Living our Dream Purposefully – Purpose of Living – Part 30

NAFLIA 2019 Presentation (Click here to Download Powerpoint)

NAFLIA 2019 Presentation (Click here to download PDF)

Click on the above link for the presentation related to the keynote speech to be given by me at NAFLIA 2019. Conference participants are invited to download the presentation and use it to follow the keynote speech. 

life-insurance advisors
Image Credits: farrisinsadvisors.com

This blog is written in service of life-Insurance Advisors in Sri Lanka, specifically the members attending NAFLIA 2019, the National Forum for Life Insurance Advisors scheduled for the 2ndof September. My attempt is to articulate the key messages of the keynote speech that will be delivered by me.  

As I was reflecting on the topic for the annual conference, ‘Assuring Tomorrow Dream Today’. The questions that come up are, what is the action we need to take today to assure our dream of tomorrow? How do we know the action we choose to take today will assure our dream tomorrow? I realised this is a very complex question and that there is no standard answer to this as the action to be taken depends of the world each person lives in. What I mean by the ‘world’ is the immediate world of each person starting with him/herself, family, friends, organisations they belong to, organisations and people they interact with etc. The answer is personal.

As I reflected on this, it dawned to me that most personal aspect, which is unique to each living being. is their purpose in this world.  Living our life purposefully today would be a path to assuring the dream we have for tomorrow. Therefore, this blog post is concerned with helping life-insurance advisors to figure out their dream of tomorrow and what it means to live their life purposefully as explored in the next two paragraphs respectively.  

Tomorrow’s dream is a very abstract concept and very subjective. The dream can range from being peaceful by learning to live a life of non-attachment to material aspects in one extreme and amassing material possessions that provides a luxurious life on the other extreme. It could range from giving to getting, from being to becoming. While I personally dream of a life of being non-attached and experiencing happiness from giving, each person needs to articulate what their dream is. I personally prefer to hold it lightly  – rather than having specific dreams – and to allow God or the higher powers or the universal energy system to decide how such dreams are articulated and manifested.  Again, the choice is personal.

This blog series has examined the notion of purposeful living from various perspectives. While those interested in this notion can deep dive into the various posts in this blog, those interested in discovering what their purpose might be, could find some ideas in the blog post; A Glimpse of our Purpose;  once a glimpse of the purpose is seen, it becomes easier to live purposefully. Ideas about how to live purposefully can be seen in the blog post: Building ourselves to be fit for purpose. I believe that purposeful living is the steps we take daily to build ourselves to be fit to be of service to this world, using our natural and learnt talent that makes us feel alive and being of service to the concerns we have about our world.    

While this is an evolving notion in my mind, I do not claim this is the right answer and I am open to other opinions. However, I believe this notion can be a good starting point in giving some food for thought for life-insurance advisors to live their life purposefully today, as a path to assuring the dream they have for tomorrow. It is interesting that these professionals use the word ‘advisors’ instead of ‘sales persons’. This shows their intention of positioning this profession in a manner that overcomes the negative image that ‘selling’ has acquired due to the crafty, cleaver and devious nature of some sales people. This idea is also discussed in my last blog post; Is Selling a Purposeful Profession?.

Selling is a noble profession, if it is conducted in an authentic manner based on solid values. In such cases selling becomes an act of love and generosity. While ‘love’ is such a complex notion, I believe that love is the act of extending ourselves for the growth of others and ourselves, even when it is inconvenient to us. Therefore, the responsibility of ‘sales professionals’ is to advise, guide, and educate customers with the intention of helping them make the best choices that helps improve the quality of their life. Improving in the quality of life involves growing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, ecologically, socially and in temperament. Therefore, selling is an act of love as it helps customers grow in these important areas. It is also an act of generosity because it involves giving of their time, opinions, knowledge, care and advise unconditionally. It could also go to the extent of letting the customer know that a competitor product better suits their need, even at the expense of losing a sale. Yes, the sale may be lost, but the loyalty gained cannot be compared to the financial loss of losing the sale.

What does living purposefully mean to a ‘life-insurance’ advisor? Since being purposeful is concerned with being of service to this world, let examine how these professionals are of service to people. They serve families by offering a form of saving that could result in a lump sum payment to the insurer on maturity or to the family due to an unforeseen situation.  This improves the quality of life due to peace of mind, education, harmony in families, health care expenses, etc. that their service provides. However, it is important to conduct this profession with a set of noble values such as authenticity, transparency, flexibility, patience, care, empathy etc. for them to be truly purposeful. Living in this manner helps accumulate positive energy, which attracts opportunities to serve and to gain the required wherewithal to build a life that can help live their dream of tomorrow.

The question I was attempting to answer in this blog was; how can insurance advisors assure tomorrows dream by living purposefully today? The exploration in this writing shows that life insurances advisors are well placed to live purposefully and if they choose to conduct their lives and profession in this manner, it will help them assure the dream they articulate for tomorrow.

The way this question impacts different life-insurance advisors are different, given their mind-set, role and various other aspects of life. I recommend that you reflect on the steps you can take to use this experience to make sense of your purpose and help others in your life make sense of their purpose, with the intention of living a better life to make this world a better place.

My blog post of the last five months addressed the impact of violence, religion, politics, sports and the sales profession on the lives of people and how to makes sense of various world events from the frame of purposefulness. We continue to explore purposefulness, this time in relation to life-insurances advisors.

This new phase in this series on ‘purposefulness’, which I started eight months ago, is dedicated to address living issues and struggles related to purposeful living. I hope this short blog post inspires you to find ways of making sense and dealing with experiences and struggles you encounter in trying to live purposefully.

 I wish you purposeful living!

Is Selling a Purposeful Profession – Purpose of Living – Part 29

purposeful sales person 2
Image credits: businessknowhow.com

I was at a cocktail party listening to an interesting conversation between two other guests who were in the same huddle as me.

Person A: What do you do?

Person B: I sell financial services.

Person A: What do you really want to do?

Person B: I want to be banker.

I asked A why he asked that question, and B why he responded that way. A said, “isn’t selling a profession that is not respected?” B said “yes”, it is so difficult to sell because customers look at him with suspicion. In my three decades of being in business and playing the roles of seller, buyer, leader, trainer, consultant and coach of sales professionals, I have encountered this attitude towards sales on many occasions.

However, my personal attitude towards sales is the opposite. As I reflect on the questions – how is it that people have developed this attitude towards sales, and what would be the best way to help people to look differently at sales? – the notion of purposefulness continues to come to my mind. Perhaps if I can find out if ‘sales’ is a purposeful profession, then it might help me to engage with people who have diverse viewpoints regarding this question.

Answering the above question requires understanding what is a purposeful profession. While I have attempted to answer this question in the earlier blog posts regarding purposefulness, there is no definite answer due to the complexity of this question. I believe that a purposeful profession needs to be of service to the flourishing of life and supported by noble values. Let’s examine these two aspects in relation to the sales profession. Continue reading “Is Selling a Purposeful Profession – Purpose of Living – Part 29”

How Marketers can Add Value to the Organisation

marketing blog
Source: http://www.networkintellect.com

Organisations consist of people who are varied. People come from varied cultures, mindsets, beliefs, philosophies, and background. This diversity creates varied dynamics of interactions. Therefore it is unlikely that there are two similar organisations on this planet. Therefore there is no standard formula or right answer or wrong answers. Therefore the best I can do is to provide the clay for you to create a pot that can hold the value you can add to organisations that suits your reality and your aspirations using your creativity and your knowledge.

Why do you need to add value to organisations? I had learnt somewhere in my journey of life that the more you give the more you get. This concept became true to me as I tested it. The more I gave to others the more I received. The more time and I focus I gave my studies the better results I received. The more value I gave my existing clients the more new clients I received. The more knowledge I gave , especially free of any fees, the more knowledge I gained.

Continue reading “How Marketers can Add Value to the Organisation”

Great Conversations make Great Teams!

Image Credits: www.dailyhappyquote.com
Image Credits: http://www.dailyhappyquote.com

Remember the last time you were engrossed in a conversation? Conversation where real issues were discussed! Conversations that were authentic! Conversations that were value adding! Conversations that made time stand still! Conversations that made things happen! Conversations that got continued! These are the conversations that make great teams.

In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How Great is Your Team?’ I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that make a great team. The first seven aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’, ‘Team Alignment Around Critical Goals’, ‘Does your Team have Clearly Agreed way of Working?’ ‘A Great Decision-Making Process for a Great Team’, ‘Information Flow is Encouraged’, ‘Great Leaders don’t Mince their Words’ and ‘Positive Crisis’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the 8th installment regarding the 8th aspect; ‘Great Conversation’.

Continue reading “Great Conversations make Great Teams!”

Positive Crisis – Makes Great Teams!

Image credits: www.matthewroda.com
Image credits: http://www.matthewroda.com

Have you ever wondered what makes a movie interesting? It is the crisis in the movie, even when it is a comedy or an animated children’s film there is some crisis and you will realise how boring that movie could be without that crisis. Similarly meetings become interesting when there is a crisis to deal with. A project becomes interesting when there is a crisis to deal with. A team becomes interesting when there is crisis between team members.

In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How great is your team?’ I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that make a great team. The first six aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’, ‘Team Alignment around Critical Goals’, ‘Does Your Team have Clearly Agreed Way of Working?’, ‘A Great Decision-Making Process for a Great Team’, ‘Information Flow is Encouraged’, and ‘Great Leaders don’t Mince their Words’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the seventh instalment regarding the 7th aspect; ‘Positive Crisis’.

Continue reading “Positive Crisis – Makes Great Teams!”

Great Information Flow to Make Your Team Fly!

Image credits: https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/
Image credits: https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/

We love to hear good news! When bad news comes our way some times we tend to get upset, our body language and tonality shows that we are not pleased with the information and some resort to further unproductive behavior of shooting the messenger! Shooting the messenger can be in many forms. Some would question the messenger and ask them to justify the information. Some others may ridicule them as being negative or incompetent. Some others may even resort to retribution in the form of impacting their rewards and recognition negatively. However great teams have great leaders who behave positively and encourage information flow! In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How Great is Your Team?’ I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that make a great team. The first four aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’, ‘Team alignment around critical goals’, ‘Does your team have clearly agreed way of working?’ and ‘A great decision-making process for a great team’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the fifth installment regarding the 5th aspect; ‘Information flow is encouraged’. Great information flow requires the following mind-set, thinking and behaviours; Continue reading “Great Information Flow to Make Your Team Fly!”

Leadership is inefficient!

ImageLeadership is about developing team members to carryout the important responsibilities in the organization. This is essential if we are to grow and take on higher-level responsibilities. Developing team members requires time. Therefore leadership is inefficient in the short run. However it is a great investment of our time and energy to reap near medium term to long-term results, as having a developed team will help produce more value and great results.

Given below are 10 common areas where this inefficiency can happen.

  1. Getting the right team member in to the team: We need to first ensure the team member with the right attitude and skills are recruited into the team. This requires spending time on determining the profile of the ideal team member, preparing the right evaluation techniques and spending quality time evaluate the candidates.
  2. Taking time to direct: When a new team member is recruited or transferred in from another area of the organization to our team it takes time to induct and teach. Time needs to be allocated to introduce the new team member to the other team members, work environment, mission, vision, values, customers, products and work processes.
  3. Listening: It is important to actively listen to the team member to understand his/her level of absorption, development, enthusiasm, motivation and concerns. This will enable us to ensure the new team member feels at home soon, ready to take on responsibilities that we are planning to delegate.
  4. Handing over responsibility: It requires us handing over a task that may have taken us 1 hour to complete and it takes our team members double that time as he/she consciously and carefully does the job as requires. We need to have patience knowing that there is a natural curve of gaining efficiency as the skill and confidence improves.
  5. Detailed briefing: It is important to provide a detailed briefing for the responsibilities to be delegated. It requires determining how much of authority needs to be delegated. It requires documenting the details, some of which is in our mind and we do as second nature. Sometimes we neglect to provide the finer points thinking it is common sense. Sometimes what are common senses for us is not so common for others.
  6. Checking work done: We need to also invest time to check the progress of work and the quality of work. This requires reading weekly updates, walking into the areas of operation, speaking to those on the job, discussing variances and brainstorming solutions.
  7. Praising: We need to lavishly praise good work. We need to praise the progress in the process, not only wait for the outcome. While this can take time, it is an important activity to reinforce good behaviour.
  8. Improvement feedback: We need to also give improvement feedback for areas that needs to be better. Instant feedback can be detrimental as it can go packaged with negative emotions such as anger. Therefore it is better to give it some time to cool down, visualize how best to most productively provide the feedback and do so, so that this becomes an effective development activity. The cooling down periods takes time.
  9. Dealing with demotivation of others: Delegating responsibility to one person can demotivate another team member. Therefore it takes time to keep others informed, engaged in other value adding activity and communicate consistently so that we keep the entire team motivated.
  10. Dealing with conflict: It is quite likely for conflict to arise between team members as they work on projects and various tasks as they discharge responsibilities delegated. Therefore it is the leaders responsibility to defuse and manage the conflict to create strong team bonding. This of course takes a lot of time and the energy.
  11. Reporting up: The leader is ultimately responsible for tasks delegated and the reporting responsibility lies with the leader. When we were doing the tasks ourselves it was easy to report in detail as we were at the thick of everything. However when it is delegated we need time to get all the details, ask questions to get clarifications and write the report.

Continue reading “Leadership is inefficient!”