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UPFRONT

OPINION

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The most toxic word in insurance When it comes to making the most of your agency, having uphill hopes and downhill habits won’t cut it, writes Brent Kelly A MINDSET has infiltrated – and is wreaking havoc on – the independent insurance industry. In fact, I would say this mindset is typified by a word that is toxic to any insurance agency that simply accepts the implications of this word. That word is ‘average.’ I recently spent a week with the number-one leadership expert in the world, John C. Maxwell, and his faculty of teachers. During that time, John said something simple that is too often overlooked in the world of business: “No one has ever succeeded by being average.” The insurance business is a relationship business. You do not sell insurance policies and happen to serve people. You serve people and happen to sell insurance policies. There’s a huge difference. If you value people – truly value those you serve – you can’t deliver average. It’s not good enough. This all starts and ends with having the right mindset. Do you desire to be excellent or average? Far too many agencies look at their circumstances, such as marketing budget, location, resources, etc., as a reason for their current situation. I believe that average businesses accept their circumstances, but great businesses create them. To go beyond average and exceed expectations, you have to be willing to commit more time, more energy and more passion

into every day. You have to be willing to stretch and go beyond what is comfortable. As John Maxwell says, “Everything worthwhile is uphill. Unfortunately, too many of us have uphill hopes, but downhill habits.” I don’t believe many insurance agencies

often prevents you from greatness. Being average is easy. Being average is comfortable. That’s why average is so common – and also why it’s is toxic. To move beyond average, the focus must be not just on goals, but on growth. The only guarantee that you will be better tomorrow is to grow daily. You don’t move from average to exceptional in a day, but you must work on the process every day. So what is holding your agency back from greatness and achieving your true potential? For most agencies, the number-one cause is fear of failure. For you to grow, you must suspend the requirement of always having to know how to do something before you actually do it. That means making mistakes and facing your fears. Failure is the best growth tool ever created, but you must be willing to tackle it head-on and learn from it. It starts and ends in your own mind. It starts with your awareness, belief and a guiding set of principles that set your foundation. If you don’t want growth, desire growth, hunger for growth and truly believe

“If you value people – truly value those you serve – you can’t deliver average. It’s not good enough” accept average because they don’t know how to be better. It’s because doing something about it requires commitment and sacrifice. The biggest gap in the world is the gap between what you know and what you actually do. I see this every day and struggle to overcome it myself. When I train and coach clients to increase their performance, they typically already know what to do. They just can’t see their own potential and move past their doubts, fears and self-limiting beliefs. There is also often a lack of urgency. One of the greatest blessings for insurance agencies has also been their greatest curse. Agencies have been doing ‘good enough’ for a long time. They’ve been able to get by on past experiences, a strong financial position and long-term relationships. The problem with ‘good enough’ is that it

in yourself and in your agency, you will never step beyond average. That’s because you can never outperform your own self-belief. Too many agencies today settle. Too many agencies are unwilling to push themselves past their comfort zone. Too many agencies are willing to accept average. Don’t ever settle for average. You can do and achieve more – and you know it. Your prospects, clients, team members and company partners deserve your best. The insurance industry deserves your best. Most importantly, you deserve your best.

Brent Kelly is the CEO of Bizz Grizz and a certified partner with the John Maxwell Team. He speaks to and coaches insurance agencies on leadership, communication and growth.

www.ibamag.com

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30/09/2016 3:20:16 AM

Insurance Business America issue 4.10  

The magazine for America’s insurance broking and advice community.

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