Strategies for Success Newsletter April 2020 Issue 172
Published by Emily Huling Selling Strategies
Copyright 2020 Emily Huling. All rights reserved.
In this April 2020 issue:
- Thoughts from the Office
- Thoughts from Others
- Josmo’s Cafe
- Stay Energized
- Emily Live
- Thoughts from the Office
In writing this issue, I debated on totally avoiding the COVID-19 topic to give us all a break. But I can’t. There are too many business-continuation tips to share. Included are tips from my own 26-year work-from-home experience, ideas generated from my clients and industry business leaders, and resources to stay connected and informed.
Work from home
- Communicating daily schedules is critical. Use a month-at-a glance dry-erase or paper calendar in a central location. If more than two in the household, consider each person having his or her own calendar. List business calls, schooling schedules, mealtimes, chores and meal prep responsibilities. Planning, posting, and communicating will help avoid miscommunication, resentment, and “I didn’t know…”
- Parents juggling their own work and their children’s schooling should share all responsibilities. Establish new house rules to share household work. It’s only fair.
- Get dressed for work. This is important psychologically and for unexpected virtual meetings. If you wouldn’t wear it at the office (ball caps, ultra-comfy casual or social clothes) then don’t wear it working from home.
- Create your own private space that is free from noise and disruption. Creativity may be required. Decide whether you want to share that you are working from a bathroom!
- Use your alarm settings to stay on track with your schedule that now includes work and home responsibilities. Be as responsible to your family in keeping your time agreements as you are with your business associates. Let your colleagues and clients know your timing. You can always call back or reschedule. Everyone will understand that these are unique times.
- Limit news to two times a day. No matter your source of information, the media strategy remains “if it bleeds, it leads.” Don’t get sucked in.
- Restrict personal calls and connections. Friends and family may not think you are working since you are at home. Let those people know when you are available for personal chats (other than emergencies).
On March 26, I watched an informative panel discussion hosted by Insurance Business America called Coronavirus: Keeping Broker’s Business Running. Joel Cavaness, President of Risk Placement Services, Inc. said this about client relationships. “This time is critical. It is how we will be judged in the future.” Well said. Agents, carriers, and brokers all have a commitment to reach out to their respective clients to show caring, demonstrate professionalism, and validate why they have been selected as trusted advisor or insurance wholesaler or company.
Work with your team to create a list of what clients and partners to connect with. Create a detailed action plan of who, when, and how to best personally reach out. Some organizations will need contact at multiple levels. Do not put this off. The next couple of weeks are vital connection times.
I’m impressed with all the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram posts I’m seeing from my clients and connections. Keep up the great work!
Connecteam is a great low-cost, one-stop resource to keep remote workers connected. The link will take you to a great article on remote team-building games. When I read the list of activities, I realize how little we know about those we spend hours and hours with under one roof. What an opportunity to broaden the number of people we connect with and deepen the relationships we already have!
Leadership from the top
Crisis breeds fear and uncertainty. Those feelings can be quieted when top leaders (owners, presidents, and regional executives) communicate directly and frequently using a variety of communication methods. Here are some ideas.
- Video briefings and updates to employees to relay information. Weekly or more frequently if needed. Keep people informed!
- Coffee chats using two-way communication platforms. Smaller groups allow for all to participate to ask questions, share concerns, and success stories. Have people sign up for specific times. Ask for questions in advance. Mix up team members.
- Daily morning e-mail motivational messages. Yes, daily. Feeling isolated is a huge change for office workers. Occasional work-from-home days are a break. This is not. This is our new reality. Send e-mails that relay confidence in your team. “You can do it” stories and quotes. Employee, client, partner feel-good and success stories. Solicit that information from your managers. This is also an opportunity to share your human side that employees who don’t work directly with you may never see. What are you grateful for? Share photos. How are you handling the challenges in your changed life? What are you and your family watching or binging? What Museums or National Parks are you virtually visiting? Recipes to share? Take-out meals you enjoy? Games you are playing? Zoom book clubs, wine and cheese parties? Convey how you really are in this together.
Here are three daily resources I’m finding invaluable to stay abreast of industry news, employment issues and new laws, and advice for agents on how best to work with policyholders.
Insurance Business America – free subscription
Society for Human Resources – annual membership fee is $219.00
Agency Performance Partners – Kelly Donahue-Piro is providing terrific daily video blogs for agents. Start with the blog on March 24 and watch them all. The blog posted on March 29 provides scripts for insurance teams when talking with insureds. Free subscription.
I hope this list provides new ideas or helps you generate your own.
Remember that your number one job is to STAY HEALTHY!
- Thoughts from Others
The Guest House by Sufi Mystic Rumi (13th Century)
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
- Josmo’s Café
I hope you are finding more time to cook and bake! Impress your family with this fast and easy one-pan Pear Cobbler. Older children can easily make it on their own. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s the comfort food we all can use right now!
Many of us are using this time to clean, clean, clean! John and I have been using my cousin’s reusable cloth towel product called Rakot75. Use it, rinse it, wash it, and reuse it. It’s soft and does not scratch surfaces. It does a great job polishing our granite counters and stainless steel appliances.
Check out the story of how Josmo’s Café came into being and dozens of other Josmo’s Cafe recipes on our website.
- Stay Energized
Take a mental health break. Grab a cup of soothing chamomile tea and watch flowers bloom in this 4-minute time-lapse video.
Our Energizer Minute podcast for the month of April is Boiling Eggs.
Follow me on Twitter @EmilyHuling to read my weekday Energizer Moments.
- Emily Live and subject to change….
- Agency Management CIC, Charlotte, NC – May 13-14, 2020
- Agency Management CIC, Wichita, KS – June 16-17, 2020
Please share any of my free stuff, articles, or newsletter content when proper credit is included.
Selling Strategies: Strategies for Success Newsletter is published by Emily Huling Selling Strategies. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2020 Emily Huling Selling Strategies All rights reserved.