Old(er) dogs, new tricks

There’s not much an ‘old dog’ like Darren Trott doesn’t know about making the most of change. Here’s his advice for ‘younger pups’

The pace of change in our industry continues to accelerate, with new technologies, the impact of social media, mergers and acquisitions of insurers and brokers, and the rise of challenger brands in the market.
I’ve been reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned during my 30 years in this industry and wondering how the next generation of planning, wealth, and advice professionals will face the future.
I know there are hundreds of ‘older dogs’ like me in our industry who have similar career stories. So, what are some pearls of wisdom I can share with the ‘younger pups’ who are coming through the industry?
Seek out the right role models and mentors
There are many tremendous examples of leaders in our industry who are only too willing to share their experiences and to help develop the careers of the next generation. Seek them out and ask their advice. Understand their values and observe their behaviors. Turn to them for counsel on difficult problems.
Understand different roles and responsibilities
Developing your knowledge of ‘who does what’ is essential to getting great outcomes and delivering excellent service to your customer. In many cases, processes have become so segmented individuals only get to see the one link they have responsibility for in the whole chain, without understanding how their role impacts the next part of the business.
Listen to your customer and use discretionary service
It’s so tempting to offer a solution before you’ve fully understood the issue. Actively listen to your customer and ask clarifying questions. As an industry, we’re not good at adapting our processes to the customer’s needs and we’re quick off the mark to tell them what we can’t do, or to hide behind a ‘but that’s our process’ excuse. Discretionary service is adapting what you can do to meet customer expectations.
Get out of the office and head for the front line
In the office there are files, phone queues and triage processes, invoices, KPIs and budgets. The real action happens outside the office. Spend a day with a loss adjuster, seeing the challenges being faced by businesses struggling to survive after a loss.
Build your network of contacts
Our industry relies heavily on relationships and if you can bring together the right people at the right time, you can achieve some amazing outcomes. Building trust with each other and understanding what skills and talents each party brings to the table is critical. The people you might be working alongside today could well be scattered across many different organizations in a few years’ time, which brings about opportunities to do business with each other once again in a different way.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Darren Trott. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.