The Wedge Group - January 2019

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THEWEDGE REPORT

JANUARY 2019

BREAK THROUGH THE COMPLACENCY AND HOLD YOUR PRODUCERS ACCOUNTABLE

Many agencies employ salespeople who maintain a small, but relatively consistent book of business. This is a strategy of complacency. Neither the salesperson nor the agency will grow with this strategy. At the same time, because this complacent sales person isn’t costing the firm any money, the agency owner is likely to leave them alone with no — or very few — questions. There’s no accountability. If you own an asset like stock or a rental property, you buy into that asset expecting it to grow over time. That’s why you brought that asset into your portfolio. No one buys property for the sake of buying property, so why would you hire someone to just “be there?” The answer is you wouldn’t. No agency owner sets out to hire someone to maintain the status quo. They’re looking for a performer — someone who brings their talent and drive to the table and can help the agency meet or exceed goals. For a lot of agency owners who are stuck in this “old-world” way of thinking, they have to change their attitude. If they have a complacent performer, the owner has to ask, “How do we improve this person’s performance? What motivates this person?” If you have a mediocre performer who’s

flying under your radar, it’s time to bring them into your sights and take steps to change their outlook. The “new-world” way of thinking is driving each member of your team to become the best versions of themselves. This means you need to know what their motivation is. Is it money? Recognition? When you ask, you have a starting point. A lot of the time, it’s money. The reality is, a lot of people aren’t saving nearly enough money for the future, but they may not have fully realized this, or they’re underestimating what they need for their future. When you and your producer understand that money is the motivating factor, you can coach your producer with this in mind. You can use it to help them set goals, personal and professional, and get out of the rut of complacency. In this instance, they may want to put their kids through college. To achieve that goal, they need to build a larger book of business. As an agency owner, you can help your producers get organized and develop a plan of action. If might involve helping them set appointments or calls to get the ball rolling. Once that happens, it’s on them for the follow-through.

As part of the goal-setting process, establish a timeline with something like “accomplish x by this date.” Then, meet with your producer on certain dates to go over benchmarks with them. Check in, see if they’re on track, and offer praise for their accomplishments. Watch how they respond to coaching and feedback. If they have the aspiration and they’re motivated, they’ll take advantage of the coaching to grow and become better producers. Now, not every producer who sets goals is going to meet them. They may simply not be motivated. It might be time to go in a different direction. If it’s clear a producer isn’t going to bring in the revenue you expect, you may have to hand the book over to someone who will. Have questions about coaching your producers and getting them motivated, or don’t know where to start? You don’t have to go it alone. The iWin Agency Growth System has tools to lay that foundation and help you turn mediocre producers into motivated performers. It just takes one call at (214) 446-3209.

– Randy Schwantz

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NOT HITTING ANY PRs LATELY? TIME TO EXERCISE YOUR MENTAL FITNESS

The burden of accountability remains on leadership’s shoulders unless you put it where it belongs and keep it there. Where does it belong? It belongs with the producer. But how do you assign and transfer accountability to the producer? Here’s an example of accountability outside of your producers. Let’s suppose you have a client who is a contractor. They ask you for a certificate of insurance at the last possible minute. In fact, their truck is trying to pull through the gates at the construction site, they’ve been waiting in line for 30 minutes to get in, and with no certificate, they go to the back of the line. Your firm gets a phone call. “We need a certificate sent to Jack at Tardy Construction right now or we’ve got a big problem.” Being customer-oriented, you drop everything and jump through hoops to get it done to please the client. Sports psychology has helped athletes, like Michael Jordan, and golf pros, like Greg Norman, become legends. “What separates the good from the great is between the ears, the way they talk to themselves, their inside communication,” says Dr. Sylvain Guimond, a sports psychologist. World-class athletes stay mentally tough and visualize their victories to propel them past competitors. This same strategy can help you take your training to the next level. Outside of the professional sphere, mental exercises based on sports psychology can help you hit new PRs by changing the way you think about your performance. Psychologists have found that believing you can succeed —whether it’s scoring a goal or stealing a base — is key to actually succeeding. One of the newer techniques to enter the sports psychology scene, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), aims to instill this belief in athletes. While the subjective nature of NLP makes its effectiveness hard to verify,

NLP reportedly increases confidence in athletes, as Rhonda Cohen notes in “Sport Psychology: The Basics: Optimising Human Performance.” It focuses on building confidence through visualization and speech patterns to help athletes

burden of that contractor failing to notify you in advance that they need certificates? Your agency does, and the more your agency is willing to jump through hoops to assist someone who is so unorganized that they can’t — or won’t — help themselves, the more you’ll have to do it. It’s not just producers we are talking about; it’s people. As long as you take responsibility for their errors, apathy, or lack of desire to get something done, they will take advantage of that. Who is responsible for accountability in your agency? You are. You have to set up the systems and processes (rules and standards) and put them in writing. Communicate them, train them, and do it consistently. You set up your rules, communicate your expectations, and let your producers live with the consequences of playing outside the lines. It won’t take long for them to understand it’s their responsibility to tune into a winning mindset. While the name might sound complex, NLP is anything but — it can be as simple as choosing a song that you associate with confidence and playing it on repeat for 10 minutes as you visualize yourself getting a PR for squats. Before your next workout, play the song as an audio cue to go into that confident state of mind. Mindfulness exercises can also be extremely effective at improving athletic performance. These exercises, like yoga and meditation, build a strong foundation for mental fitness. By learning how to ease your thoughts and

calm your mind, you’ll be better prepared to call on techniques like positive thinking and mantras during your workouts so you can, as one NLP expert says, “consciously enter a state of peak performance.” Even as you’re incorporating sports psychology techniques into your routine, remember that they’re only going to be effective if you put in the work when you’re training. As Cohen says, “It is one thing to think about or want to change; it is another thing to go ahead and actually do it.”

ACCOUNTABILITY: WHOSE BURDEN IS IT?

A WORD FROM THE WEDGE BLOG

do what’s requested. When they make a personal decision to do something different, it’s their burden, not yours, so they must deal with the consequences. As a sales leader, you probably accept too much responsibility for the failure and success of your producers. If you are not careful, you enable them to be lazy, and that happens when you protect them from the natural consequences. So, stop. Responsibility starts with agency owners setting up systems and processes. Then, assign that responsibility to the rightful owner: the producers. Move the burden, and keep it there. It will save you a tremendous amount of time, make for a better agency, keep everyone happy, and your agency will grow faster and more profitably.

For more insight from Randy, be sure to visit thewedge.net/blog .

A couple of weeks later, it happens again and then another time. Who owns the

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SUCCESS FROM ‘WORKING IN SYNC’ HOW THE INFLUENCE OF 1 COACH TRANSFORMED THE LIVES OF 11 PEOPLE

You are a member of a team. It may be a small, close-knit team or a team of dozens or more. However, you aren’t just a member of your team. You are a leader. You set the pace for the day, the week, the month, and beyond. Your team looks to you for insight and guidance. They rely on you. But are you the best leader you can be? Are you the most effective leader? Are you a leader who lays down a foundation for the future success of the individuals on your team? Mitchell has spent 30-plus years working with a vast number of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. He has worked with executives, athletes, and goal-oriented individuals to help them overcome the challenges that come with a team-based environment. Mitchell served as the coach of the class of 1986 Dartmouth crew team. Some 25 years later, Mitchell reconnected with Meet Whit Mitchell, a renowned executive coach and expert on team dynamics.

11 members of his rowing team — all 11 of whom had become highly successful individuals and professionals since 1986. It was at this time in 2011 that Mitchell started piecing together his book “Working in Sync: How 11 Dartmouth Athletes Propelled Their College Sports Experience Into Professional Excellence.” Mitchell spent significant one-on-one time with each of the 11 in search of insight into their success after graduating from Dartmouth College. During that search, one thing became clear. Though all of them had forged their own separate way toward success, each individual credited Mitchell’s coaching as the foundation for their future achievements. “Working in Sync” offers unparalleled access to that coaching — short of being under the wing of Mitchell himself. It’s safe to say the insight in Mitchell’s book is inspiring. While reading “Working in Sync,” it quickly becomes apparent how strong Mitchell’s foundation is for working as a

team. Through each of the 11 stories, you are left with many of the same lessons Mitchell imparted on his former rowing crew. The best thing? You can take these lessons and apply them here and now.

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INSIDE Do You Hold Your Producers Accountable?

Tapping Into Sports Psychology to Optimize Performance

A Closer Look at Producer Accountability Success From ‘Working in Sync’ Upcoming Events The Best Skiing Destinations in the World

3 OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST WINTER SPORT DESTINATIONS WHO’S READY FOR SOME POWDER?

The sound of the first carve through fresh powder is the anthem of all winter sports enthusiasts. Here are three of the world’s best places to experience that powder you’ve been craving all year.

Breckenridge, Colorado

John Denver’s anthem “Rocky Mountain High” is about the freedom he felt here. Where there are great mountains, there’s even better snow. The ski resort boasts five peaks, 187 trails, 34 lifts, four terrain parks, and a renowned cross-country trail. After a day on the slopes, head into the town of Breckenridge for dining and activities that ditch the glitz and glamour of Vail or Aspen and take you straight to the heart of fun.

dilate. Once you’re done flying down the hill where Bode Miller took the bronze, head over to the winter wonderland of the old Olympic Village for a cozy night in a picturesque town.

St. Anton, Austria

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

If you want a great location for next year’s Christmas card photo, there’s no better place than the Tyrolean Alps. Nestled in a valley between perfectly molded mountains, the Austrian landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for your winter excursions. The densely wooded areas and the bright reflection of the snow frame the vibrant town that’s just waiting to be explored. When you’re ready for world-class runs, hop in one of the 11 gondolas and zip down the hills that hosted the 2001 Alpine World Ski Championships.

A destination that looks like a cross between a Nordic paradise and Olympic-level runs, Whistler is filled with true magic, winter activities, and a town that captivates the senses. When you see the mountains of British Columbia, you’ll understand why they hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The location’s beauty is only part of your stimulating experience, because every curve of fresh powder makes your pupils

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