At one of our CEO programs earlier last year, Brent Kelly, our vice president, asked me what it takes for an agency to be the best it can be. But it was what he asked me next that changed how we approach everything we do and has become the catalyst for massive, rapid improvements for everyone who attends our life-changing events, including our CEO, Sales Leadership, Producer, and Account Manager programs.
His question: “If you were having a conversation from your heart, using your almost 40 years of coaching the highest performing agencies and producers, what would your message be about becoming the best version possible (BVP) of yourself and your agency?”
This is important for agency owners, of course. But I also believe it’s something all of us as individuals should be asking ourselves. I can tell you it’s had a major impact on me personally, as well as everyone we’ve shared it with.
After Brent first asked me that question, I literally could not sleep, as it hit me that I’m not the BVP of me! The images Brent’s question generated, both good and bad, kept running through my head, eventually forcing me out of bed and to my computer at 3:00 a.m. There I began an online search using the keywords “being the best version of myself” and discovered this:
“Close your eyes and imagine the best possible version of you. That’s what you really are. Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it!”
I’m not sure why this idea had such a great impact on me, but maybe it’s because it’s something most of us never think about—or haven’t until now. At that point, there was no way I could sleep, so I began revising the opening for our CEO program. Here’s what I came up with, based on my online inspiration:
“Close your eyes and imagine the best possible version of your agency. That’s what you really want to become. You’ve got to let go of any part of your agency that is an obstacle, anything that’s holding it back from becoming the best agency possible.”
It’s been absolutely amazing to see the immediate improvements our Sitkins Network leaders and producers have begun to make simply by focusing on their best possible version!
Obstacles and frustrations
I believe too many agency leaders and producers sell themselves short and never truly maximize their potential. All too often they are caught up in the business of being busy, dealing with countless day-to-day frustrations and obstacles that prevent them from growing.
That’s why I always ask agency owners: “What frustrates you the most about your agency today?” We’ve been collecting their responses and have found they are strikingly similar. Among them:
Do any of these hit home with you? If so, you might want to make a note of it.
Easy vs. hard
In life, in our careers, and in our businesses, we can either take the easy way out or the hard way in. We have found that most people will consistently take the easy way out. They refuse to do the harder things now that will have a tremendously positive impact on their future. For too many people, good is good enough!
To illustrate the point, imagine a circle—the EZ Circle (we spell it that way to help make it more memorable)—inside a square that represents the Hard Box. The EZ Circle represents your comfort zone, while the Hard Box represents the things most agencies ignore.
EZ Circle—The EZ Circle contains the things that keep us in our comfort zone, including:
As an industry, we are mass producing average agencies that take the “good is good enough” approach to getting results. Average agencies rarely if ever leave the EZ Circle.
Hard Box—Conversely, the very best agencies understand that all growth starts at the outer edges of our comfort zone. They’re willing to breach the edges of their EZ Circle to get great results. They focus their efforts on the Hard Box now, so they can become BVPs and have an easier and more successful life later.
Examples of behaviors you’ll see inside the Hard Box:
Drawing a distinct line between sales and service activities is one of the hardest things to do. Another is getting producers out of the office and following our Producer’s Perfect Schedule. This approach to time management allows them to have 10 appointments per week with Clients, Future Ideal Clients and Centers of Influence, which dramatically improves their TSS (Time Spent Selling).
What version are you?
One way to identify an agency’s BVP potential is to determine its willingness and ability to do the hard things. We believe all agencies can be categorized according to one of four versions. (Note: Upgrades are contingent on an agency’s ability to work outside its comfort zone.)
I consider Good to Great to be among the best business books ever. It contains one of the most quoted lines of our time: “Good is the enemy of great.” Similarly, it occurs to me that “good is good enough” is the enemy of becoming the Best Version Possible of your agency! Here’s why: Believing that good is good enough will get you three quarters of the way there and no further. At that point, you stop!
Another of my all-time favorite quotes is: “You don’t choose your future; you choose your habits (e.g., behaviors and strategies). Your habits choose your future.” In other words, it’s not about just looking at numbers to see if you’re the BVP. It’s about identifying and executing the BVP behaviors and strategies that become normal in an agency; the numbers are merely the outcome of that. Success becomes predictable and in fact guaranteed only when you consistently choose the behaviors and strategies that enable it.
The bottom line
We wholeheartedly believe that agencies have a responsibility to provide the tools and training their producers and other team members need to succeed. We also believe that these team members are responsible for executing the behaviors and strategies that result in success.
Are you ready to live a life of no regrets and stop postponing your success? If so, here are a couple of things to keep in mind: (1) nothing changes if nothing changes, and (2) hope is not a strategy. Your BVP is out there waiting for you. Don’t you owe it to your agency to discover it?
As always, it’s your choice.
Roger Sitkins, CEO of Sitkins Group, Inc., developed The Sitkins Network and The Better Way Agency program. Insurance professionals with diverse levels of experience have benefitted tremendously from his training and leadership.
Roger was inducted into the Michigan Insurance Hall of Fame in 2017 and in that same year also received the Dr. Henry C. Martin Award from Rough Notes magazine. He is known throughout the industry as the nation’s top insurance agency results coach. To learn more, visit www.sitkins.com.
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