Benchmark Business Group

Controlling The Uncontrollable

November 15, 2022

We often coach our Financial Services clients to understand what they can control and what they can’t control.

In every industry there are things outside of your control, but within this industry the elements you can’t control often become excuses that hold you back. There is truth to excuses, but they are still excuses.


Some "outside of my control" issues we have heard from clients include:

  • Goals. These are often set by someone else and passed down to you. You may also have contract minimums that have to be met. Although you may be free to set your own goals, there are certain milestone requirement which must be met.
  • Compliance. One word that can cause a lot of frustration.
  • Transition plans. You may have contracts that are not transferable that influence how you transition out of the business.
  • Underwriting rules. Sometimes you just won’t agree with the company’s decision not to write a policy.
  • Price. With most products and services, the price is set for you and at times you may feel that it’s a barrier.

Now, this might seem all doom and gloom, but there are ways you can focus your energy in a positive way when you run into these issues:

  • Understand the other point of view. As a business owner, you are used to thinking differently. You might even find yourself thinking, “I wish my employees thought more like an owner.” What we find is that too often, financial services professionals forget to put on this “owner” hat when faced with issues outside of their control. Just like your business, the companies you write business with have their own goals and objectives. It can help to take a step back and look at what you can’t control from their point of view. When you sign your contract to work with that company you are agreeing to play by their rules. And as tough as that can be sometimes, there are also a lot of benefits, but your focus should be on trying to understand their why.
  • Be an advocate. If you really think things need to change, look for ways to influence that change. Leadership isn’t always about position. You can lead change, but to do so you must be willing to understand their point of view and put yourself out there. Make note of how you can get involved, what committees can you participate in, what relationships do you need to make? This often isn’t a fast process. It takes time. Sometimes years. But it is a proactive strategy that you can choose to undertake. And remember, if you don’t feel comfortable joining a committee, share the problem and solution with a committee member so they can address it.
  • Find another solution. Sometimes it takes creativity. Very seldom do you have only one path to a solution. Think of these things as a roadblock. You could get off this road and find another company but beware that a new road is going to have its own roadblocks. Or you can find a detour on the original road. We see a lot of professionals create their own networks of agencies to share creative solutions, sales ideas and other tactics that are working. It’s not always easy. And yes, it can be frustrating, but it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to be reactive or proactive. In our experience with working with financial services professionals in many companies and across the nation, those professionals that decide to be proactive are the ones that create success. The ones that wait for the roadblock to clear tend to struggle and have bad experiences. Those that move to another company often look back and realize that no company is perfect.

There is no right way to handle these issues. But you have the ability to overcome the feeling that things are out of your control. The choice is yours.

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