Building An American Income Life Business Team That Wins

building national income life winning business teamAmerican Income Life Regional Sales Director Chris Selejan explains how to build a cohesive, product, effective, winning team – whether within NILICO or life in general.

The Code of Honor

The heart and soul of every team is its Code of Honor. Rules like being on time, practicing, showing up, attending training sessions, committing to personal growth, or never abandoning a teammate in need. These rules not only ensure success, they make the game a lot more satisfying to play. Great relationships don’t happen by

american income life regional sales director - chris selejan

American Income Life Regional Sales Director - Chris Selejan

accident. There is usually a common understanding and set of rules holding you together.

A Code of Honor is the cornerstone of the culture of any organization because it is the physical manifestation of its thoughts, ideas, and philosophies. People talk about creating culture in organizations. We have all been a part of a culture in some shape or form. The core of the culture and the number-one toll used to establish, refresh, broadcast, and demonstrate the culture is the Code of Honor.

Developing a Code of Honor creates accountability and a feeling of support and is a powerful statement of who you are and what your team stands for. It defines you and your goals. It’s that important.

In the absence of rules, people make up their own. And some of the biggest collisions in finance, business, and relationships occur because well-meaning people are simply playing by different sets of rules. By the same token, the most miraculous results come from “like minded” people who band together under some invisible bond to achieve greatness.

Steps for Creating a Code of Honor:

  • 1 ) Find a sane moment in which to create the code.
  • 2 ) Find recurring issues that repeatedly interfere with the performance of the team.
  • 3 ) Everyone participates.
  • 4 ) Talk about various instances of behavior, and how everyone felt about them, both positively and negatively.
  • 5 ) As soon as you are able to decide on a rule, write it down.
  • 6 ) Be specific.
  • 7 ) Don’t try to legislate moods. For instance, creating a rule that says “always be in a good mood” or “never get angry” is not only unfair, it’s unrealistic. Everyone has bad days. But what you can do is say, “don’t take out your bad mood on other people”, it is not okay if you dump your bad day on others.
  • 8 ) Make sure that the rules are somewhat of a “stretch”. Meaning, your code challenges on the team to be better.
  • 9 ) Don’t get carried away making rules.
  • 10 ) If someone breaches the code, call it!

Team Tip:

  • 1 ) What are you willing to hold yourself accountable to?
  • 2 ) Easiest way to avoid upset, collisions, and disharmony in any group is to take time to make sure that everyone is playing by the same rules.
  • 3 ) Code of Honor brings the best in every person who subscribes to it.
  • 4 ) Your Code is a reflection of you and will attract those who aspire to the same standard.
  • 5 ) Results are always a function of behavior, attitude and conditioning. If you focus on results, you are too late!

Team Drill:

  • 1 ) Discuss with your team examples of close games, great comebacks and championships results in sports and business. Talk about what you think made the difference, beyond talent.
  • 2 ) Cite examples of organizations that had rules but didn’t follow them. Have the team discuss their opinions of those organizations.

Qualities of a great team player (“the draft”):

  • 1 ) Energy
  • 2 ) Unstoppable desire to win
  • 3 ) Personally responsible – no blaming or justifying
  • 4 ) Willing to Submit to the Code

Times of pressure

In times of pressure, when the stakes are high, people are transformed. I’ve NEVER seen a great team that didn’t come together without some type of pressure. It could be from competition, from outside influence, or could be self-induced.

On the other hand one must be aware that, when pressure increases, sometimes so do emotions. When that happens, intelligence has a tendency to drop. People revert to their base instincts in times of stress, and that’s when their true colors come out.

Teams may work well together day-to-day, but when things get tough they revert to “every man for himself”. A crisis comes along and everyone runs for cover, because there is no set of rules to help them see their way through it. Judgment based upon heightened emotions becomes their guide, which may not turn out to be the best choice for all concerned.

Solution to “Times of Pressure”

You must create, in a sane moment, a set of rules for your team that tells everyone how to operate when the heat is really on. That way, in those moments of high stress, the rules legislate the behavior, rather than emotions. These are rules that must be “called” when breached.

Be interested in them and talk in a casual manner to get the desired action. They need more time to make decisions and like to be asked for their opinions. Once they know you have their best interest at heart they will join in and be a great team player for your agency.

In conclusion

The final judge of your team is this: If the entire game changed tomorrow, would you choose the same players?

If the answer is yes, then you are headed in the right direction with building a business team that wins.

Decide here and now that you will create a Code of Honor for yourself and for the teams you’re a part of. What do you stand for? What Code do you publicize to the world? How tight is your team? How happy do you want to be?

About Chris Selejan

Chris Selejan is a Regional Director of Sales at American Income Life Insurance Company. Find him on Google+

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