TRUST – The One Leadership Quality That Will Make or Break You
Our business model, at American Income Life, relies heavily on a significant amount of “Relationship Awareness” to reach its maximum potential. Understanding personalities, how they interact, how to get the best performance from each other, fostering great relationships to get great results. One trait stands out more than any other to achieve all of these, that is TRUST.
In April we had our Spring SGA meeting in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Attending were all of the American Income Life SGA’s, American Income Life Executives, Torchmark Executives and support staff. It was extremely rewarding being around so many tenured professionals. One of the most resounding sentiments this week for me was how much everyone wanted to help each other. What makes this unique is that typically with so many “A” type personalities especially competitive and territorial by nature, you find people being guarded of their secrets to success, so much that they do not want to share with others. At our meeting it was the complete opposite of this. In contrast, everyone to a fault shared best practices, experiences, successes and importantly- areas of their business that can be improved.
The word that stood out for me this week was the word TRUST. Scott Smith said it best when he said that “with more trust, the Leap of Faith isn’t so blind”. If people trust you they will have a completely different perspective on our opportunity. I thought about the word TRUST and wanted to elaborate on what it means to me.
“With more TRUST, the Leap of Faith isn’t so blind”. Scott Smith, American Income Life President and Chief Marketing Officer
T. Teach. First and foremost we must remember that it is our role to “teach” the business to others. As a leader you are doing one of two things. 1: Teaching a new agent the 4 basic principles: Industry knowledge, Product knowledge, Sales and Marketing and being in business for yourself or 2: You are teaching the role of leadership. Both are equally important and we cannot assume at any time that the new recruits know everything to be successful. That also goes for leadership. We have many young leaders in our organization that may not have the life experiences to deal with the complexity of relationships that we need to motivate, encourage, mentor and coach others. It is our job to TEACH and train the many facets of our business.
R. Reward. Having goals and being rewarded for achieving these goals are a key driver in any sales organization like American Income Life. Remember to reward activity. This can be for setting appointments, achieving recruiting goals, ALP goals or a combination of any or all of these. Also set short term goals and short term rewards. I like to do this in 60-90 increments. It could be a promotion to the first level of Supervising Agent, or a push up to a General Agent or a Master General Agent. With that period of time you can sustain excitement and quickly get someone to the next level. You also keep people around longer and help them stay long enough to experience the earnings potential.
U. Unity. It is my belief that with unity, teamwork and collective responsibility you can get regular people doing extraordinary things. Being on the “same page” is so important in an agency. If one leader has a different message or runs a different schedule it can cause confusion and TRUST breaks down. Great things can be produced in an agency when everyone supports each other during the tough times and celebrate together when you have the successes. Work hard to support each other with a unified and consistent message.
S. Serve. Working with independent contractors you have to get people to want to work “WITH” you rather than “FOR” you. You have to establish a culture of “I am here to serve you” with your agents and also to your leaders. They need to know that you CARE about their success and that you will do whatever it takes to help them be successful. Humility is one of the most important traits of any leader in my opinion and by serving all of your agents and leaders sincerely, you are showing them that you do care about their future career with American Income Life.
T. Thanks. Projecting a sentiment of thanks and congratulations to all you work with can never be underestimated for a job well done. We all want to be appreciated for the work we do and saying “thank you” or “congratulations” to someone for a great week either recruiting or selling can make a huge impression on how they feel going into the next week. It you fail to thank someone who has done a great job, it can also be demoralizing, so be considerate of everyone’s performance.
In closing, there are many famous quotes regarding the word TRUST. One I like in particular is:-
“How can people trust the harvest, unless they see it sown?”