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September 8, 2021

Utilizing Your Team’s Unique Abilities: Your Key to Growth as an Independent Agent

3 min read

Topic: Insurance Agency Growth Strategies strategy insurance Grow an Agency Future of Insurance

This video and blog are part of my ongoing series on leadership development and entrepreneurship as an independent insurance agent. One of the things I’ve found in my decades of experience in the field is that developing your team through helping them identify their unique ability is key to growth in any business. 


Recently I was having breakfast with the CEO of one of the businesses that I'm affiliated with and we had a really amusing conversation. 

We'd had a key executive leave the business in the last few weeks, and he'd been digging into all the things going on in that former executive's department. And he was telling me all the problems he had found, and I just started laughing. And I said, "I hate to say this, but I told you so."

Frustrating and stressful: what happens when your people aren’t in the “right seat”

I'd actually been telling him so for a couple of years. It wasn't because this executive wasn't really talented. She was. And it wasn't because she wasn't hardworking. She was very hardworking.
The problem was she was not sitting in the right seat.

This executive was somebody that ought to have been in sales. She was super friendly and outgoing and all of the things that are attributes of great salespeople. In fact, she'd generated a lot of revenue for the business.

But we had her in a position where she was managing people and managing numbers, and she could never be successful, ever, in that role. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how hard she worked, she wasn’t able to deliver. And finally, when the brakes got slammed on, we had to face the reality that we could do much better for her and our department.

How you can produce outstanding results — despite turnover

So, when I see that somebody is leaving a position and going someplace else, I'm frequently excited. When that part of the business hasn't been doing well, I know this is our opportunity to put a really talented person in that spot. What you do as a leader and strategic coach to your team is help them discover what Dan Sullivan calls their "unique ability." Then you find a person that is suited to the role in that spot.
The key to high performance in a team, whether that team is one person or a hundred, is getting people in the right spot — their “unique ability zone.”

Discover your unique ability

So, as an agency owner, let me encourage you to pose the question to yourself first. What is your unique ability? What is the thing that you do the best? More than likely it's selling insurance.

And if that's true, then why are you doing service work? Why are you doing accounting? Why are you doing a myriad of things that isn't related to being in front of a customer or prospect selling insurance?

If you want to grow your agency or business:
Honor your own unique ability.
Get back to doing the thing that you love the most and do the best.
Hire people to back you up on those other things and your sales and your success will absolutely skyrocket.

From my story earlier, we hired a new executive (who better fits the spot) and is turning that part of the business around. And if you'll do that with every part of your business, eventually you'll have so much money you can't count at all.

Focusing on your unique ability starts with you. I hope you have a wonderful successful 2021, 22, and 23 because you're doing the thing you love to do and are great at.

Download the free "How to Grow an Independent Insurance Agency" guide from OAA.

Tony Caldwell is a modern “renaissance man,” who is not only immensely successful in the field of insurance, but is also a writer, children’s advocate, mentor and even a licensed pilot.

Always keen on helping others make their dreams come true, Tony and his team have helped independent agents grow into more than 250 independent agencies. This has made OAA the number one ranked Strategic Master Agency of SIAA for the last 5 years, and one of Oklahoma's 25 Best Companies to Work for.

Tony loves to share his knowledge, insight and wisdom through his bestselling books as well as in free mediums including podcasts and blogs.

Tony and his family are members of Crossings Community Church, and he is very active in community initiatives: he’s chairman of It’s My Community Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit working with disadvantaged people in Oklahoma City; and chairman of the Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs., and he has served through many other organizations including the Salvation Army, Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Rotary Club.

In his spare time, Tony enjoys time with his family. He’s also an active outdoorsman and instrument-rated commercial pilot.