy feely. We have some others around here that fill in those roles a lot better than we do. But what we do look for first and foremost is the phrase we actually use is "would we enjoy spending the day in the truck with them" if the person we're sitting across interviewing who wants to come work for us?

If at the end of the interview, end of the day, end of the conversation, everyone looks at each other and says, I would enjoy spending the day in the truck with that person. That's the number one rule to get hired here. That doesn't mean that they're not weird or a little odd or a little strange because we do appreciate the differences, but because what happens is we spend so much time together, we become so cliche. Everyone says its a family, but we treat you like family. You are ours to raise. It's a little bit of a biblical concept, but once you're in our circle, you're ours to take care of. And so we live in that world, and so you have to be one of us and we are one of you. And so it makes real easy, I have a lady that sits out in front of me.

We hired her from a bank not too long ago. Finally after about three weeks here, she just turned and said, "holy crap, you all really do like each other." No, we really aren't just kidding. Everyone says it. Roger's favorite thing, "we exceed expectations!" But you don't even know my expectations. No, we're a family. And then you go meet the people and nobody likes each other. So that's the number one thing. We find people that truly are a fit personally and then we teach them the insurance with that. We maybe lose a few more out of it than we like, but we never lose the friendship. So when they don't make it in the insurance or they don't like the field or they don't like what we're doing, they still leave and we go find them jobs with our customers. We've even sent people to our competitors because they had a role that we didn't.

So that's the number one thing. Then training wise, we do have a two month kind of plan laid out that walks them through both teaching them our technology. We use applied Epic and then also insurance, getting them licensed, teach them the insurance. But then we've also been building Specialty Risk University and it is literally going to be a platform of a hundred level entry level topics. Next year we'll go to 200 level, then 300 level and 400 level. Eventually we may even offer master's, but it's very early in our development. I can't tell you much about it. For instance, I teach an insurance 101 class and the very first thing we define is what is insurance? What is a deductible? What's an underwriter? We literally teach them the language. Weirdly enough, we have people that have been insurance for 20 years and I've taught the class and they go, I didn't know this one thing.

And not that there was anything special about the class, it was intentional. We took the time to say, here are the things that you should know. And then they're like, wow. Actually no one had ever said that. So we teach accounting 101, we teach property. But we've also gone through our state association and we've hired a trainer and we do CISR classes in our office for ourselves. We don't send them off. We bring in the trainer for two days, half the team goes one day, the other half team goes the other day. And now that we've gone through the first 18 months of that, we have nine people that all got CISR certified last week. So it's just a constant education discussion.

Brent:

Yeah. Chance again, you guys live that out. Again, not that there's not challenges or frustrations, but how do I grow and develop these people? And it's not that family is just a cliche. You're right, because a lot of people say it, but what hit me on this, first of all, if you didn't write this down, I mean again, maybe you're not in a truck so you have a different thing, but do we enjoy spending the day? Would we enjoy spending a day with them in the truck? What a great question. Basically, are we compatible? I mean, that's number one. And then I think what else is interesting Chance? You mentioned too that some people maybe it doesn't work, but in those situations, whether you help them find them different employment outside or even at a competitor, what I'm hearing in this as a family is even though maybe this isn't a good fit right here and we don't want to waste the rest of your life being frustrated and we're frustrated and you're frustrated, we love you enough to tell you the truth. We also love you enough to do what's best for you, and I want to help you go do what's best for you and it's not here. And that's cool.

Chance:

And we had that same conversation even in every process. The most extreme one we had is we talked to this young lady and she had this love for spending time on literally hog farms.

And she'd had some internships or educational was in it, and finally we just said, hold on, why aren't you applying at hog farms? She goes, I don't know a lot of them. And I got out of school and I'm supposed to find a job, and all my family and friends told me about this place. And they're like, hold on, here's three numbers. Call them. Well, she called those, she left, called those people and got a job at one of those farms. If it's not a fit, it's not a fit and it has to be good for both. Sometimes people forget in the business relationship, if it's not good for both the vendor and the buyer, at one point, one of them is gone.

The vendor loses the buyer or the buyer loses the vendor. And so we treat all interactions that way. It really does have to be good for both parties or one of the parties eventually leaves. And so we've told people that they live too far away and with their family situation, we highly recommend that they go over to look at some other people that do this because it's too much. It's too much out of your family. Another rule, if you don't want to go to your kids' football game or a basketball game or a tennis match or concert recital, you don't belong here. You're the wrong person.

Brent:

Say that again. Hopefully people got it, but say it again. Your philosophy there.

Chance:

So our philosophy is we have teams. You're all backed up by teams. And if you're not doing everything you can to leave and go watch your kids' event, tennis, concert, choir, band, whatever, football, if you're not making arrangements so you can be gone and at that event you are the wrong person, you should not work here, you do not belong in this culture because that is number one for us. We have literally told people to leave the building because their kid has a tennis match that starts in 30 minutes and we will take care of it. Leave you only have a small window with your children. Don't miss a minute

Brent:

And listen as a dad of five kids who one's already in college and it's going quick and next one will be there soon. Yes. Amen.

Chance:

Kevin and I raised our kids through this. I mean his were teenagers and mine were two, and so his are now, well one's here and is on their third baby and mine are 23 and 21. And so our events are done. And so it's funny, we still believe that before events were done, but now that they're done - woo! Almost makes you a little teary.

Brent:

Yeah. Oh yeah, it does. There's always areas of perspective in life and I think we get into it, and again, I get this way too Chance where you just get so focused and we're going to do this and do this and grow here and do this. And all of a sudden, in fact, I had a conversation with my wife, I'm like, you know what? We talk about our last child who was kind of a surprise in our family and she's already going to be seven. And I'm like, oh my God, I'm going to blink again. I'm going to be 56 years old and she's going to be gone and I'm going to go, what was I doing? And again, maybe for you, it's something else. It's not kids, right? Whatever. But I think the point of it is it's don't miss the big things.

Chance:

And if you don't believe those are big things, then you're just really not a fit here.

Brent:

To tie that back in your culture is, well, I'm going to get into the real substance we were talking. That to me is I don't know if you can shape this is the mission or whatever. Before I get into that, I did want to address one thing. You said something that really caught my ear about we do really good. I could argue you're probably doing great in some cases if you just compare it. But you're always going, what's next? What's possible? What are we missing? What's our next level? And I think there's, again, there's challenges here. No agency's perfect. Your agency will never be perfect, but to me it's the fun and the challenge of if it's just about money, it's about winning. How do we win at higher levels? Which by the way, winning is fun. And I want you to address this because one thing Roger and I have been talking in the last few weeks and I've added to my speaking engagements is that I was telling agencies how many here, by show of hands are getting good results? You're like, probably okay. And I go, Hey, good news, bad news. The good news is you're probably getting good results. The bad news is you're likely caught in a good results trap because immediately that causes complacency. It's like, what's the hardest championship to win? Well, they could say the first, but quite frankly, the second one's even harder. We did it.

We don't have to do all that work anymore. I'm like, yeah, you kind of missed it though. That's what got you there. Absolutely. So anyway, address that if you would.

Chance:

Well, it is tough. And what's funny is that we don't have measurements like that that we ever really look at. I could tell you right now, we're a small flea in the world of insurance. When you start looking at the aggregators, and of course just the purchasers and just the HUBs and the Marsh's we're tiny, but we don't believe they do anything that we can do. And so we're a little fearless and like, oh, let's do it. Why not? But that also helps us in that we don't wake up every day and judge ourself based on that. We've never actually had a monetary or a numerical or a measurement goal. Kevin talked a long time ago, we talked about Sun Tzu, the Art of War and that sometimes you can be egotistical with your goals and your measurements and to avoid that. And so we have short-term kind of concepts where, hey, we're going to go to being a regional firm, we're going to go to being a more national firm. We're going to work on building teams, we're going to work on building our education system. But we've only had one long-term goal since the agency opened 12 years ago, and that was to build a place our kids want to work

Brent:

Just for a second, I'm want to stop here. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I want to slow down because I don't want this to be missed because this really was, I mean, I'm going to give a little backstory. So last year we had an in-person event, which you and Kevin both said, we had so many things going on, you come, there's so many things going on, we get it. But you were there, you leaned in, we had great conversation, and then you mentioned this to other agency leaders in the room about your philosophy. So I want you to share that again and then expand upon that means what the results have been, what you've learned.

Chance:

It was funny, it almost felt a little pedestrian in that meeting that you're talking about. There were so many fantastic agencies and they had all this measurement and all these goals and they were going to increase growth by so much in a next quarter and profit. And I almost think it ended up being us last. We were kind of hiding. I don't know how to answer this question and what we're going to go home and measure. And so I just finally said, we don't have these goals. We only want to build a place our kids want to work. And if your kids don't want to work here or you don't want your kids to work here, what are you doing to fix it? And that goes for every single person that works here.

And so that means are you building a family culture? Are you making your job a better job? If you don't like being account manager and grinding away all day because you're doing small farms or you're doing personal lines, what are you telling us to do to make this something you would want your kids to come do? If you think we should have more time off or less time off or another office or you have the flexibility to tell us in any way you believe would make this a place your kids would want to work. Now we back that up too in that almost every whiteboard in the building has drawings. Everybody's office has a whiteboard, some use renewals. Mine's got a list of stuff we're doing for a new headquarters we're building, but there's notes from kids, hi dad. Or Hey, Chance. I mean, everywhere you look in the building, there's drawings or notes from kids on whiteboards and nobody walks in and says, Hey, that's not professional.

We can't have those here. It's like we work around them for months. And finally, I think I had one on the one outside my office that had been out there for almost two years. I'm like, okay, I could probably erase this now. I cleaned the whole thing, but kids are welcome now, we're not a daycare, we still have work to do, but we want your kid if they're swinging by, even if they're 18 years old, 19, 20, you want to swing by and grab a drink from the refrigerator, just come in and say hi to dad and grab one and leave. Just come say hi. And so we have a lot of kids that say, I want to do what dad does. I want to do what mom does. But that also means when you go home, you don't go home and complain. You don't go home and just blah, blah, blah, blah complain here, let's fix it. Let's do something about it. So it has this enormously holistic thing that almost never runs out of tentacles, but it's literally our only number one goal. And we preach that every year at our annual meeting

Brent:

Chance. You've heard Roger or myself, someone probably at Sitkins at some point or many times over the years, say the one thing question, what's the one thing so that by doing, it'll make everything else easier and unnecessary. And I'm like, that's a great one.

Chance:

The one thing,

Brent:

And my brain was taking me places. I've heard you talk about this before, we've had conversations, but what hit me as you were saying that, boy, from a subconscious level, you're thinking about things that are bigger than you. I mean, you really are. It's a bigger picture of things. If you're frustrated, like you said, I think this idea when you said, let's fix it, but it's also a concept of make the place better than when you found it.

Chance:

Yep.

Brent:

I mean, so there's that tied into it, and then of course the fix it part of it is like come up with solutions versus just gripe and complain because if it's a place you want your kids to work, well then I've got to leave it better than I found it and I've got to come up with solutions versus only talking about the problems.

Chance:

It also means it has to exist. So we have to be future thinking. We have to be aware. We have to be prepared to meet what's coming good and bad. I think we've always been pretty willing to say, we'll invest in ourselves. We are not the field of dreams. You build that they will come, but we have been at times we think it's coming. Let's build it. Let's be ready. We have a big concern. We're moving buildings in a couple of weeks and it's going to be on a US interstate and literally across the street is the largest stockyards in America, our neighbors across the street, they build pens and metalwork for farms and AG. I mean, we are actually going to change our exposure by such a level. We're a little concerned we can't keep up with demand once we open that door. So we've been hiring great. We don't even have a chair to put people in, and we have four people starting the next week. They're literally going to sit in someones office with them until we move. But we know we have to be prepared for the challenge that's coming. I don't know. We've been pretty fortunate. We never seem to run out of new business opportunities.

Brent:

Yeah, well, I mean it's a testament to doing the right things. I mean, I think part of that Chance is listen, as you're saying, it hits me. It's like what areas do we, do I, do agencies overcomplicate things sometimes?

Chance:

I think we do, but we're also pretty simple guys - just take care of it. And so if there's something that needs to be done, just go do it. If you see what's coming, why aren't you doing anything about it? Back to why do we have titles? Because, well, I'm not my job to worry about accounting really. Why not? She needs help, but they need help. If I see something coming, why wouldn't I want? Vice versa? So we just don't, like you said, when the one thing's, the one thing, how to make this place a place, your kids that want to work, it does involve all aspects. And so you have to be really cognizant of the 360 view.

Brent:

Yeah. Well, and I think too, we don't have to go over deep in it, but I mean to me, if you have a foundational principle or philosophy that is your guidepost or what shapes so many things in many ways makes decisions easier in the sense of, oh, well, does it fit with that? If the answer is yes, then yeah, we consider we do it. If it doesn't, we don't do it.

Chance:

Absolutely. My best example of that in the world, and maybe it's not a book tour, but Patrick Lencioni has a book 3 Rules for a Frantic Family.

Brent:

Yes

Chance:

It's my number one gift to give everyone in the office that has a family, if you'll take the time to narrow down the three things that you choose, all of your decisions off of your life becomes so simple.

Brent:

By the way, you recommended that to me years ago, and I don't know if you sent it to me or I don't remember, but I

Chance:

Think I sent you one actually,

Brent:

And I read it and I loved it and it actually reminds me of I need to read that book again. So there you go. It is, it hit me. Obviously he does a great job in his business.

Chance:

I keep multiple copies on my desk. Someone walks in and we start and I'm like, you know what? You should read this. Come talk to me about it.

Brent:

In fact, sorry, podcast listeners, but in fact, I was looking for that over the last couple months and I couldn't find it. And I'm like, I think I gave it to somebody and I just realized I don't remember who. So now I'll just get more copies and give it to more people.

Chance:

It's literally one of my favorite things to share, because I used it personally. I took it home and my wife read it and I read it and we talked about it, and we literally made decisions that for the next 10 years guided everything we chose to do. Our kids' schedules changed or the things they participated in, the things they didn't. But that's again, you back to the one thing. Technically that's three things, but the one thing that makes it really easy to, it's that guidepost. All our decisions are based on is this going to make it better for the future?

Brent:

And again, I want to be respectful of your time here because I got a couple more questions I want to ask you. You think about the amount of decisions that goes through any human's brain in a day, should I do this, should I do that, should I do that? Should we do that right here? And so to have those where they could guidepost, guardrails, whatever term you want to use, take some of the pressure off. I just need to do these things.

Chance:

So we really believe in narrowing it down to what really matters. A lot of opportunity out there. We're never going to run out of opportunity. Roger said for 20 years, you drive by more insurance on your way to work than you'll ever write. Yeah. Well, then let's just whittle you down and make choices. What fits us?

Brent:

Yeah, yeah. I think its also something to the effect of every problem I've ever had in my life started as a career opportunity.

So I thought that was another one. Of course, back to your guardrails, go, okay, that fit. Okay, let's look at that now it doesn't. So I do want to ask Chance because when we had a conversation a couple of weeks ago, you mentioned, I want to give a practical example of this. I don't think you would share it if I didn't ask, and I think it's important obviously when you're a family, families have issues, struggles, challenges, there's death, there's sickness, whatever. I know you had a recent example of someone on your team who was dealing with something and I just thought it was fascinating of your approach and maybe other agencies do this, which is great, but it was not even, it was what we did. So could you share that story?

Chance:

Oh, absolutely. And I think you're going to find a lot of great examples where great agencies do great things. This does help explain a little bit of a philosophy we have in that we don't have a PTO schedule. We don't have a vacation schedule. We literally kind of joke that if you need a vacation, you should probably take one. If you're sick, you should stay home. But what happens is that we want to keep it flexible. We want to keep this lean concept of if you need to do it, go do it. Just make sure your team's prepared. But we actually had a lady that worked for us and she was actually on a business meeting where she was getting some training for a commuter system and her husband went to the emergency room, toughest guy in the world. The fact that he went to the emergency room was already an alarm bell.

The next day was regular, came home. She came home and found out he had stage four cancer and wasn't going to be long. We immediately, we sent her home. We actually literally bought a freezer and butchered a cow and filled it, gave her a months worth of cash and told her to stay home. And we got her covered. And over the next few months we continued to pay her as if she was working every day and she kept asking us for a computer so she could work on some emails and stuff, and we would conveniently forget to bring it and go see her and be like, oh, we don't know, we forgot it or whatever. We were never going to bring her computer. And I think about 60 to 70 days later, her husband ended up passing and then we gave her some time to get through that.

Well, when she came back, about 90 days after that started, she got to come back to work with us as part of her family and friends. We didn't take the last 60 days away from her. Instead, we gave her a respite and a break and a chance to finish out that time and then come back and feel like she wanted to be back instead of, I can't believe those guys stole this from me. And so that's the example we explained to our coworkers that this is why we have to protect our system of if you need a vacation, you should take one. If you're sick, you should stay home. We're not telling you you have two weeks or three weeks or four weeks or 0.8 hours per day or whatever. We're just adults. You work, we pay you. It's really simple. In fact, it's all connected.

Kevin has these thoughts. They're all, we do a few things that are weird. We pay once a month. I see Burger King offering on the sign that they pay daily, that we pay once a month. We find out that over time people clean up their credit, they clean up their finances, they clean up things. We help a new person get through. We'll pay them weekly for the first few months they need to, but we get them to same time, we pay them once a month. On top of that, we're going to make sure that you're taken care of. If you need to go somewhere, go somewhere, even if you've been here a week, but if you've been gone too long, we're going to say, Hey, you've been gone too long. Maybe we should bear this back a little bit. But most importantly, they have a team that's depending on it. And so as long as the team's backing them up, it really doesn't. Nobody misses it. Nobody knows. And that took us a long time to build, but we're still building, we're still now we're working on leadership of the teams. We had no teams and now we have 10 teams, and so now we're trying to build 10 leaders of those teams.

Brent:

It's fascinating too because part of this too is do the right thing, treat people as they should be treated. I mean, just basic foundational things. And part of this too, and you've addressed this in different ways, there's certainly accountability higher stuff, right? You got to do your job at a higher levels. It all blends together, right? It's not like it's one or the other, right? It's both. And I think that's what's been so powerful and so interesting. I've got Chance, do you have time for two quick questions, but you can make them as quick as you can. First one is a bit self-serving, and I'm actually interested too. You have going back years ago when attending some bootcamps have been part of Sitkins to some degree for a long time, and it's funny you said as far as the person riding in the truck with you, one of our concepts of Sitkins, we want to have our members to be someone you can go up on stage and put your arm around that mentality. But I'm curious, from your experience, whatever it is, what do you think has been the biggest impact? I don't know if I ever asked you this question, so I'm curious if the relationship with Sitkins and what you guys have done.

Chance:

The Sitkins relationship's an interesting one because we don't catch how often we use some of the same concepts and phrases, and I do know that when you guys rebooted and we joined right away and sent our first producer, he came back and kind of cussed us. He goes, you've been using this stuff on me for years, and I didn't even know it. Kevin was in the first class of the Sitkins 100 and I was in maybe the third one or fourth one, I don't know. I think 2006. So yes, we've been around a lot. So the foundational things work really well for us. They're just beliefs, and to be fair, they've helped build some of the things we've just discussed, but number two, the relationships. We don't believe anyone's really a competitor. You obviously use the word, we actually like to joke that we don't like to get to know our competitors because a lot of times we like them.

Brent:

That's great.

Chance:

Well, that's the Sitkins guys. You end up liking them. But what's funny is that they don't feel we're competitors. We don't think they're a competitor and you end up talking. I know, interestingly enough, Kevin's daughter always joked, I will never work for Kevin. She played softball at division one Texas State and ended up changing a major to a business degree, and at the end she needed an internship and Kevin thought, what if we got her an insurance internship? Turns out there's a little company down there called TCOR who literally changed their name to Total Cost of Risk because of Sitkins, and I was friends with those guys, and so I just called them up and said, "Hey, boss's daughter wants an internship. I go, I'm just warning you if it works, we're going to steal her back."

And they hired her. She worked down there for about a year and a half, and she ended up deciding to move home and found a nice young man in the works, and she did finally leave and came up. They tried to keep her, they put in the safety side contract side, so she didn't really learn any insurance stuff that they could use against us. But no, that type of relationship with Sitkins is powerful and we've even used it to our own good. She's now in charge of operations here and her husband is one of our top producers. And so that's the beauty of Sitkins is you get to just find people that think like you or more importantly believe in the same concepts, but maybe have a different thought process. But yeah, we actually do. Just like when we went down to your session last year, everyone in that room was different, but all in the same kind of mindset. Let's grow, let's be better. Let's succeed. But not just for the sake of, I got to be number one.

Brent:

Yeah, there's a deeper meaning to that. It's really fascinating Chance. I mean there are a lot of different aspects and types of people, and I mean just the way they look at things, but I think there's certain commonalities. I mean even going back to the fact of we wrote the book Best Version Possible, there was a reason we didn't set out to write, let's do a book called Best Version Possible. We just started talking about, well, how do we define this? Because every agency's different and it's not always about a metric. I mean, yeah, there's certain aspects, but it's like what if they just realize that there is a better version, a best version of them, and the leaders and the agencies are seeking that knowing there's no perfection, but why would you not want that? Or at least to go that direction. I think that's the belief system. And they may have different types of ways they do things, niches of business, different processes to a degree, but the beliefs are very similar.

Chance:

Well, and you're right, we obviously believe the same thing. We want to be the best version possible. And that's again back to what, even if I don't use all the tools that Sitkins gives me, you've still given me nomenclature and common language and ways that we can express it that everyone does understand. It's very powerful because words matter if you go around your office and no one's using the same words you are and they don't believe the same thing you do.

Brent:

Yeah, they do. It's always fun too. Everybody's got their own vernacular and we appreciate that. But to see agencies that have mirrors or different things, is this your best version possible, it's like, oh, cool. It meant something. That's the power behind that. And of course, certainly in the stories you've shared today. Alright, one final question. This is all about you and I gave you a little idea of this question. I don't know where your brain is on, but I love ask this question to every interview, and it's very straightforward. If you Chance, were having a conversation with a younger version of Chance and let's just say getting out of college or starting your professional career, whatever it is, you're early in your career. If you were having that conversation and that young Chance looked up at the current Chance and said, Chance, old Chance, older Chance, I'm going to call you old Chance wise Chance, give me one piece of advice, what would you give that younger version of yourself?

Chance:

Like you said, I knew it was coming and then there's so many technical things you can think of, but at the end of the day, the thing that's been on my mind lately is if I could have embraced being kind earlier, I think I would've had more joy, more pleasure, and so would the people around me. I'm not saying I was a mean guy, but it's easy to think, forget. It's easy to forget that everyone has something going on that you might not know, and it's easy to want to just jump right into them to say, Hey, this isn't working, or Why are you doing this? Versus just, are you okay? We've gotten better at it here and doing it more often and being more involved in just saying, are you okay? It's amazing that they almost start healing themselves. You almost don't have to coach how to fix it. You just have to help them get through it. So if I could have known a lot earlier how much better everyone's life would be, including mine just being kinder.

Brent:

Yeah. Well that's really good. It's interesting because it's basic but powerful, and I think that's why it's powerful. It's basic, and I won't share it here, but I was just thinking, was it last week or two weeks ago? I was traveling. It was last week, long day, got delayed again, you get in your own little world and I got this and I got to do this, and I get in an Uber car, Uber van with this guy, an older gentleman, and it's like he had the most amazing story. And part of me wanted to be like, I'm done for the day. I just want to get in and just ask questions. Well, tell me how you did that. Why was that? What was the impact? And what's fascinating is I know you've experienced this and it's not easy, but when you do that and you're filling, helping fill someone else's cup, yours grows.

Chance:

The thing we say around here, when you spend your day making everybody's day better, you have the best day,

Brent:

Best day. What a great day. And the day you're running around all, and I got to do this and why isn't this happening? I need this. And we all have them. We're human, right? You get back and you're like, you might've got more done technically, but you've got way less fulfillment and probably less outcome for sure.

Chance:

Absolutely. That's the number one thing my younger self would be taught.

Brent:

Wow. Well, Chance, thank you so much. I told you 30-ish minutes and here we are an hour later. I kind of had a feeling.

Chance:

I'm happy to spend it with you.

Brent:

Yeah, it's great. It's important conversation. I think obviously I want to have you on here because the stories you tell and what your agency is doing, yes, there's agencies that are doing great things for sure, but I think your agency is a very unique and powerful story that needs to be shared. I think people, if they take one thing from what you said, Hey, that's something we should consider or implement or get that book or whatever it is, it's super powerful, super powerful. So I want to thank you for that. As far as you, the agent, leader, listener, if you want to learn more about what we do with agencies, if you want to be Chance and their team to some degree, if you go to Sitkins.com/bookacall See what we're doing for agencies now is certainly want to get to know you. We'll run an agency assessment if it's qualified, we'll provide you with the plan and that point you can determine if makes sense to join the network, be part of that and become best friends with Chance and his team. How's that? So Chance, thanks so much. Any final comments from you before we wrap up?

Chance:

No, I just appreciate your time and your guys' friendship. We love spending time with you, even if it's virtually looking forward to seeing you again in person.

Brent:

Yeah, me too, me too. So, alright, Chance, we appreciate it. And as Agent Leader podcast listener, thank you for listening. Wish you all the best and your success. Take care.

 

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

Helping independent insurance agencies achieve their dreams for over 40 years.

BOOK A CALL

QUICK LINKS

MEMBERSHIP | SPEAKING | BOOK
SALES | SERVICE | LEADERSHIP
AGENT LEADER PODCAST
ASSOCIATIONS | CARRIERS
CONTACT US

CONTACT

5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd
Suite 107
Fort Myers, FL 33907
239.337.2555 | 877.SIT.KINS