ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

HOW TO PULL YOUR OWN TEETH OR CONSULTING MADE EASY

Over a hundred years ago, a very wise dentist drafted an instruction book for pulling one’s own teeth. He gave it to every patient who claimed that it cost too much for the dentist to remedy their oral problems.

Even though, for thousands of years, humans have solved their own oral problems, over time they realized that to do it right took someone with a great deal of experience and training in dentistry. None of the dentist’s patients chose the self-treatment method to solve their problems.

We also know a ‘black hat’ at Jump School at Ft. Benning, Ga who had a sign on the wall offering parachute packing lessons with a money back guarantee after the first lesson (think about it). Of course, you don’t learn rigging at Jump School, but all Riggers must be airborne qualified. The point is to learn meticulously from qualified teachers before ‘doing it yourself’.

Every year we freely send hundreds of agents instructions and details on how we value agencies, compensate producers, establish Incentive Compensation for agency staffs. In each case, we strongly urge the agency to enter into a Strategic Planning cycle that assures that the changes they want to make for their agencies fit into a long range view of how the owners want the agency to develop. We suggest that they don’t over-extend the agency or its human resources, and that the implementation is done in a disciplined manner. And every year we freely send agents the guidelines, including specific steps that they should take in the creation and progression of their Plans.

Most agents read and ignore the Strategic Planning process completely because it is complex and very specific in the steps. They try to implement changes that solve their ‘tooth-aches’ or that they hope help their agencies grow and make greater profits – without the Planning process behind them. Some succeed – about 10%. The rest either chalk it up to the ‘Idea of the Month’ club (you know, that’s when the boss gets a ‘bug in his bonnet’, pursues it diligently and spends money on it – for about a month or two, until a crisis occurs or he gets a new ‘bug in his bonnet’) or their attempt at Planning fails and they blame it on faulty instructions.

The same agency owner who wouldn’t consider pulling his own teeth, fixing his own Mercedes, or even correcting his golf swing without a Pro figures that he ‘ought to’ be able to correct his own organizational issues because, after all, he is a professional at insurance coverages and customer relationships!

We will continue to share freely in the methods and procedures that resolve agency growth problems, profit problems and management problems. Fifty years ago the ‘Midas Man’ claimed “either pay us now or pay us later” his goal was to get his customers to spend a penny on prevention to avoid a dollar on a cure. And, like many automobile owners, some folks would rather “sell than solve”. But if you have agency organizational or development issues that need to be resolved to maximize your growth and/or profit – or – if you are growing well and are a proponent of the 10 Commandments of Legendary Service, the last commandment is to have a culture of Celebrated Discontent, the simultaneous feeling of accomplishment AND the desire to further improve, then we invite you to call us to discuss the Strategic Planning Process for your agency.

Whether you use us or not, we would be happy to provide you with the details of the Strategic Planning process because an educated agent is our best client.