One of the most frequent questions I get from other agents and entrepreneurs is how do you get so much freedom and don’t you worry about leaving the office for extended periods of time, whenever you want? I used to, but not anymore. You see, the agency that supports the life of my dreams has been carefully built and, consequently, I’ve taught the people that have earned the right to be part of our team to also create their individual opportunities daily to support the life of their dreams too.
I’m talking about the slowly hired team members that work in the Living Agency Laboratory. Yes marketing, operations and the rest is of paramount importance, but having the right team members strategically positioned in each facet of your money machine is the NUMBER ONE priority. One of the keys to maintaining our team is something that we just completed, which I affectionately call “Team Member Vision and Check-Up Day”. For me, these days are some of the most important days of the year and before the day comes I plan, plan, plan and visualize in my mind exactly how it’s going to go. This is what it looks like: Every team member gets approximately one hour in my office, behind my closed door, to have a conversation with me and me only about their current situation, their future situation, and how they can contribute to our business going forward.
Additionally, we allow them some time to talk about personal things, if need be. Before I go into this day, I always prepare a one-page script of very pointed questions, designed to elicit information, thoughts, visualizations and other matters of importance that need to be discussed. Through these conversations, we are able to help the team members solidify their current goals, personally and professionally, start planning for their next set of goals for the coming year, and overall discuss how they can be a better team member, contributor to our agency and to the goals of our agency heading into the future. Every time these meetings happen, it gets better and better. This not only gives the team members a lift and gives them clarity in what they’re doing, it also helps me be a better leader and helps all of us collectively plan for the future and to set goals for the coming year.
After going through the process this year, I’ve now decided that I’m going to perform this twice a year at a minimum. The nuggets have become so valuable and have helped create great clearness in where we’re going into the future. In addition to that, it positions me as a team leader and agency owner to make changes in our personnel and the way we do things, our scripting, our operations, and much, much more. By designing these conversations with specific questions, we are able to help the team members see exactly where they’re at. If there are things that need to be fixed, it’s the perfect opportunity. In the sessions that just ended, I planned one of the chairs in our agency, a very key chair, for many years to come(as long as she holds up her end of the bargain). That lifts a potential burden off of my mind, allows me complete focus on the things that I need to continue to do so that our agency continues to churn money week after week, month after month, year after year.
Thought it would be helpful to list a few of the key scripted, pinpointing questions that I asked my team t behind closed doors:
1. What thoughts do you have about your progress and our progress in 2012 so far?
2. Why do you show up daily?
3. Are team meetings of value to you? Why or why not? What can be done, in your opinion, to improve them?
4. What are your expectations of this business to support your growth and advancement in the insurance agency business in the future?
5. Discuss your expectations for yourself for 2013
Note: the most important part of facilitating these conversations is to STOP TALKING after you ask the questions. The answers and information you are looking for will come if you just listen for it.
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