#SitkinsIsTheSolution

Teams Click #2

podcast teams Jul 07, 2022
 

Brent Kelly:

Welcome to The Agent Leader Podcast. My name is Brent Kelly, your host. Thanks so much for joining me on another episode. And this is session number two or part number two of an eight part series that we've been doing. Last session, last podcast that's been released was the first of eight clicks. And these are all these clicks to your Best Version Possible. And if you can see behind me, if you're watching on video or you see my special guest, who I'll introduce in a minute behind his screen. All based around our Best Version Possible book and movie. In fact, you can get a copy of The Best Version Possible book. Just go to sitkins.com/bvp to get your copy.

Brent Kelly:

And in this podcast, this series, we're going through a series of clicks. And what we mean by clicks are these moments where as an agency leader, as an insurance professional, you go, "Maybe there's a different way. Maybe there's a nuance or an adjustment that I need to make in my thinking, my behaviors, maybe a specific action." So last session, last podcast, click number one was around limited thinking, right? And my special guest, which by the way, I'll go ahead and do a brief introduction, Roger Sitkins. The Sitkins Group is here with me. I'll give you a real introduction again in a second, but Roger's going to be joining me on every one of these clicks, and his observations and experiences.

Brent Kelly:

What we talked about in the last podcast was that so often limited thinking is what truly is producing limited results. And Roger gave a number of examples, and I shared some thoughts in this as well. Now, today we're going to get into the next click, which is about this fact that you can try to do this alone as an agency leader or you can build a team and encourage a team, equip a team and empower a team around you. So without further ado, I want to go ahead and introduce or reintroduce our special guest, Roger Sitkins, and just get a quick hello from Roger and maybe just his thought and nugget around this idea of going alone versus building a team. So Roger Sitkins, CEO, my mentor, welcome to The Agent Leader Podcast again.

Roger Sitkins:

Well, Brent, it's great to be back and today talking about the clicks again. This is a huge one. It's maybe one of the bigger clicks although I guess they're all huge, how they hit you, but this is one where you finally realize as an individual that you can't do it all. You can't get it done alone. And the reality is that you're not very good at all of it. There are only certain things you do that you're really great at. And I was sharing with you before we got started, a million years ago when I was playing football in college, you realize there are 11 positions on offense and 11 on defense. And also you've got some special teams.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah.

Roger Sitkins:

But you can't play all the positions. And the minute that a producer, a leader, an insurance professional says, "Oh, you're right. I can't do it all because I limit what I can get done, and I run out of time trying to play all of the positions on a team." So you've got to identify what you're really great at and spend your time there.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. It's, again, going back to the first click we talked about was the limited thinking. I mean, to me what hits me, Roger, maybe there's a better term for this, but this runs into limited capacity, right? You simply just run out of time and you talk about it all the time, it's the only diminishing asset that we have. You can't get it back. And wherever you are, if you're an agency, a leader running your agency, maybe you're a sales leader in your agency, a producer listening to this, there's always capacity issues.

Brent Kelly:

And I think what happens so often is that as a producer, a leader, an entrepreneurial mindset is that the thought, the idea is that, "I can do this all by myself because I will work harder and faster and stronger than anybody else." And we see, Roger, all the time that that's, I guess, great in spirit, but as far as execution, it falls way short. So I've got a few questions I want to get your thoughts around, Roger. The first is just overall. I mean, you give me a number of examples or whatever you want to share, but where have you seen agencies or producers... Right. Obviously work a lot with producers. Where do they get stuck or frustrated with the whole going it alone philosophy?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, they realize there only certain things they do that get them results. And of course we, and I'm sure everybody's heard this, I would hope they have, the Green Zone. The Green Zone is where a producer gets results and agency overall keeping their producers in the green zone. And as a reminder, the green zone activities are sales, relationship management, continuations and pipeline building. So we look at this as a producer and we say, "Well, what happens to them? What happens to these people that are supposed to be generating revenue?"

Brent Kelly:

Right.

Roger Sitkins:

They run out of time. And we talk about this all the time that time is the only diminishing asset a producer has. So once they realize that, "Hey, I'm out of time because I was spending time selling, servicing, marketing, technology," whatever maybe they're playing with versus saying, "You know what? The way that I can really grow and is when we hear that big click about green zone. And when I realize I can do that, then I start eliminating the plateaus." Because they plateau when they're not doing the right things. It's pretty simple, and something we're going to be talking about one of the future clicks is they're confusing activity with results and they get very frustrated because, "I'm just not growing. I'm not going where I really want to be." So I think that's a huge starting point.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. I think, Roger, you said that, it's the idea. And again, whether you're leading your agency or running your book of business as a producer, it's like the intention is like, "Hey, I've got these things I have to do and I'll get it done. I'll get it done. I'll get it done." And at some point you go, "I just can't." And what happens typically on what you described, and we'll get in more into this in future clicks, but it's a great setup. Is the fact that what's the first thing that typically falls off is a thing that they should be doing the most.

Brent Kelly:

And that's where the frustration is. "Well, I have to take care of this stuff." And because they've built a model and a philosophy of me, me, me, and there's parts that they are responsible for as me without thinking about what does this mean for we or who are the people around me that can help me do this at a higher level? You get stuck and you get stuck very quickly. So with that, another question here is just from your vantage point, Roger, what are some ideas that you have how agencies, again, and or producers, they can move more from the me to the we?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, first of all as a producer you have to understand that you do have your own book of business. It's really you're an entrepreneur whether you in an entrepreneurial company or national broker. You still have to think of your own book of business as a business and it's your Me, Inc. But then the big thing here is to understand that Me Inc is always still part of We Inc. And how do we together get things better? So it starts with that awareness and then realize that as an individual producer or as an agency leader, whatever it may be, "I can't, again, do it all." And it comes back to something that Dan Sullivan talks about all the time, unique abilities. What are the unique abilities you do that when you do them you love doing them, they give you energy and they get your great results?

Roger Sitkins:

And the vast majority of people do not spend the vast majority of their time doing those things they're uniquely qualified to do. So the minute they realize they can, the only way that the individual producers grow thus the agency grows is when they say, "Okay, my Me Inc, I've got to run it as a business. I've got to make sure I'm doing the right things. I've got to be playing the right position. But I realize that I have to utilize the We Inc part of this to help me grow." And so when every Me Inc realizes they're part of We Inc and something we're going to talk about yet today. I know, and we'll be talking about a lot in the future and they get alignment, then it's amazing what happens. Without it, it's hysterical activity on the way to the grave.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. As you said that, Roger, it hit me. I know you're obviously a lot of lessons from Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach, me too. Another one of his books is the book Who Not How, which talks about that. I mean, it's just as an entrepreneur, I know, even for me and you we've had discussions. We ask ourselves, "How are we going to do this? And how are we going to do this? And how are we going to do this? And how are we going to do this?" And it's like, and you go, "Wait a second. Who is the right person to do this?" And it's a different thinking. And I will tell, in my experience in working with agencies that are having great growth and profitability, one of the things it's a challenge for sure.

Brent Kelly:

But one of the things they've done really well is they've realized that there are certain things that they don't do very well and they let them go. And they allow other people to grow and flourish in those roles. And I think that's a challenge for leaders is that one of the things that... I think Roger, one of the things that you say all the time and because I want to give you credit is, "What got you here is not going to be the same thing that's going to get you there." And so you see agencies that work really, really hard. "I got to X. I got to two million or three million," or whatever that book size, it could be bigger than that.

Brent Kelly:

And they go, "Now what?" Well, now you got to readjust some of your thinking, which means you got to readjust some of your alignment just as you just alluded to. So I had a question written down here because it's something that you've talked about many times. I love it. You talk often about the curse of SAKU. And I'll let you do the acronym because it's yours. But the curse of SAKU, this is especially true with producers. So if you're leading producers or producer, listen up, all right. What is the curse of SAKU and what can producers do in particular, or if you're leading a team of producers, what can they do to avoid this dreaded curse?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, those of that are watching on video are seeing me smiling and laughing here a little bit. SAKU's Source of All Knowledge in the Universe. And SAKU, it's a great thing because everything's about you. I am the Source of All Knowledge in the Universe. And the minute you get stuck in that trap, you start telling people, "Call me." You say to your clients, "Call me, text me, email me. Call my cell phone, call me, call me, call me. You need anything, call me." And they're confused. This gets back to the confusing activity results, which again, we're going to do more on our next click, but what they're not realizing is that if everything has to go to you, you can't do everything.

Roger Sitkins:

You're asking people to send you things that you don't do. And it becomes a problem because the producer or the agency leader, whatever position says, "Well, nobody can do it as well as me," which you mentioned earlier. The reality is you're right. Most people can do. Most of the things you try to do better than you because it's their unique abilities. It's their DNA. But getting to the point where you no longer say everything has to come to me. And one of the great examples I love is that you'll see people that are in the office.

Roger Sitkins:

It's almost like people are lined up outside your door. Once you show up again, whether you're again, leader, producer or whatever service manager, they're lined up and they bring you things. And they always walk in whether they've got their tablet in their hand, their laptop or a piece of paper. They walk in and they say, "SAKU, we have a problem." But as they do it, they're taking whatever's in their hand and they're kind of handing it to you. And SAKU always says what? "Give it to me. I'll take care of it."

Brent Kelly:

I got it.

Roger Sitkins:

"I am SAKU. I can handle it." And the person gives it to you and says, "Oh thank you SAKU." And when they leave your office, they're going, "It's a great day. I got rid of a monkey." We call it monkey up delegation. They're taking a monkey off their back and giving it to someone else. And SAKU asks for the monkeys. "Give it to me, give it to me. Give it to me." There's a funny story about a dad that comes home from work. He's an agent, and it's family dinner. And he's got a seven year old son. And dad, as soon as he gets done with dinner he says, "I got to get on it." He goes, runs over and gets on his laptop and he is handling all this work. And the seven year old son looks at mommy and says, "Mommy, why is it that daddy always has to leave right away?"

Roger Sitkins:

"Well, honey, he can't get everything done at work. There's just so much for him." And the kid says, "Well, maybe they should put him in a slower class." And I just laugh about that, but it's true. If everything comes to you, you're not that good. And that was one of the most important lessons I ever had in life about you can't be SAKU. You can't be the Source of All Knowledge in the Universe. This comes back to the who, not what or who not how. And getting to the point where you say, "You know what? The only way I can really grow, whether it's my individual book of business or my agency overall, is when I realize I can't be SAKU."

Roger Sitkins:

And this comes back to something we talk about as far as the power of networking, is that if you're the smartest person in the room, in other words, everybody's got to come to you, you better go find a new room because there's somebody that's doing it way better than you. So the key here is if you're looking at it and you're saying, "Call me, call me, call me," that personal service. We say this tongue in cheek, but PS is BS. It is the agency that provides the service, not the agent. And as soon as people buy into that and they realize I have a team of people. Again, there's 11 players in football for a reason. Same thing here. Take any sport, take theater, take music, whatever. There's never just one. If there is, that's a one person show, they burn out pretty quickly.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. Roger, we joke. I mean, just to go on your football analogy, you know how much I love sports analogies too, but it's just, I mean, it is. I mean, we say it, people laugh and realize how stupid it sounds, but they do it. It's the fact that you can imagine snapping the ball to yourself, right? Then going back and then throwing the ball up in the air and then running down and catching it yourself, right? And you're like, "Well, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard." But agencies do that in different ways. So, "I got to do this and I got to do this and I got to do this and I got to do this." And it hit me. And this is very impromptu and this is a very bad acronym, but I came up with it while you were talking.

Brent Kelly:

So we can disregard it because you have given me the disease, Roger. I have the disease that you've passed on to me. But I wrote down, I said that it's another curse is called GALOS, G-A-L-O-S. G-A-L-O-S. It's being "good at lots of stuff." And the reason why it came up is one of our private clients on a call a few weeks ago, and we were talking about it. He's like, "I'm really struggling with it." And I said, "One of the problems you have," and I said, "Don't let this go to your head, is that you're good at lots of stuff. You can do this and you can do this and you can do this and you can do this. But the question is, should you? And is it your highest level? Is it helping you and your agency get truly where it needs to go?"

Brent Kelly:

And he goes, "I guess not." Right. So being able, I think, a big part of that, Roger, as a leader, if you're listening and producers is you got to be able to let go of some things, which by the way isn't easy. But if you don't let go, it's always going to hold you back, right? So think about it that way. If you don't let go of some of that weight, you're never going to get as far as you need to go. One thing too, I've got one question we talked about, Roger. Before I get there, I do want to make sure that I get some of your thoughts on this from a strategy perspective.

Brent Kelly:

One of the things that we teach is the idea of a high performance team and having some form of a service handoff. Could you for the audience... Again, we don't need to get into detail of this, but I think it's important in the sake of this conversation of talking about moving away from me to we, because you mentioned a little bit, but what is that high performers team and then within that, having a service handoff? And you touched on it, but what does that really mean for an agency and a producer, Roger?

Roger Sitkins:

Again, identifying the roles.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah.

Roger Sitkins:

Because what I say, it's the same goal, different roles, same goal retaining and obtaining ideal clients. But there's an acknowledgement and an appreciation of the different roles you play. So it starts at the point of sale or the point of continuation where you start educating the client of who they should deal with.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah.

Roger Sitkins:

And if it's always, "Call me, call me, call me," they're going to call you. They're going to email you. They're going to text you, all the things I already mentioned, versus saying at that point of sale or at that point of continuation where you're literally introducing the service team. Here's our team and a large account, you take them out there with you. On a mid-size account, if nothing else, it's laminated because it's so important as we always kid around about. But it's a laminated one pager that has the service person, claims person, accounting person, training person, whoever those positions are and the producer and the producer's the last one, we have their picture and their contact information.

Roger Sitkins:

And we're saying, "Here's the team that's going to support you." And think of the power of that where you're saying, "Here's our team, here's everything we do." And those business owners, those managers you're dealing with, they have a team. They don't do everything. Why do they have all of those other people? So you're saying for day to day service, this is who you talk to. So that's the beginning point. The email itself, for most agency leaders and for most producers, their email should always be out of office. I can't talk here. Out of office.

Brent Kelly:

Throwing lots of stuff at you. It's all right.

Roger Sitkins:

Yeah. Out of office where you're saying, "I'm not available now. I'm out of the office dealing with current clients."

Brent Kelly:

Right.

Roger Sitkins:

"For immediate service go to," or you can have this system redirected. Same thing as we've talked about this before with voicemail. Why does the voicemail say, "Hi, it's Roger Sitkins, Sitkins Risk Services. I'm not available to take your call right now. Please leave your name number and a brief message and I'll call you back before you hang up." Versus saying, "Hey, I'll call you back within 24 hours or less, but for immediate service, dial 1234 for Whoever." And just making sure that we're always reinforcing for day to day service, which we've always talked about. We talked about it on the podcast, get to the right person.

Roger Sitkins:

The clients, 80, 90% of the time don't need to talk to the producer or the agency owner. They need to talk to somebody for day to day transactions, right? And once they realize that, and now you're introducing the power of the team through what? Well through a face to face visit with a client director, a service team directory with your voicemails, with your emails that's just saying, "Go there, go there." And here's the other thing which we kid around but it's true, when producers and owners get involved in most transactions, because it's not their unique ability, they don't do them very well.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah.

Roger Sitkins:

They don't do them very well. Eight out of ten are normally incomplete. Thu the agency handles it more than once. And I know we've talked about it before, but repetition's the mother of skill. Repetition's the mother of understanding.

Brent Kelly:

I mean, those are all... That's why I want to ask you because I think some people may have heard, "Oh, what does that really mean?" And by the way, I mean, this is a wink, wink, nod, nod, but truthfully we go through these processes with agencies, producers, or service team in our programs at a very deep level because they're not easy. They're simple. "Hey, transfer it over." But it's not easy. We know that. And, Roger, to your point as you said, it's like, "Well, gosh, why do I get all these transactions and service requests?" Well, because you set it up that way. I mean, and part of this is, "Well, I don't know why they're not calling my team." Well, back to what you said, if you say, "Hey, if you need anything, you call me, I'm your guy, I'm your gal."

Brent Kelly:

And you become that point. Well then of course, if we don't introduce... To me, Roger, what's so important to me is, are we empowering those around us? Truly empowering them because I will tell you in working with service teams and doing our account manager program, one of the problems that service team members face all the time and I hear about is that, "I don't feel very confident not because I don't know that I can do the job it's because I don't know if the producer really believes in me or the agency leader believes in me because they keep taking stuff from me. So I guess that means I must not be very good at this." And they may not say that directly, but those are things that happen in agencies. So it's really, really important. And one of my favorite lines, Roger, I've used on this podcast many times, but certainly for producers, but agency leaders as well, is do not complain about that what you tolerate.

Roger Sitkins:

Yeah.

Brent Kelly:

And if you're setting it up that way, then they'll complain about it or change it. And again, we walk agencies through a process of how to do that. All right. You ready for one more question, Roger?

Roger Sitkins:

Sure.

Brent Kelly:

All right. All right. Again, thank you for your time and coming on here. We appreciate it. And I know that if you're not taking notes or getting some thoughts on this, well, what are you doing? There's some nuggets that we're throwing out here for all of you to be able to use. But I want to talk about the outcome because I think there might be an agency leader listening going, "Okay." Listen, Roger, let's put it this way. "Roger, this high performance team, this alignment, these things you're talking about moving to more of a team approach, I mean, yes, it makes sense, but you know what? We're doing okay. I mean, we're doing pretty good without all that." But what would the outcome be, truly, of an aligned agency? Paint the picture.

Roger Sitkins:

I was doing some more research on this about a week ago. And I came across a quote that quite frankly I had forgotten about. It was from Jim Collins and his book Good to Great. And he said, "A great visionary company," where they've really got this vision. Here's where we're going. This is what great looks like. We're going to go from good to great. He said, "It's 1% vision and 99% alignment." And wow, did that hit me? Because we've been talking about alignment so much and maybe that's how it came to me in the back of my mind because I read the book a long time ago. I've got a lot of copious notes on it, but it's 1% vision. Here's where we want to go.

Roger Sitkins:

And we talk about this all the time, the beginning of what we do with agencies, where are you today? Where do you want to go? How will you get there? So that is the vision. But now we've got to have everybody aligned. Using the football analogy again, if a certain player is called, everybody needs to run that play. You can't say, "Well, I don't want to run that play. I want to run this play." Well, that gets you benched or kicked off the team or fired if you're a pro. And so when we look at this and we say, "There's this common goal," which we talked about today, "We'll always talk about retaining and obtaining ideal clients. It's straightforward. That's what we do."

Roger Sitkins:

Again, simple, not easy. What do we do here? What's the focus of our firm retaining and obtaining ideal clients. And by the way, earning referrals from them because this new theme that we're starting to share with people, mindset, every client from a referral and a referral from every client. I'll say that a little slower people want to take a note on it unless you're driving, but every client from a referral and a referral from every client. What a great attitude to have. So what if an aligned agency was constantly saying to itself in all of their internal communications, whether it's a high performance team meeting, whether it's an organic growth meetings, whatever it may be, the state of the agency quarterly event.

Roger Sitkins:

We're always saying, "What's it about here?" It's about retaining and obtaining ideal clients. And as we retain and obtain them, every client gives us a referral. So if every client from a referral and a referral from every client agencies couldn't handle the workload. Now that's perfect. And the great Vince Lombardi quote, "Perfection's not attainable, but in the pursuit of it, we may catch excellence." We've used that before. What if just 50% of the clients gave a referral? And we're going to talk about this more in depth, and we've mentioned it before, but the big blinding flash of the obvious is that retention's not a problem in our industry.

Roger Sitkins:

We talked about that. So we're going to retain 88 to 90%, whatever the number is. But we have this very low percent that give us the referral, okay, because the client experience is not good enough and we don't follow the process. But if we could just say, "Look, let's get aligned. What's it about?" And for 27th time, it's about retaining and obtaining ideal clients. And it's about every client from a referral, a referral from every client. What a great agency because now there's absolute clarity and everybody's moving in the same direction not shake, rattle and rolling.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. It's so many good thoughts there, Roger and I was writing down, as you said that. It's like it comes back to this idea. We see these trends all the time with our highest performing agencies is the idea of team selling. But I would say those are also team continuations, right? Team, client experience, whatever term you want to use, but it really is a shift in that. And as you said earlier, there's one aspect which is capacity. The other aspect that you just hit on is experience. When we go alone, we just simply can't give the best, highest level experience.

Brent Kelly:

But we're doing the things that you just talked about, Roger, it makes a significant difference, but we have to get the click, right? There's got to be a click of saying, "Where in my agency are we being too individualistic? Right. Where in the agency are we not allowing a person, leader, sales to give up things and that's holding them back?" And I think those are important questions to ask. And the last thing that I'll add is analogy, Roger, we've used before in some of our programs. We look at as an agency, an agency alignment, it's the four wheels on a vehicle, right?

Brent Kelly:

And you've talked about this. I have too. If you see a wheel out of alignment, what happens? And the stuff that we ask agency leaders all the time. "Well, there's no way. There's friction, there's frustration, there's a cost. We get pulled in the wrong direction." Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And the same is true with an agency and sometimes it's going to get really crazy. I've never seen a car do this, Roger, but what if all four wheels are pointed to slightly different directions. I don't know what happens to the car. Maybe it just blows up. But again, think about that from an agency. So Roger, before we wrap up here again, thanks so much for your time. Any final comments?

Roger Sitkins:

Well, just a reminder, you can't do it all. You can't do it all. There's an old acronym that we don't use very much and it certainly was not ours originally, but TEAM, Together Everyone Accomplishes More. It's pretty simple. If everybody in the agency wants to earn more then the team's got to work together. So together, everyone accomplishes more. Let's get aligned, let's get on this thing. Let's make sure we're playing the right position. Let's get our producers in the green zone 80% of the time. Let's get the service at 80% of service getting to the service team because it's a day to day transaction. Once people understand that they're aligned, it's really exciting to see what happens to the agency.

Brent Kelly:

Yeah. Yeah. Thanks again. And we're going to give them... Just to give a quick preview of the third click and, Roger, you've mentioned it, so have I, is we're going to talk about this click of from an agency and certainly from a sales perspective is, "Are we a results based agency or are we an activity based agency? And what does that really mean? And what are some of the litmus tests we can talk and use around sales capacity that's going to really determine..." And I love this, Roger. You've said it three or four times because it's so sticky. "Are we in the green zone?" And that's a huge click of understanding that.

Brent Kelly:

And stay tuned, we'll release that. Again, we've got what six more episodes we're going to be releasing on these clicks. We'll continue to build. And what you're going to find is that certainly there's some overlap. There are building blocks around these, but again, you as an agency leader, just want to challenge you and I want to encourage you to say, "What are the clicks or click that I need to make to take my agency the next level and become that best version possible?" So thanks again, Roger. Thanks for listening. Again, to get a copy of our book, share with your friends, go to sitkins.com/bvp. Love for you to get a copy in your hands to learn about all these things we're talking about and more. So Roger, thanks to you and everyone else. All the best to your success.

 

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