Accountability: Who’s Burden Is It?

Accountability: Who’s Burden Is It?

Accountability: Who's burden is it?

The burden of accountability remains on leadership shoulders unless you put it where it belongs and keep it there. Where does it belong?  It belongs with the producer.  How do you get it assigned and transferred to the producer?

Let me give you an example of accountability outside of your producers….Let's suppose you have a client, a contractor.  They ask you for a certificate of insurance at the last possible minute.  In fact, their truck is trying to pull through the gates at the construction site, they've been waiting in line for 30 minutes to get in, and with no certificate, the go to the back of the line. Your firm gets a  phone call, “we need a certificate sent to Jack at Tardy Construction right now, or we've got a big problem”. So, being customer oriented, you drop everything that is going on and jump through hoops to get it done to please the client.  A couple of weeks later, it happens again, then again.  Who owns the burden of that contractor notifying you in advance that they needs certificates?  Your agency does.  And the more your agency is willing to jump through hoops to assist someone who is so unorganized that they can't or won't help themselves, the more you'll get to do it.

It's not just producers we are talking about, it's people.  As long as you will take responsibility for their errors, they apathy, their “lack of desire” to get something done, the more they will let you.

Who is responsible for accountability in your agency? You are, you have to set up the systems and processes  (rules and standards) and put them in writing. Communicate it, train it… and do it consistently.

Louis Berman, a good friend and agency operator has used this phrase a lot, “move the burden.”  What does that mean I once asked him?  He gave me this example; if a prospect is not in our system the producer doesn't own it.  If a prospect doesn’t have relevant notes, the producer doesn't own it. If the producer doesn't have it in the system, we don't market it.  If the producer doesn’t' have it in the system, they don't get paid on it.  If the producer doesn't have goals, they are not a producer and get paid like an account manager.

You need to set up your rules, communicate your expectations and let your producers live with the consequences of playing outside the lines, then you have officially ‘moved the burden'.  It won't take long for them to understand, it's their responsibility to do what's requested, and when they make a personal decision to do something different, it's their burden not yours.  They deal with the consequences, not you. Make the doer be the doer… As a Sales Leader, you are probably accepting too much responsibility for the failure and success of your producers. And if you are not really careful, you are enabling them to be lazy, and that happens when you protect them from the natural consequences. So stop.

The responsibility starts with AO's setting up systems and processes (rules and standards).  Then assigns that responsibility to the rightful owner, the producers. So, Move The Burden, and keep it there. It will save you a tremendous amount of time, make for a better run agency, you'll have happier people and your agency will grow faster and more profitably.

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