In military circles, there’s an old saying that the generals and armies are well-prepared to fight the last war. As I meet with agents who are knee-deep in the sales and marketing of health insurance, I wonder if they are suffering from the same problem.

They are understandably concerned about their role in the “new normal” post health care reform universe. Last week’s tip of the hat from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners regarding their value in the system did little to assuage their concerns. Many are looking at Massachusetts – often cited as an exemplar for the exchanges that need to be built under PPACA – and are rightly concerned about the sparse commissions being paid by a financially challenged system.

Some hope for repeal of the new law and others believe that a new Congress might refuse to fund the programs. Another group believes that the courts will find the individual mandate to be unconstitutional and that the rest of the law will be vacated along with the mandate. Regardless, are these folks just preparing to fight the “last war”? Perhaps their focus needs to be on the valuable advice and counsel we provide, because the client’s need for that service will endure.

A small but growing group “gets” this. They are focused on two key components that will take their businesses into the future. First, they are increasing the scope of the work they do for clients. Second, they are slowly beginning to set the framework for consultancies that may bear a very different compensation model than they are used to.

Are you like those generals of old, refining yesterday’s strategies in the hope that everything will go back to status quo ante bellum, or are you looking forward? As management guru Peter Drucker was fond of saying, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Check out more blog entries from David Saltzman.