Identify Core Values for Lasting Insurance Agency Success
- By Chip Milner
- December 2, 2015
The key to being an organization that has a lasting impact is alignment with a strong set of core values.
Every business or organization has core values, but not everyone is aware of what they are.
We all have a set of standards we hold ourselves to and we have a set of standards for how we expect to be treated.
The challenge in most businesses is that they have not thought through these in an objective way.
Core values by definition are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization.
They are the guiding principles that dictate behavior and action.
Most organizations have something written down, and many people invest a lot of time in crafting vision statements and core values, but seldom do they examine the perceptions of their employees, and clients to see if they are being carried out in the day to day operation of the business.
Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, says, “you cannot set organizational values, you can only discover them. Nor can you install new core values into people. Core values are not something people buy into. People must be predisposed to holding them.”
The best way to find your core values is by asking yourself and your key people the following questions:###
- What core values do you bring to your work? Values you hold to be so fundamental that you would hold them regardless of whether or not they are rewarded?
- How would you describe to your loved ones the core values you stand for in your work and that you hope they stand for in their working lives?
- If you awoke tomorrow morning with enough money to retire for the rest of your life, would you continue to hold on to these core values?
- Can you envision these values being as valid 100 years from now as they are today?
- Would you want the organization to continue to hold these values, even if at some point one or more of them became a competitive disadvantage?
- If you were to start a new organization tomorrow in a different line of work, what core values would you build into the new organization regardless of its activities?
Core values are the cornerstone for the organization and if your people have a subjective standard they will always rationalize their decisions and behaviors as correct.
This is where you have to ask yourself difficult questions and be prepared to deal with reality rather than your perception of your company.
- As an organizational leader do your people understand your values?
- Do they treat the client the way you would treat them?
- Are they as urgent to get things done the right way as you would be?
Identifying the places where your vision and values are not in alignment with your actions is the most important thing an individual or business can do in order to maintain their course and get where they want to go.
If your vision for a fun holiday with the family is to go to Disneyworld and you are in Atlanta, then alignment means you are heading south.
In the financial services world, we can pay lip service to protecting families and businesses and miss many opportunities to actually do that.
If we are not consistently reminding our clients about the importance of life insurance in their financial lives and helping them evaluate the plans they have in place, then our compass is not pointed in the right direction.
I would encourage all of you to remember the real core reason life insurance matters: the family members that are devastated by the loss of a loved one.
Start asking yourself the hard questions today, find your core values and begin aligning your actions to those values so that you can have an impact on your clients and their families.
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