Originally I was going to say “plateaued owners and producers,” but the reality is you cannot afford to have any employee who has “retired in place.” We talked about this in our Profit Zones articles in the May and June issues. As I discussed at that time, if you have any RIP employees who aren’t following the system, not doing their job and not embracing change, your agency will plateau because RIP becomes contagious. That’s why every employee must be viewed as a Profit Zone.
Often, it’s the employees with seniority who not only refuse to do certain new and agreed-upon tasks, they get away with it. In other cases, there are employees who just don’t care. Either way, their attitudes and actions have a negative impact on all other employees in the office.
At most agencies, there are two kinds of workers. There are the ones who dread their jobs and only show up to “make the donuts.” As workers, they crank out the bare minimum and can’t wait to go home. And then there are JOBs—an acronym for employees who Jump Out of Bed because they’re so excited about going to work.
Remember, you can coast in only one direction. And if the entire agency starts coasting, look out—it’s an avalanche! I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying, “It’s coming in the front door and going out the back.” If all your producers are just limping along, selling some and losing some, you’re going to lose it all because you’re going to get replaced by a true relationshipbased agency or the Internet.
Whenever I give a speech or conduct a training program, I’m always amazed at how little outside reading people seem to do. Often, when I refer to a book that I’ve read and think is relevant to our industry, I’ll ask how many people in the audience have read it. Typically, very few hands go up. I’m not talking about some obscure title, but best-sellers like Tony Robbins’ new book, Money: Master the Game. Incredibly, most of the audience hasn’t even heard about it. It makes me wonder if anyone reads anything but sports scores or restaurant menus anymore.
If your agency doesn’t have a learning culture, or if you as an individual don’t possess a learning mentality, then you’re going backwards. I believe that learning gives you an unfair advantage. Anyone can have basic insurance knowledge. But it’s the higher-level thinking about emerging risks, business acumen, the marketplace, etc., that gives you an edge. If your agency is just doing the minimum in an effort to earn continuing education credits to keep your license, guess what? You’re killing your agency.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or a competitive salesperson, keep in mind that there is always someone out there who’s working harder to succeed than you. Unless you are continuously driven to improve, they’ll outdo you. Even so, only about 2% will implement long-term, meaningful change, as many studies have shown over the years. The reason they can and the other 98% can’t is because they’re committed to learning. You don’t get better by just showing up.
I hope these five points become “anti-models” for you. If any of these five jumped out at you, I hope you’ll make a commitment not to kill your agency, but to help it prosper. It’s your choice.
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