How Not To Play God With Your Employees

In our last article, we talked about not pretending that you own your clients. You do this by treating them as the freethinking individuals that they are and not taking them for granted. This ensures that they do business with you voluntarily out of their perceived self-interest and keeps your relationship in a win-win mode.

When you are a business owner or manager, it’s easy to focus on the end product or the work being produced instead of the person doing the work. It’s tempting to treat people as your pawns since they are working for you and doing what you are asking of them. But is this the right way to go? Does playing God with your employees really help anyone in the long run?

The Golden Rule

Just as with your clients, you don’t own your employees and no one will benefit from you taking them for granted. Each employee is an individual with free will who could give you their best, day in and day out if given the respect and appreciation they deserve.

Respect and appreciation are not hard to provide and simple consideration and courtesy can go a long way. When I was a teenager, I had a job at a local pharmacy stocking shelves in the general supplies section. The store manager called every one of us kids who worked there Mister and Miss, speaking to us politely by saying, “Please bring these boxes to the warehouse, Mr. Kobrin,” instead of “Take these boxes now.” That had a profound impact on me. Even though we were all just starting out in business and, for many of us, this was our first real job, he treated us like adults. He could have just as easily bossed us around, following the example of many other authority figures. But the fact that he gave us a measure of respect made a difference. I know that I felt like a somebody in both my own eyes and his and that many of my coworkers felt the same way.

The Benefits Of Respect

If you want hard workers that respect you, playing God won’t give you the results you want. In the personal example above, I can attest to the fact that we all worked extra hard for this man. He was smart and knew how to put our eagerness and enthusiasm to good use, for both our benefit and his. When he saw that one of us was ready, he would give us a challenge, whether it was stocking an entire aisle for the first time or putting special merchandise in a prominent display. Each one of these challenges was an opportunity to show how good we were at our job and how far we had come in our training. While it could be nerve-racking at times because there was more on the line and you had to meet a higher standard of performance, our boss was encouraging and you could be confident he wouldn’t have asked you to take on this task if he didn’t think you were ready.

A Better Way

This pattern of appreciation and respect is the way to deal with employees, especially when they are young. This is how you groom them and grow them in your company and create an atmosphere of loyalty. You can’t demand respect of your employees. If you give respect, you will get respect. You can’t treat them like pieces on your personal chessboard. In all my years of working, I have known many employers who didn’t care about their employees and saw each man and woman as a commodity to be used and tossed away. Or even worse, to be continually used and abused. This type of boss thinks he’s God and can do anything he wants with you, just because you work for him.

The #MeToo movement shows us how malevolent and damaging this attitude can get. These powerful Hollywood elite think they can have their way with young actors and actresses, simply because they work for them. I really can’t think of a better way to kill morale and squash careers, as many survivors have attested, and it’s all because these moguls pretend they are God.

This is the lesson to walk away with: just because you have power doesn’t mean you wield it over your employees. Don’t let it get to your head.

I’m sure many of you also have stories where you have seen this principle play out. What were the effects on you? How has it changed how you treat your employees? Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com or schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call online to discuss this topic with me further!

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

How Not to Play God With Your Clients

We live in a culture marked by striving and entitlement. Sometimes those qualities are positive as they help us reach our goals and achieve great things. But getting what you want in business – and life in general – should be as much about the process as it is the goal. In a prior post, we talked about the idea of ownership from the “cosmic” point of view, that everything we use to get what we want in life, from other people to natural resources, are not ours to keep or claim. Because they are on loan to us from their Creator, they must get the respect they deserve. Our process of “acquiring” something is really a process of continually showing appreciation for being able to “have” something for the time allotted.

This deep and multifaceted idea has a multitude of practical applications in business. Many successful people live their lives mindful of the concept of ownership. This next series of articles will give you a glimpse into how people achieve success by not pretending they own their clients, their employees, or their profession. In short, they don’t play God.

A Shift In Perspective

When I first entered the life insurance business almost three decades ago, it was commonly believed that life insurance was sold, not bought. The feeling was that because consumers are naturally resistant to buying the product, they must be convinced to do so. A wide variety of tactics were taught, all of them aimed at pushing your prospect to make a purchase.

This approach to selling is very presumptuous, to say the least. It’s almost as if the salesman feels entitled to the sale, and that the consumer simply needs to be forced to make the purchase. The salesman “wins” when the client “gives it up.” Because of this approach to client acquisition, it should be no surprise that the buying public has developed such a low opinion of life insurance salespeople.

Don’t Act Like A Salesperson

I had the good fortune of being set straight by a prospective client early in my career. I had spent weeks courting an investment banker for an initial appointment. This gentleman was an ideal client and would be on the A-list of any financial services representative. He had a need for a large policy, ample means to pay for it, and a desire to make the purchase immediately. In my mind, I had already spent my commission!

I arrived early to his office in the financial district of Manhattan. As I sat in the waiting room, I admired all the signs of his wealth that were woven into the decor: the exotic furnishings, the paintings, the expensive carpeting. Here was a man who earned big money and spent big money.

He came into the waiting room and saw me admiring his “stuff.” He looked me up-and-down and simply said, “If you want to do business with me, then don’t act like a life insurance salesman.”

Right. Got it. People who can spend $2 million on a boat don’t get coerced into making a purchase. They spend their money as they see fit, on people for whom they have respect and can trust. They simply have no time for amateurs who are out to game them.

Be Character Conscious

One way you earn such respect is by building a character that is consistent and steadfast.

Steven Siebold makes this exact point when he talks about how those who are world class are also character conscious:

“Champions take the high road and are known to do what they say they will do…They make deals with other champions on a handshake, and view it as a binding contract…Champions will push only to the limits their character will allow. When their ambitions and drives begin to adversely affect other people, Champions pull back. Character is what separates ambitious champions from ambitious criminals.” (Siebold, 213)

Needless to say, champions show the same character to clients small, medium, and large. You can’t get away with playing God with some clients and not playing God with others. Character requires consistency, and character will be rewarded.

What examples come to mind of the benefits of being character conscious? Have you seen these ideas play out in your personal and business life? I’d love to know what you think! Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

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Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

We Need Holy Days As Well As Holidays

Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us! For many of us, that means a break from work, time spent with family, and hopefully, some rest and relaxation. Taking the time to unwind during the holidays is much-needed and should be a priority, but is there more to it than just putting your feet up?

A Shift In Mindset

We often spend our holidays the same way we spend our weekends. We separate ourselves from work (at least for part of the time), and relax and enjoy a hearty meal at home or at the home of a relative or close friend. We might get together with others at a restaurant or hit the links at a golf course if the weather allows. If it’s too cold for golf, maybe we’ll head off to a resort. Other times a simple movie is all we need to unwind.

But for many, turning the holiday season into an extended weekend is not enough. Some of us want to dive into the deeper meaning of the season, attending special religious services or participating in community activities like volunteering at a soup kitchen or buying gifts for families in need. We want to observe the holidays in a spiritual way.

Holiness During The Holidays

I see all this searching for a deeper experience of life as an attempt to become part of something larger, to become dedicated to a higher purpose. Deep down, people truly need this. No matter how fulfilling or rewarding they find their job and their everyday activities, there is still a desire for something more. Holidays may be a break from the same old same old just like weekends, but just going through the holiday or weekend motions doesn’t make things special or memorable. It doesn’t create an atmosphere of holiness or cause us to focus on something higher than ourselves.

Unfortunately, many people are not comfortable taking traditional paths that lead to a holier life or they don’t know where to start. They can’t relate to formal religion and even the “spiritual” alternatives that have been developed don’t fit the bill. While we wish for one sole source to lead us to a life of holiness, we find countless available resources that only fill small pieces of the whole. It’s our job, then, to gather all these pieces into a cohesive, meaningful picture that will transform our lives.

Even if we are convinced we need to incorporate this philosophy of holiness into our lives, it’s often easier said than done. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, Steve Siebold alludes to the idea that leading a holy life is part of the journey to becoming world class and gives us some ideas of how to observe holidays in a holy way.

Formulate Your Life Dream And Vision

Siebold’s research has led him to the conclusion that in order to reach the world class level, you need to be intrinsically motivated. The world class lets their dreams, desires, and passions lead them and they stick to their beliefs when the going gets tough. Since the great ones move from logic-based motivators to emotion-based motivators, it’s essential to take some time to hash out your life goals, priorities and vision and learn how to motivate yourself to achieve them.

Remember Your Roots

The past has a lot to teach us. Going back and remembering where you came from and how far you’ve come will reinforce your belief in yourself and give you even more confidence to move ahead (1) (Siebold, 53-54). As we immerse ourselves in the holidays, reflect on your roots and remember that success is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Engage In True Rest

In our society, we have lost the meaning of rest. We burn the candle at both ends and only let ourselves relax out of desperation, when we’ve hit rock bottom and can’t go further. Balance in this area is difficult to achieve. Even when we’re “off,” we’re usually “on” mentally. Find ways to recharge and strive to attain equilibrium between achievement and relaxation. Your soul will thank you.

Seek Solitude And Meditation

Many of the world’s highest-paid individuals are able to tap into the vast resources of their creative minds to produce products and services that solve the problems of the masses. This level of creative thought requires significant intellectual energy, which must be followed by intellectual rest and recovery. The great ones know the power of a quiet mind, and many invest time in solitude on a regular basis. They recognize that their performance depends on rest in mind, body, and spirit (Siebold, 219-220).

Apply And Practice

If any of this resounds with you, I encourage you to carve out some time to reflect, remember, and respond. Don’t let busyness and distractions turn these holidays into an extended weekend. Let your heart, mind, and soul observe the season fully and you will enter the new year with resolve and excitement for all 2018 will bring! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this concept of holy days instead of holidays. You can reach me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with over 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: The Power of Saying “Thank You”

If you do a quick search online for “secrets to success,” you’ll end up with a massive list of tips with everything from having vision to taking risks. But in my previous article on spiritual business practices, we learned from success guru Steve Siebold that “Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is…a trait of many champions.” (89) (1)

That’s all well and good, but how exactly does one tap into that higher power or infinite intelligence? How does that spiritual connection play out practically in everyday business practice?

Live With Gratitude

Fortunately, Siebold’s answer is simple: it’s all about having an attitude of gratitude. Here’s what he says about this:

“Champions know the ultimate creative force is located somewhere beyond our everyday consciousness, and they must tap the source to generate their best ideas. The secular sometimes refer to this source as the unconscious mind. The spiritual often call it God. Whatever label their belief warrants, few deny the power of the source, whatever its point of origin. Champions know the fastest way to connect to the source is through gratitude. Thoughts and feelings of gratitude seem to elevate the performer’s consciousness to a higher plane than is accessible through any other means. Professional writers call it being connected. Athletes call it being in the zone. Psychologists refer to it as a state of flow. No matter what name you assign it, the experience is the same…Gratitude is their mindset of choice when they need to awaken the giant and tap their genius.” (37-38) (2)

In my religion, Judaism, we start our day by saying thank you to God for restoring our soul and entrusting us with it for another day. If said earnestly, this expression can be extremely enlightening. It makes you realize a number of important truths:

  • We need our soul/spiritual resources to do our day’s work
  • These resources are given to us by the Creator
  • They are “on loan” and should not be taken for granted

In light of this insight, I think any one of us would be led to feel appreciative and say thank you, either to God Himself or at least in general. Most certainly, we would say thank you to anybody and everybody who helps us accomplish what we do throughout our day. Just as we can’t take what God gives us for granted, we can’t take what anybody else gives us for granted either.

The Power Of Thankfulness

Robert Emmons, considered to be the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, found that living a life of gratitude improves mental, physical, and relational health to the point of having higher energy levels, less stress and depression, and heightened spirituality. (3) Finding ways to integrate gratitude throughout your business day can make a world of difference in your life and the lives of others.

I like to thank my employees for putting in a hard day’s work. I take the time to thank my prospects for giving me the opportunity to give them a life insurance quote. I say thank you to my vendors for excellent work in prequalification and underwriting. I like to thank my clients for giving me their business and for going out of their way to spread the word about my services.

And once you start saying thank you, your eyes are opened to everything around you that deserves your gratitude. It starts a chain reaction, and my day often involves one positive and productive interaction after another. Sure, there are ups and downs, but these expressions of gratitude keep me on track and connected. It’s a good way of “getting into the flow” in a business sense.

Thankfulness and Business

As you can imagine, there are also business benefits to saying thank you. Not only do I get a stronger work ethic out of my employees, but I also receive great service from my vendors and more opportunities to quote life insurance. Saying a simple thank you has led to more sales and referrals from my clients. It all boils down to this: if you take things for granted, they diminish pretty quickly, but if you’re grateful for them, then they multiply.

Do you live a life of gratitude? Have you reaped the rewards of this spiritual practice? Do you need some practical guidance on how to start living with thankfulness?  I’d love to hear your stories and answer your questions. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

(2) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

(3) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-kamen-gredinger/the-transformative-power-_2_b_6982152.html

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: The Connection to Faith

When you hear the word, “spiritual,” what comes to mind? The concept of spirituality has taken on a wide variety of meanings, ranging from new age and esoteric to traditional religion to Eastern philosophy. The common theme running through all these examples is that of the human soul, something beyond the material and physical world we live in, and certainly something above the realm of money and finance, right?

Can Business and Spirituality Work Together?

But money and finance do not need to run counter to spirituality. At the very least, they don’t in my life. I have always tried to take a higher approach to business, focusing not just on the big sales, commissions, or the huge roster of clients. I want to balance the practical with doing good. When you die, no one will remember all your awards and certifications. Their eulogies will attest to the kind of person you were, the deeds you performed, and how your life impacted others.

This new series of articles will examine how spiritual growth can take place while you conduct business. We will discuss the spiritual practices I employ and am still in the process of researching to make my business activity a way of adding value to others and the world.

The Goal Of Spiritual Living

Everyone has their own objectives when pursuing spiritual practices. Some want to achieve a certain state of mind, of experiencing enlightenment or euphoria. Others want to harness specific “powers” or “energies.” These may be well and good, but I see these pursuits as means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. What good is it to become more evolved if the world doesn’t become a better place as a result?

Spirituality has been closely linked to success in life and world-class performance. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, success guru Steve Siebold points out that champions have tremendous faith:

“Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is … a trait of many champions. There are atheists who are tremendous performers, yet as a rule, there seems to be a connection between professional performers and the spiritual side of life. Many pros draw a tremendous energy and power from a deep faith in a greater force. In recent years, many who were turned off by fear-based organized religions in their childhood have turned to new-thought churches and centers…Whatever the source of their spiritual faith, world-class performers do tend to hold strong spiritual convictions.” (1) (89)

I firmly believe that my spiritual convictions raise my work to a higher level of excellence. As we enter this series, I am very excited to explore the connection between the spiritual and the material, in the world of business and particularly in the selling of life insurance. Have you seen this philosophy in action in your life or in those around you? Share your thoughts with me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I hope you join me on this journey.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.