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December 23, 2013


2 min read

Topic: Insurance Agency Management Start an Agency Grow an Agency

Have you ever been frustrated because your employees don’t do what you want them to do? Or because they do things the way they prefer to do them but not necessarily the way your SOPs dictate?

Join the club! 

Roger Sitkins, the famous independent agency sales coach, said in a recent article in Rough Notes magazine, “While it’s great to have new strategies and behaviors, they’ll never be implemented or executed without true leadership at the top of the agency. The owner(s) must be absolutely committed to change, which means not giving in with a ‘This too shall pass’ mindset.”

What Roger is saying, I believe, is that if you want to operate your agency in a particular way (as a growth agency for readers of this blog, for example) you must not only articulate how you want things done but you must enforce it. How do we do that?

Well, one of the first tasks of leadership is articulation of the vision. Do your people understand where you are going, why you are going there, how you intend to get there and what’s in it for them? This is critically important because it sets the parameters for behavior and performance. You cannot, as the leader of your agency, assume these things are understood. You also cannot assume that if you say things once it will be enough. These messages need to be so constantly repeated that everyone on your team can quote you word for word.

Once everyone understands this then you must insist that whatever behaviors (systems, effort and performance) you expect are delivered.  These also must be clearly communicated, appropriately incentivized, managed daily and weekly, and disciplined if the behaviors are not those expected.

In other words, the famous old saying, “Inspect what you expect” holds true in managing the people on your team. Those who are on board with the vision you’ve articulated should have a clear understanding of what’s at stake for everyone, including themselves. Those who are on board have a future with your organization and those who aren’t need to spend their days elsewhere. 

Leading has lots of responsibility associated with it but it’s critical to the success of a growth agency. The right kind of consistent profitable growth does not happen without it.