BURLINGTON, N.C. – The final touches are being put in place at National Agents Alliance headquarters as staff members prepare to host agents from across the United Sates for the “Get Your Ship Together” Leadership Conference July 12-14.
For months, NAA has diligently worked to give its headquarters a makeover that has included numerous renovations to accommodate The Alliance’s best and brightest from around the country.
“We are ready for members of The Alliance to come hang out for the weekend at our headquarters where we have created a home-court advantage for our team,” National Agents Alliance President and CEO Andy Albright said Thursday. “We’ve made major upgrades, opened up more floor space and have spared no expense to make this event the biggest we’ve ever hosted in Burlington. I think our agents are going to be blown away by the upgrades to our facility.”
Pre-event activities include a Lead Certification class hosted by NAA’s Lead Performance Team and a free annuity training seminar with annuity specialist Matthew Rettick. The event officially kicks off on Friday at 1 p.m. and concludes Sunday around 1 p.m. Vendor booths and the NAA store will be open throughout the weekend.
The three-day event will feature The Alliance’s top agents, delivering training and inspirational stories from stage. The weekend will also offer a lecture from Alamance Community College’s Jeff Bright, musical entertainment from The Goads and a keynote address from Andy Albright.
“The weekend promises to be informative, educational, uplifting and fun,” Albright said. “People are going to leave this event with a new focus and we think this event will serve as a springboard to bigger things for our team for the rest of 2013.”
National Agents Alliance, founded in 2002, recently hit two major milestones by surpassing 1 million submitted applications and 100 billion in submitted coverage via its multiple trusted partners like Mutual of Omaha, Foresters, Columbian Financial Group, Monumental Life, Fidelity & Guaranty, Baltimore Life, Kemper Senior Solutions, ING, etc.
If you are currently in a leadership position or are seeking a leadership position, it’s important to assess your leadership skills as they stand and determine what your areas of improvement are. Because all people are different, there is an array of leadership styles and methods, many effective for different people in different environments.
At National Agents Alliance, we encourage all corporate employees and agents to develop strong leadership skills as they grow in their roles and beyond. From corporate events and agent training to challenges at work and improving rank on the agent level board, the NAA culture continues to push onward toward great success and great leadership.
There are a few generic rules of leadership that yield successful management for most people in most environments. While different leaders have different styles, these basic principles can be absorbed and applied for a variety of situations.
A great leader should be engaging- A constant complaint of unhappy workers is that their leader or boss lacks personal concern for his/her workers’ well-being. Many workers feel that they don’t “have a voice” and are not respected for their thoughts, wants or needs. By adopting an engaging style of dealing with people you lead, you are creating a personable attitude that shows your genuine concern for the people you lead. Engaging with these people shows them that you care and that you hear their needs, making them value your ideas and your leadership more than they would otherwise. Getting to know the people you lead will help you delegate tasks appropriately and will make the operations process smoother.
A great leader should be encouraging- By encouraging the people you lead, you will keep them motivated to keep striving, working and succeeding in their work endeavors. Complimenting people on a job well-done and encouraging their ideas for the future will keep your followers aiming high. Without encouragement, people tend to get overworked and exhausted, often losing passion for their work. Reminding people that their work matters and that they are good at it will make them happier, thus encouraging them to keep working and moving forward.
A great leader should enforce the rules- While being engaging and encouraging are important aspects of being a successful and likeable leader, it is also important for leaders to be leaders, even if that means enforcing the rule every now and then. Because your job as a leader is to get things done and make sure everyone is pulling their weight, it’s vital for you to be respected and almost slightly feared. You don’t want people to be afraid to talk to you, but you do want the level of respect that makes them driven to meet deadlines out of fear that you will be disappointed or mad if they haven’t completed a task on time. Enforcing the rules will maintain the balance between an encouraging and engaging leader and the dictator leader – there will be a mutual respect because of the combination of traits.
By analyzing your leadership style and applying these ideas, you will create an environment where growth is encouraged and constant. You will create a leadership style that yields respect and success, and also an environment where tasks are done efficiently and correctly.
In order to become a successful leader, it’s vital to develop strong time management skills to stay organized and move forward. When business gets busy and you’re trying to lead, things can seem overwhelming and it can become easy to fall behind.
If you want to grow and lead, it’s important to be aware of how you spend your time, who you make commitments to and how often you keep those commitments, and how well you communicate with those you want to lead.
Finding a balance between work and play is a hard task when you are working toward excellent leadership. You have to determine how much time should be designated to family, work and leisure, allowing yourself enough time to maintain and grow all relationships, as well as take care of your mind and body.
We constantly recommend agents and leaders to analyze their lives and time management skills as they stand, in order to help them change and move forward. We encourage this analysis through the four quadrants, a map that helps you categorize your tasks in order of importance.
Doing this shows you where you waste the most time and where you don’t spend enough time, making you aware of your time management faults. Being aware of these shortcomings will help you grow and become a better leader.
We have three tips to offer that will help you grow into the leader you want to be.
- Be organized– Don’t overbook your schedule. Make time for the things that are important in your life and have those things prioritized. Make time for family and business, even if that means cutting out an hour of TV each night. Don’t waste a lot of time on unimportant things – all leaders only get 24 hours each day. Your success depends on how you maximize those 24 hours.
- Be dependable– Don’t overcommit. Keep track of commitments you make and be sure only to make commitments you can keep. The quickest way to become an untrustworthy leader is to repetitively let people down. Keep track of your calendar and what you are realistically able to commit to – commit to nothing more. Building a reputation for keeping commitments and being genuine will gain more followers and the trust of your current followers. Ignoring this important aspect of leadership will stunt your growth.
- Be current– Don’t get behind. Sift through emails and voicemails, spending time on important messages and skimming through unimportant ones. Don’t let your inbox pile up with hundreds of messages before you check them – pay them their due respect in a timely fashion, addressing only the ones that need addressing. Staying on top of messages will alleviate stress in the long run. Ten minutes today is better than three hours at the end of the month.
Applying these simple methods to your lifestyle will help you propel forward in your path to leadership. Without getting past these obstacles, it’s difficult to become the successful leader you aim to be. Stay encouraged and motivated to become the person you want to be. It takes hard work to be successful, so don’t get lazy!
Some of The Alliance’s corporate leadership went on a little team building “exercise” on Aug. 2.
On a field covered with various obstacles and terrains just outside of Burlington, N.C., people from different worlds engaged in a “fierce competition” that few would return from unscathed.
By day’s end, there were marks on every combatant, but the real story was the smiles on the faces of team members from The Alliance.
Why would grown men embark on such a mission at Paint Ball Central? To learn better teamwork and because it’s fun! C’mon, who doesn’t love paintball?
The NAA team’s goal was to build camaraderie between various departments in an effort to strengthen the cohesion of an already tight staff.
No animals were harmed in this video, but some welts were left on NAA staff that chose to shoot paint balls at each other during the three-hour “exercise.”
Special thanks to Andy Albright for allowing our team to take part in what turned out to be an amazing day of team building.
It was an event where all the different worlds of the National Agents Alliance corporate office collided in an epic show of athleticism and several very embarrassing moments for most. The result was a more aligned sense of pride in what others do to make The Alliance a finely-tuned machine. It was also a reminder that most of us are NOT going pro in anything related to athletics!
Highlights of the event can be seen in this video, shot by AMP Studios. Look closely and see if you can spot people you know from The Alliance!
You’ll laugh, some of us cried when hit and we all had fun! We hope you enjoy watching this.
Stay tuned … The Alliance is just getting started!
There is always room in the world for one more leader. When we hear the term ‘leader’, many of us imagine the president of a huge corporation, an army general or the ruler of a country. However, true leadership starts right where you are now.
Leadership, simply put, is the ability to influence others. It means you help others change their thoughts and actions in a positive manner and for the good of the organization, team or even a family unit. Think about it. Don’t you want to be a leader with your spouse, with your children, with your agency, and with your clients? Don’t you want to have a positive influence?
How does someone become a better leader? Leaders help people see their own potential, and have a real desire to see them move toward it. A leader at home can convince the children to do well in school. A leader at National Agents Alliance can influence a client to protect their family, and can help their agents to be more successful at sales and recruiting. A quick look at any endeavor, and one can quickly see that compensation closely follows leadership development.
The top leaders in National Agents Alliance have all learned leadership principles from Andy Albright and all desire to emulate Andy’s characteristics. They have all learned that true leaders are trustworthy, because if people don’t trust you they won’t follow you. They have learned that leaders care about more than just someone’s success; they care about the whole person. Ask any top producer about their key team members and they will be able to recite far more than just the monthly stats; they’ll be sure to know all about the agent’s family members, and their goals and dreams, too. At NAA, our leaders share a vision that goes way beyond just knowing facts.
From Proverbs 28:18 we learn that where there is no vision, the people perish. Good leaders have a vision: my child can get good grades, my agency can grow 100% this year….they see beyond today, and they are good at painting the picture for others so they can ‘see’ it too.
Learn to see further down the road than others, and become a master at communicating your vision in a way that makes others want to go where you see. When you do, you’ll join the group of the great leaders at National Agents Alliance.
It is safe to say that digital communications and technology has revolutionized virtually everything in our lives—the way we live, work and play. It has virtually wiped out forms of personal communication and making real connections, because of the convenience of video conferencing, email, social media, cell phones and text messaging.
Leadership coach Jerry Starbucker believes that the “power of face-to-face communication” is absolutely necessary for leadership and building teams—and National Agents Alliance agrees!
Face-to-face communication is slowly becoming a part of the past, but there is absolutely no substitute for it. Face-to-face conversations create real relationships, connections and trust, which is something that simply can’t be done through a computer screen.
Starbucker maintains that “leaders that keep this in the forefronts of their minds, and not let technology rule the way they lead, will be the ones possessing a real, modern-day ‘secret.’”
NAA agency managers should take it upon themselves to personally meet with their agents at least once a month to check-in and see how they are doing face-to-face. A lot of times you find out about a person and help them more when you’re sitting directly in front of them.
Starbucker found in his own personal experience that making the effort to meet with his employees and have real conversations with them, seeing the commitment and listening to their feelings and passions, proved to be a real difference maker. Starbucker was able to gain understanding of the collective “state of mind” of the workforce, allowing him to make educated decisions on how to attack problems and fix them.
This is a great way for National Agents Alliance’s agency managers to keep their team motivated and on the right path to building a successful business. It’s easy; just get in front of your team!
Recently, National Agents Alliance wrapped up our last two Spring Forward events of 2012. We had a great turnout and, as always, loved seeing everyone and sharing experiences, training, and good times with you! Check out this great video of some of what went on in Atlanta:
If you weren’t able to make it out to any of the Spring Forward events, you missed a great time. But don’t fret, the Leadership Conference is right around the corner and we’d absolutely love to see you there! Visit The Key to Tomorrow (or read on!) to keep up to date on it all, to register, find out plan or hotel information, and to watch the ongoing saga of young Marty and Dr. A.L. Bright; an aspiring entrepreneur and eccentric scientist who actually has developed the Key that makes Tomorrow possible!
The 2012 Leadership Conference will be from July 12-15th at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The conference will feature powerful recruiting and closing methods from top agency managers and producers, comprehensive leadership training by National Agents Alliance CEO Andy Albright as well as President’s Club Black Card holders, and new product solutions presented by our major carriers and NAA’s Gina Hawks. Tim Goad and Family will be on-hand to provide laser-focused personal motivation too, and of course, your fellow agents will be there to share experiences, information, and all the fun.
A Base Ticket costs $99 and includes access to all General Sessions. An All-Inclusive Meal Package costs $369 and includes the meal plan and association with NAA qualified Agency Managers, plus executives from National Agents Alliance and all the major NAA carriers! Now these tickets are limited to 300, and they go fast, so if you’re interested in one, register at www.keytotomorrow.com ASAP.
The Lead Certification Class will be held on Thursday, July 12th from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM at the RCC. This class is conducted by the Lead Performance Team, and can be added on to your package for only $29. This class can answer all of your questions about leads and the lead system, and is highly recommended!
The National Agents Alliance team will be staying at and have special rates arranged for the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel (Pssst! Andy and Jane will be in the Sheraton!) and the Marriott City Center. Both have an NAA room rate of $142/night, but you must make reservations on or before June 11, 2012!
Remember, all this information is at the Key to Tomorrow website (www.keytotomorrow.com), head on over to check it out and register!
Have you ever heard that old saying? We all know it’s true and real producers at National Agents Alliance understand they’ll never achieve their dreams being a “parked car.”
Leadership is about action and setting an example, and leaders know they live under a microscope, but have the courage to handle the scrutiny anyway. The pack will only travel as fast as the leader so leaders can’t rest on past laurels, and they know that every single day requires them to set their sights on new and bigger goals.
Leaders never fear change, and in fact live by the understanding that if you can’t handle change you’d better go look for something that is very safe and secure, like a job. They fight stagnation by getting out in front and doing everything it takes to get the job done, never expecting followers to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves. In short, leaders are accountable.
Leaders also raise up new leaders, not being afraid of being replaced at the top. Every improvement they make to the organization makes them more valuable, and every time someone becomes more valuable in the marketplace they earn more money.
The leader learns quickly, in developing these new leaders, to not be attached to every person, and constantly watches for telltale signs like fear, doubt, and negativity that will infect a group and retard growth. The effective leader has the courage to “weed out” the naysayers and divert time and attention to the eventual super stars, again attracting followers by assertive action.
You cannot lead from behind and National Agents Alliance is always creating new leaders who will get out in front of the crowd, men and women who have a big vision of the future. There is another old saying that describes why you have to be in front to be the leader and to be able to see the horizon: “Unless you’re the lead dog the view never changes.”
To lead you must leave the parking space!
We get what we expect. If we expect to be successful in our business, we need to take on the task of becoming educated in running our business with skillful effectiveness. Success in our business is a numbers game.
If we begin with the unrealistic expectation that we can speak to just a few people and sit back and watch our income grow, we are fooling ourselves. National Agents Alliance agents are taught to use the NAActivity book, to track the numbers diligently. Successful agents learn the success ratios of the numbers, and then it’s simply a matter of speaking with enough people to put the odds in their favor. If it takes fifty calls to get five appointments and you want ten appointments, double the number of calls. If your sales ratio shows one sale for every two appointments, then to get more sales you need to increase the number of appointments.
When you begin to build your agency and you’re recruiting new agents, the same principles apply. You track your effectiveness in recruiting the same way you do with setting appointments. If you hire one agent after interviewing twenty applicants, you just need to speak with more applicants to find the person you want to work with.
A few suggestions for improving your recruiting skills:
- Immerse yourself in personal development. You’ll be more effective in communication as you, yourself, grow.
- Develop a rock-solid recruiting presentation. With experience you constantly improve and tweak the way you speak to potential team members, throwing out unnecessary information and adding more pertinent data. Record your conversation and have your manager review and make suggestions.
- Learn to ask good questions to learn more about the individual. Don’t take just anybody on your team. Be selective so you don’t regret the hire later.
- Develop a system to find more prospects. You want to increase the numbers and the quality of the people you interview.
- Make sure you revisit your dream often so you don’t forget “why” you are doing this business.
The last point cannot be over-emphasized. Your tolerance level for temporary setbacks will increase dramatically if you are driven by a dream that is big enough. More importantly, you will send out an invisible message to people you speak with about joining your agency that you are going somewhere in life. People like to be on a winning team. They will see your passion, feel the vibe you exhibit, and will naturally want to be part of your agency.
Make sure you sell the dream!
Leaders exhibit a unique blend of charisma, vision and character traits that make people want to follow them. National Agents Alliance is full of leaders that will help you become the person people want to follow.
Leaders recognize the need to attract followers and take action. Taking the right actions and following through is one of the most important traits of a great leader. To follow, people must feel confident in the direction the leader is headed. They are ready to do their part in accomplishing the stated objectives and goals you have placed in front of them. Trusting your followers and treating them with respect will only motivate and push people to work harder, smarter and most of all respect you.
Finding a great leader is key to success with National Agents Alliance. Leaders people follow are accountable and trustworthy. If the progress towards accomplishing the goals stops, the leader takes the responsibility to correct the problem. He doesn’t look to place blame he figures out what is wrong and fixes it. So people can have confidence that their efforts won’t be punished if they take reasonable and responsible risks. If you don’t take reasonable and responsible risks you will never grow!
Followers need to have the mindset that at the end of the day, they will be recognized and rewarded for their hard work. Successful leaders are honest about the potential risks you want to take based on your chosen path. Communication is key for not just the overall objective, but any information followers need to be successful and trained to the fullest when carrying out their responsibilities. Leaders will give you the resources to accomplish your goals and allow you to move up and become a leader yourself.