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And, as famous and revered as those 56 signers are today, they weren’t doing their duty out of a desire for wealth, power, or political position. In fact, many of the most hallowed names in American history died nearly penniless. George Washington waived his salary during his presidency, and though Congress paid him back when he left office, the money had plummeted in value due to rampant inflation. Alexander Hamilton worked some incredible financial wizardry as Treasury Secretary after the Revolutionary War, but when he was killed in his infamous Eager to build a new world from the ground up, where all men were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they threw themselves into the cause ... ” The Real Fourth of July
W ith the Fourth of July right around the corner, everybody is stocking up on whatever will make the most awe-inspiring aerial explosions for the holiday. Of course, the Fourth is the perfect opportunity to get out the grill, get together with family, and enjoy one another’s company, but I think it’s all too easy to forget the real reason for the holiday. After all, when our Founding Fathers first penned their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, they were putting their lives on the line. With no guarantee that the Revolutionary War would or could even be won, they may as well have been signing their death warrants, guilty of treason against England. Whenever I consider this fact, I’m astounded by the courage, faith, and vision of those great men, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to create a democratic republic, the first of its kind. One thing that most people don’t realize is that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on the Fourth of July. The founding fathers voted for independence on July 2, and the document was only fully drafted and accepted by the Continental Congress on the Fourth. It wasn’t until August 2 that the vast majority of the signatures made their way onto the parchment. Even then, a few stragglers didn’t sign it until later on.
and women in the armed forces that have fought for us and continue to fight for us day in and day out — we simply could not have the prosperous nation of freedom, equality and liberty that we have today. Without a doubt, these are the incredible heroes that will be on my mind this Fourth of July, as fireworks pepper the sky all over Little Rock.
duel with Aaron Burr, his wife had to take up collections at the funeral to pay for his burial. Truly, the Founding Fathers made the ultimate sacrifice when they signed the Declaration. Eager to build a new world from the ground up, where all men were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they threw themselves into the cause, risking life, limb, property, and everything else in pursuit of their ideals. Without that unfathomable sacrifice — and the endless list of sacrifices made by the men
President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs for Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1
KEEP PRODUCTIVE MOMENTUM
When Employees Take a Summer Vacation
When you’ve been working in insurance for three decades, you learn a thing or two about the industry. Just ask Sherry Burgener, who’s been an insurance expert for 36 years and a member of the Risk Services of Arkansas team for more than 26 years. As office manager and account executive, she’s been an invaluable part of the Risk Services team from the start. Of course, when you’ve been at one business for more than 20 years, it begs the question: What keeps you coming back? For Sherry, “it all comes down to integrity,” she says. “Whether I was working with our founder Steve Russell or Brad Johnson today, I’ve always been confident that Risk Services of Arkansas strives to do right by its clients.” Sherry relishes the opportunity to build lasting relationships with the people she serves. “There are a whole lot of customers that have been here nearly as long as I have,” she says. “Over all that time, you build a pretty powerful mutual trust and connection. Every day, I get to sit at my desk and talk to an array of wonderful people, ensuring that they not only get the best pricing available, but that they have the precise coverage they need for their particular situation.” “Back when I started out, I had a No. 2 pencil and a legal pad, calculating rates by hand,” she says. “Now I sit at a desk with three computer screens, without a single file cabinet in sight. I’m constantly learning new things — I have to if I want to truly tailor our insurance offerings to our clients’ needs!” Outside of the office, Sherry loves to spend time with her husband of 31 years, tending to the family farm. Her three children may be adults now, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying the outdoors together whenever they get the opportunity. And every other weekend, you can find her volunteering at the local senior center, chatting with the elderly and learning about their lives. Meanwhile, we’re just thrilled that she stuck around at Risk Services of Arkansas for all these years. She’s been a staple around the office for as long as we can remember, and we’re excited to see all she accomplishes in the years to come! MEET SHERRY BURGENER, OFFICE MANAGER AND ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE EXTRAORDINAIRE
How does your business keep up productive momentum when employees jet off for a week or two? Every summer, this is a question that businesses all over the country try to answer. It’s also a question that impacts businesses differently depending on staff size and organization. Some businesses have enough folks on hand at any given time that the absence of a single person isn’t a big deal. But during the summer, the dynamic can change when more employees decide to take time off, especially one after another. When employees take time off, things are more likely to slip through the cracks, and productivity can take a hit. However, having well- defined vacation policies in place can prevent issues from developing in the first place. First, be clear about the time-off policy. If you have one department of six people, a reasonable expectation is that only two people from that department may be out at a time. The policy of “first come, first served,” is one of the best ways to approach this situation. It’s fair, and it encourages people to get time-off requests in early, leaving your team more time to plan for the absence. Second, implement time-off request deadlines. When you know a lot of people are going to want to take a few weeks off during the summer, ask that they put in their requests as soon as possible. It allows everyone time to plan so any work is delegated accordingly. On top of that, remind your team to get the requests in before booking any travel arrangements. That way, no one has to play the bad guy when a time-off request gets denied and a hotel booking hangs in the balance. Third, encourage taking vacation. Work-life balance is critical when you want a productive team. Sometimes you have to reiterate that vacations are important, as numerous studies have confirmed. Too often, employees don’t plan vacations because they don’t want to compromise their job in any way, or they feel guilty about leaving. But when people don’t take time off, that’s when productivity takes the biggest hit. The longer people work without taking time for themselves, the more likely they are to experience burnout.
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Prepping Your Business for a Tornado
with supplies, and write a comprehensive plan to get everyone there during a tornado. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it definitely needs to be effective and efficient. 2. Practice the plan. Of course, no matter how great your emergency action plan may be, it’ll be rendered totally useless if your team isn’t on board. Identify key employees in your organization to assign additional responsibility during crisis, and ensure they know the protocol inside and out. Then run a drill or two to confirm that everyone is on the same page, ready to go into emergency mode at a moment’s notice. It may seem silly to run a tornado drill in the office, but you can bet that when a real tornado comes calling, you’ll be glad you did.
Though we’re a few months past peak tornado season, every Arkansan knows that a vicious storm can show up pretty much anytime. With that in mind, it’s important to be prepared for these fickle and difficult-to-predict events. With the right procedures in place, you can be confident that your business can weather whatever may come. Here are the two keys to making your business tornado-ready: 1. Have a plan. Any business interested in staying afloat in the midst of crisis should have a thorough, carefully considered emergency action plan for all its employees. This should include a system for identifying imminent weather threats, a way to communicate the situation to everyone in the office (including customers!), and safety protocols in the event that a storm is on its way. Determine the safest spots for shelter in your business, stock it
Have a Laugh!
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INSIDE This Issue
The Sacrifices of Our Founding Fathers page 1
Don’t Let Employee Vacations Sink Your Business This Summer Meet Sherry Burgener page 2 Is Your Business Tornado-Ready?? Sudoku page 3
Kim Scott’s ‘Radical Candor’ page 4
HOW ‘RADICAL CANDOR’ CAN GUIDE YOUR TEAM TO SUCCESS
Leadership Expert Kim Scott’s Fantastic New Book
movies about Wall Street may teach us otherwise, it’s difficult to succeed in today’s collaborative business world without genuinely investing yourself in meaningful relationships. But, as Scott is eager to point out, love alone won’t push your team to new heights. You also need to “Challenge Directly” — to be honest with those who depend on you by letting them know when they’re leaving their potential untapped or shirking their responsibilities. This “burutal honesty” doesn’t have to be brutal at all; instead, it should be direct, clear, and compassionate. At the intersection of “Care Personally” and “Challenge Directly” lies the concept of “Radical Candor,” a framework that allows bosses to build two things: an empowered culture of honest feedback around the office and a team that works well together and is eager to achieve fantastic results. If you’re interested in learning how to be a more effective leader but are uncomfortable with the manipulative strategies espoused in so much of business culture, you can’t do better than Kim Scott’s book. It’s chock-full of actionable advice on how to start treating your team not only as employees, but as people , with all the emotions, aspirations, challenges, and potential that they bring.
At the outset of our careers, when we’re learning to jockey for a position in the workforce and master the concepts that will carry us to success, many of us immediately begin to absorb the wrong kind of thinking. In the midst of youth, when our egos are paper-thin and we haven’t yet fully developed our personalities, business culture comes along and tells us to “be professional.”
“For an awful lot of people, that gets translated to mean ‘leave your emotions, leave your true identity, leave everything that is best about you … and come to work like some kind of robot,’” said Kim Scott, bestselling author of “Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,” at a recent Qualtrics X4 event. But to be the best possible asset to your team, she argues that you need to genuinely care about others — you need to “be able to bring your whole self to work and to create the kind of environment in which everyone around you can do the same.”
This ability to “Care Personally,” writes Scott in her book, is the first key principle leaders need to understand in order to succeed as bosses. Though
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