BLOG: The fastest way to scale a generational wall

BLOG: The fastest way to scale a generational wall | Insurance Business America

BLOG: The fastest way to scale a generational wall
When I was a kid, I remember listening to my mother struggling as my grandmother became more and more stuck in her ways. We bought her a microwave oven and patiently coached her on its tremendous value. Yet, she would only use it to store her mail. Over time, my grandmother had shifted from “open” to “indifferent” and on to “threatened” by both the opportunity and challenges of the evolving world.  She was content with a frame of reference locked in the past.

This week, I asked a 27-year-old whether she'd consider additional college courses as a way to advance her career. She shook her head, "It takes too long and any nuggets of value are wrapped in a lot of outdated information. I'd rather pick up what I need online, learn it from somebody who's an expert today, and figure out the rest myself". Unlike my grandmother, here's a generation so future focused, they rarely consider last year's solution as a viable option ...and "the way we did it" five years ago is pretty much irrelevant.

Today, both worlds, and everyone in between, have collided in the insurance industry. The generational walls are high. But they're worth scaling for people interested in achieving amazing success and earning big bucks.

The fastest way to scale a generational wall is to align people towards a common goal. Alignment happens through agreement. Every team member must commit to the agreement or move off the team. Like it or not, the world is moving forward with technology. Younger generations need to be prepared to carry the industry into the future. So the agreement must be rooted in technology.

Here are 7 key elements of a fast-track agreement that scales generations…

1.    Insurance Expertise - First and foremost, we are in the insurance industry. People depend on us to help them protect what they love. Needs may change (think Uber or Airbnb) as we move forward, but a thorough understanding of insurance and risk management will continue to be incredibly valuable as both coverage and risk morph into the future. On the fast track, insurance education and mentoring is assigned and tracked. Those who can, teach, and those who can’t teach, learn.

2.    Technology Focus – Offline is expensive and slow. Every team member is encouraged to identify the most valuable things they do every day. Anything wonderful that is done offline is considered a red flag. For those things, let’s imagine how technology could enhance the value? You never know, besides saving time and money, a game-changing innovation may be discovered that could benefit all of us.

3.    Paperless Agency Management – Under this agreement, everyone commits to working in the cloud-based agency management system. Every workspace, from executive office to the front desk, is set up with two, or preferably three, computer screens. Multiple screens opens several documents or online sites at once so work can be seamlessly conducted between them.

4.    An Active Online Brand - managing personal brand online is as important as dressing appropriately. 97% of people searches online first when they have a need. Regardless of a person’s agency role, it’s important to have a clear and attractive presence online starting with NDOI. You don’t have to be everywhere but you do need to be present.

5.    Serve not Sell – Historically insurance and risk solutions have been sold, not bought. Today, successful people serve others…they don’t sell or push people to buy. Every relationship starts with qualifying a need and then serving it better than anyone else to develop raving fans. No qualified need?...then it’s time to move to the next opportunity.

6.    Never-ending learning – Future focus is critical. Regardless of whether you ultimately use a 5-year old solution or invent something new, it’s important to learn and share together. Read a relevant book (let me know if you need suggestions) and schedule a recurring time monthly to discuss things that can add value for the agency and its clients. Everyone has a slice of genius so it’s critical that everyone be given time to contribute.

7.    Respect and appreciation - These are non-optional behaviors. Everyone must commit to doing what they say they will, finishing what they start, and showing respect and appreciation (say please and thank you) to each other.

In business, the best protection against competition is a healthy organization.  People who can scale generational walls fast and well, win.  Track the behaviors you desire and hold yourself and others accountable to the agreement. If you need help, just let us know.

Lynne L. Wallace, CPCU, NDOI Co-Founder and Agency Owner is the only world-class online directory and national platform designed to showcase the professional expertise of every licensed insurance professional.