My dealings with insurance companies over the years have led me to conclude that three big influences–egos, greed and ruts–affect many interactions. Advisors need to be aware of these factors when interacting with their own providers. Knowing what to look for can help make a decision about whether to continue negotiations or not.
Well look at each factor separately, but be aware that they often influence one another!
Egos: The ego of the chief executive officer is the most powerful force in the company. If ego works for the good of all parties connected to the company–policyholders, employees, agents and stockholders–everyone benefits. But if the ego is overblown and misdirected, everyone eventually suffers harm–ill-fated deals, lost opportunities, low morale and productivity, poor quality and worse.
How can you tell a good CEO from a bad one? One way is to observe whether he or she is a power maniac. If so, this person will have an attitude of: “Im in control. Regardless of what other people say, I know whats best for this company.” Over-inflated egos arent limited to CEOs, of course. Ive seen vice presidents and department heads afflicted with the same condition: “This is my turf and Im going to protect it at all costs.”
No one disputes that defending and protecting ones company is a noble pursuit. But such defenses need to be rationally grounded and judiciously implemented. The egotistical leaders care little for such constraints. Typically, they do not reason things out or consult others. The saying–fools are right in their own eyes while the wise listen to counsel–is lost upon them.
There is a great difference between a person who exudes self-confidence and has the skills to accomplish great things and a person whose overblown ego prevents staff from tackling problems realistically. The smart rep will work with the former and use great caution when dealing with the latter.
While you are at it, why not also take some time to examine your own leadership skills: Do you trust your people or do you know it all? The answer might help you correct problems and/or set your sights on greater success.
Greed: Greediness of the CEO is the second powerful influence that I have noticed. How can you detect such greed? Observe whether the CEO works for the welfare of policyholders, employees, agents, stockholders and then himself–in that order. If he or she does so, the person is probably a great CEO. But if the executive works in the opposite direction, looking out for his or her personal interests first, that spells trouble. Employees and agents receive little or no consideration from this type of CEO. The consumer is a footnote.