The 'B' Team
Develop and Maintain a Great Team
At Assurance, retaining clients is just as important as bringing new clients in. To do this, you need to be an innovative broker/consultant with great strategies, new ideas, great services and flawless execution. You also need to consistently provide outstanding customer service. However, you can’t accomplish any of these things without investing time to develop and maintain a great team. I’m no masterful leader or great manager of people, but here are some things that have worked for the Bartman team (i.e. The ‘B’ Team) in maintaining positive attitudes, pride in what we do, a high level of work ethic and having some fun while we’re at it.
- Begin with hiring. It may sound silly, but you have to hire the right people. Sometimes great people fall into your lap and sometimes you have to find them yourself. Let other teammates meet the candidate before you hire them. Make sure they have a similar mindset and gel with the rest of the team.
- Take ownership. Make sure everyone understands the concept of taking ownership. When someone is assigned to a client, they need to understand that this is “our” client, not just the Broker/Consultant, but all of ours. We share in the ownership of that client and relationship. When there are problems or if we make a mistake, we genuinely act with a sense of urgency to solve that problem. Everyone knows things will go wrong, but the true sign of a great team is how quickly and accurately they can solve a problem.
- Focus on your center of influence. Advise each person on the team to focus on their center of influence and not to worry about what everyone else is up to. Over time, their center of influence will grow. We’ve found that people who master this mindset are the first ones to get promoted, sometimes off our team which is the reality of having a great team.
- Invest in training. Assurance provides continuous training on various insurance-related subjects and even hosts programs for advanced degrees in insurance. You should also provide your own, team-specific training. If your team handles a certain kind of business (e.g. self-funded medical plans), then you should provide advanced training on that subject.
- Explain the why. When making a request, always explain 'why' you need it. Take those few extra minutes to explain why this is important to the client or team.
- Express your appreciation. Once the project is done and done well, express your genuine appreciation. For example, I asked someone on my team to send the entire team calendar invites for each key client contact’s birthdate. Then the team can easily send a note or email wishing the client a happy birthday. This was no small feat, but one that has been extremely well-received by our clients. Ultimately, whoever puts in a substantial amount of work on a project wants to know their time wasn’t wasted and that their efforts made a positive impact.
- Work hard, play hard. You must celebrate success. Host quarterly social gatherings where everyone can tell their favorite stories or share a little about themselves or just sit and listen.
- Give them all the credit and accept all the blame. When we receive compliments from clients or carriers or even other folks at Assurance, make sure they know the team did this. If anything goes wrong, step up and take the blame. Then don’t go back and blame, but rather ask what we can do to ensure this never happens again.
These may seem like simple concepts, but it's difficult to always remain consistent. It takes time to get to a point where the above happens intrinsically. It was a long process of trial and error, but at the end of the day, I didn’t make my team great, they did. For information on joining the ‘A’ Team (and maybe even the ‘B’ Team), click here.
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