Category: Change

You’re Much Tougher Than You Think

 

Speaking to audiences across the country about overcoming adversity and developing resiliency, it has been my honor to motivate organizations going through tough periods of change and challenges. In my keynotes about overcoming adversity, I recall my own challenges while still in my hospital bed,  formulating my life philosophy of Vision, Mindset and Grit.

“It was Easier for You”

Recently, I had the honor of addressing an audience in-person and an attendee started his comments in this manner:

“Scott, I admire how you were able to overcome adversity, but after all, you’re special. Before your accident you were a martial artist and D-1 football player. You already had a tough mindset and the vision of wellness.”

The mid-level executive went on to explain that soaking wet he was 140 pounds, and barely topped 5’6”

But I am not special, and while it was true that after the car crash, I was a quadriplegic with multiple injuries facing the fight of my life, I am constantly inspired by the stories of others when facing obstacles and finding the grit to push through their challenges.

Two stories come to mind. An executive who, many years back, lost his job to an acquisition. He launched his own company at 73, and has become quite successful. He still works at 82. The inspiring part is that he simultaneously battled cancer and nursed an ill-wife. Another friend survived several tragedies as well, and became an award-winning author. In addition, she lectures throughout the country on pet adoption and mentor’s at-risk children.

If we develop a vision to overcome adversity, have the mindset to be resilient no matter what life throws at us, and the grit to fight whatever has been dealt, we can rise up against our toughest opponent: ourselves.

You Really Are Much Tougher Than You Think

In 2018, Psychology Today featured an interview with researcher and social activist Emilia Lahti in an article entitled “Are You Tougher Than You Think?”

Lahti wrote about toughness and the Finnish concept of Sisu, having the ability to tap into courage and determination. Whether you are in a company about to be acquired or you are launching a product line or facing any kind of uncertainty, you are tougher than you think. Lahti pointed out five important attributes we all need in life:

Stand up for what is important; for your company, your team, for yourself; adopt an action mindset (don’t just sit there); overcome your inner critic (and by the way, I met incredible martial artists who were not much more than 100 pounds); ask for help (we’re all connected) and foster courage and determination in others (the more you believe in yourself, the more others will believe in you).

You are much tougher than you think, more resilient than you know, and more determined to succeed than you realize. Call upon those strengths and you too will have the vision to overcome adversity, the mindset to be strong no matter the situation and the grit to believe in yourself every day.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Overcoming Adversity and Resilience Motivational Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

If Change is the New Normal, What Must Stay the Same?

 

“Everything is changing, Scott. What do I do now?”

 

Not long ago, as I was about to deliver a change management keynote speech, a harried chief executive manager asked me the question that you see above. If 2020 was a year of confusion and adjustment, what can be said about managing change in 2021 and beyond?

We have all heard the trite expression about change being constant. It has been applied to the stock market, computers, healthcare, transportation and certainly foodservice. As a change management keynote speaker, I was much more impressed with the three-dimensional model of change in the Harvard Business Review (October 29, 2020):

  • Change is perpetual, therefore, occurring all the time in an ongoing way.
  • Change is pervasive, meaning that it is unfolding in multiple areas of life at once.
  • Change is exponential; hence it accelerates at an increasingly rapid rate.

I think back to just last year, when the lockdown first took effect. It changed from indifference and contention to fear to resolve and amazingly to solution. It happened to every aspect of our lives and clearly, the change exploded. Take, for example, video conferencing or the technology involved in the 2020 school year.

The Change Ahead

“Everything changes — that’s the one thing that will never change. If you hide from change, you may find yourself stuck or left behind. If you embrace it, change can take you to some pretty amazing places in life.” – Clare Moore, Forbes magazine, March 30, 2021

Ms. Moore is correct. Everything does change. No human on earth can hide from it, and I would argue that even hiding is a change (we’ve all known people who have “hidden out” in their jobs for years). However, throwing up our hands and “embracing change” hardly means that we are powerless creatures.

In our 2021 lives, both work and personal, if change is the new normal, what must stay the same? We must. You and me; us. We must be rock solid and strong. But how? Here is how I answered the chief executive.

We must look deep within ourselves and our organizations to develop three strong supports:

Vision: What is the vision we have incorporated for ourselves to withstand anything that will affect our organizations, our department, our mission, our sense of purpose in the future? Can others appreciate your vision and do they see the seriousness with which you believe in it?

Mindset: We can all come out with feisty slogans, quotes and phrases, but what is your personal attitude toward standing up to the tides of change when the storms and waves crash over you? How will you hold this mindset close when some around you are ready to fold?

Grit: The best vision and hard-nosed mindset wither and fade without the daily grit to fight to overcome the changes and the challenges.

There is no change in 2021 or beyond that can be met by complacency and “sitting down” when you must be moving forward.

It is not that change is constant, or even that it strikes fear into us, but to understand that with vision, mindset and grit we can overcome whatever is put in our way. We will be the same person no matter what comes next and we will surely win.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Change Management Keynote Speaker for your next event, contact him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Change is All-Around Us, It’s Time to Rise Up

 

As a motivational speaker for the insurance and financial services industry, I have never seen as much sweeping change as we are experiencing now. I say this as someone who worked in the industry and made it to the Million Dollar Round Table and who carefully follows every industry development.

2020 changed everything, but 2021 will raise those changes to a whole new level.

Regulation 187 and Beyond

The amendment known as New York State’s regulation 187 is just a number to some, but it signaled the start of sweeping change in the insurance and financial service industry. Though its origins go back, to pre-pandemic 2019 it picked up steam across the nation.

Bill Unrue, industry insurance expert said at the start of 2021:

“The rule requiring insurers to act in the best interest of the consumer will likely become the standard for the U.S. life and annuity insurance industry over the next few years. The rule demands more simplicity and transparency within the annuity and life insurance sales experience to prevent what some call “consumer financial exploitation.”

In addition to the changes moving us all to greater transparency, more clarity and policy language that’s easier to understand, is another trend that can no longer be ignored: the 2021 Digital Climate.

Retail and commercial consumers are comparison shopping online as never before. And, what is surprising, are the consumers of that insurance. In a CNBC article on “panic buying” of insurance during the pandemic (October 21, 2020), it was found that:

“There was a 13% increase in life insurance applications among the under-44 age group in the third quarter versus Q3 2019, compared with a 9% jump for 45- to 59-year-olds and 0.4% in the 60-plus category.”

While the industry saw a jump in insurance sales in 2020, and that finally, more Americans are getting insured after years of decline. The so-called panic buying during the pandemic also meant that transparency was at an all-time high and climbing. The Millennial buyer, being an early adopter of all things digital, is seeking easy-to-find comparative coverage rates, superior, online customer service and a commitment of insurers to offering ethical and crystal-clear language as never before. What’s more, with states adopting similar rules to New York State’s regulation 187, anything put out online will be subject to intense scrutiny.

What is Your Vision?

You can turn your insurance and financial services future into a tremendous opportunity, and it’s apparent that customers are receptive as never before, but it’s going to take every ounce of your vision to make it happen. Do you have that vision?

Your mindset must be to offer exceptional and transparent customer service, to be as digitally savvy as you can be and to offer product that is unquestioned on the basis of its comparable value. Pre-pandemic, Americans had fallen off insurance purchases, now it is up to you to take advantage of the renewed interest. Can you embrace that mindset?

However, understand this is not the same industry that it was less than five years ago. It can be better, but it is up-to-you.

To be successful, will take the daily grit to outwork the competition and to convey the importance of what you are doing and why your mission is so important. You can be successful, but it is a commitment as never before.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Insurance & Financial Services speaker for your next event, through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

 

As an insurance speaker and former advisor for Northwestern Mutual, I know the insurance industry fared pretty well in 2020. However, many media outlets viewed life insurance through the lens of “panic buying.”

In a piece by Greg Iacurci for CNBC (October 14, 2020) entitled “Americans are ‘panic buying’ life insurance due to coronavirus pandemic” Iacurci states:

“Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier…But Google Search traffic for “life insurance” jumped 50% between March and May this year compared with the same period in 2019.”

He cited growth of policy sales for major companies such as Northwestern Mutual by 15 percent, however he also noted 30 percent increases in the online insurance marketplace. The jumps in policy sales were especially strong among younger Americans. Iacurci found that,

“There was a 13% increase in life insurance applications among the under-44 age group in the third quarter versus Q3 2019, compared with a 9% jump for 45- to 59-year-olds and 0.4% in the 60-plus category.”

Where’s My Boomerang?

Close to 60 million Americans have now been vaccinated against COVID-19. While there are still several pockets of non-compliance and irresponsibility, Americans are in general more optimistic. Dominic Mastroangelo writing for The Hill (March 14, 2021) said:

“A CBS News/YouGov poll released this weekend found 64 percent of Americans say they think efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus are going well. Another 74 percent say they are excited about the prospect of businesses opening as more Americans get vaccinated against the virus.”

How then, will Americans respond to optimism in terms of insurance purchases? More importantly, how will you respond?

If the economy is projected to have more of a “V” shaped recovery and, as appears, a more optimistic outlook than at the start of the pandemic, does that mean insurance sales will see a 2021 downturn? Even if we don’t see a dramatic downturn in terms of overall sales, will online sales organizations try to crush the insurance sales rep?

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

As an in-person and virtual insurance speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I have seen the industry go through major swings.

No one in our industry can predict the future but I do know this: in 2021 your most important client is you. Unless you are completely committed to your own success, unless you have the Mindset, Vision and Grit to succeed, no economic recovery pattern will make much of a difference.

As your most important client, you must be on-board with elevating your personal brand. That means a positive mindset. Your positive mindset isn’t about being Pollyanna, for none of us can turn our backs on life’s challenges, but as a successful insurance sales rep, be aware of the trap of negative thinking. How will you, as your most important client, focus on the optimistic and not pessimistic? A negative personal brand is a virus all its own. Have the mindset that no matter what the challenge, you can be determined to overcome it.

What is your most important client’s vision for 2021? Does your client have a personal vision statement and are you ready to act on it? Why is a vision so important in insurance sales? Among many other benefits, a personal vision helps to reduce tentativeness and dread of selling and creates confidence; it reinforces your ethical principles and best of all helps you advance your sales goals.

Finally, your most important client must have grit. Grit is more than determination. It is the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute conviction that you will succeed, out-hustle, out maneuver and win against the competition.

Your most important client deserves the best. Don’t neglect them. He or she will have the best if they convince themselves to be the best no matter what this year will bring.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Insurance Sales Keynote Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

Resilience is Forged by Determination & Grit

 

Last year in a virtual speech on resilience, I was asked if a resilient manager is the descriptor of someone without conviction or an objective.

“Oh no,” I said, “it is quite the opposite.”

In fact, as a keynote speaker on resilience, I know that the most resilient managers are determined, highly focused and always have a strong sense of purpose. To illustrate my comment, I gave her an example of a basic household item we all take for granted: the rubber band. I might start by saying that the rubber band hasn’t been made of natural rubber in decades!

Born of Vision

When we think of resilience, our minds tend to wander to elastic objects that stretch, bend and return to their original shape. But an elastic object, be it a rubber band or stretch band is first formed by heating chemical compounds, then poured into hardened steel molds, cured by steam heat and eventually cut by hard steel blades to an exacting thickness.

To make an elastic rubber band requires design, engineering, a manufacturing process, quality control and constant refinement.

The purpose of this post isn’t to teach organizations the art of rubber band making, but to illustrate that even the most flexible of objects or resilient of practices is rooted in solid ground or strong tradition or singular mindset.

While the willow tree may bend in the breeze, its strong roots do not; while the lifelong study of Tai Chi is seen as a process of flexibility and flowing movements, its practitioners are extremely aware of their core and connection to the earth.

Resilient Changes

In these times of constant change and the resilience required to meet those changes, the most successful organizations are those that cultivate three key practices: Vision, Mindset and Grit. Whether your organization is devoted to legal, accounting, healthcare or rubber band manufacturing, resilience must be deeply rooted in purpose.

Having a resilient vision means that although pandemic and recovery will cause our organizations undergo constant change this year, we must develop a plan that will connect us to “the earth” of our mission. This plan means we must be determined to be imaginative, creative, deliberate and powerful.

Having a resilient mindset requires not just our teams, but every individual on our team to work at being at their best. To be the best, we must be determined to develop a resilient mindset by honing our skills and strengths to handle with any problem or task that comes our way. The strong roots of the willow tree did not develop that way because of light breezes and plentiful water, but to cope with the changing terrain.

Developing resilient grit is to know that each day, every hour in that day we will face unexpected challenges that must be overcome. Times may change, workplace stressors and opportunities change, but grit is constant.

Resilience is forged of hard determination; to stand against the change and the challenges and ultimately to win, whether your company is involved in insurance, biotech or rubber bands. Resilience in tough times creates winners; narrow thinking or losing intent leads to failure and defeat.

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Motivational Resilience Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

What is The Winning Script for Writing More Scripts in 2021?

 

The landscape of pharma was radically altered by the pandemic…experts say that the industry will soon be taking stock of how it navigated the pandemic and what the sudden shifts in operations and regulations could mean in the long-term.” – Pharma Manufacturing, January 18, 2021

As a pharmaceutical keynote speaker, I know virtually every area of the industry will be undergoing changes this year including regulatory issues, manufacturing, storage and transport challenges, new vaccines, billing issues, a hybrid of teleconference and in-person presentations, and even controversial drug introductions. This is all in addition to major challenges for sales reps and their healthcare clients.

Collaboration and Teamwork Essential

As the industry projections for 2021 suggest, there will be a lot of “taking stock” this year. The landscape of pharma has been radically altered. With all of the changes and turbulence, teamwork will be more essential than ever. In my virtual pharma motivational sales presentations during 2020 and now, hopefully live and in-person, I stress that the winning script for writing more scripts distills down to three important points: Vision, Mindset and Grit. These points not only apply to the individual, but to the team, and the inter-dependence of teams.

Vision – Market research firm LSA Global conducted a study on the power of companies and teams that come together with a shared mission statement and found that they grew revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable while significantly outperforming their unaligned peers. I might add that the study was based on 410 companies. Alignment is another way of saying that teams have a common goal in working together, sharing information, committing to the highest levels of customer service, and essentially driving the sales process. It is a realization that the sum total of efforts, more important now than ever, will yield positive results.

Mindset – Business and sales performance writer Vivienne Dutton offered the top ways to develop a success-oriented mindset. Among the more important points for the creation of a strong team?  Promote problem solving; discuss ongoing challenges; encourage the sales process; endorse a culture of group development over individual genius; and most important, don’t just talk about a mindset, embrace it. Mindset can be very powerful if it is harnessed and put into action. It can also be just a collection of words unless teams truly come together.

Grit – Grit is having resilience and the strength of character to not give up or give in to the obstacles that stand in our way. For everyone involved in pharma sales last year, the concept of grit became ingrained into their thinking. As we go forward in 2021 and we encounter much change, unless teams and entire organizations have the grit to maintain vision and mindset, there will be little or no progress in the year ahead.

Ultimately, it all adds up to determination. Every sales rep of every sales team must have the determination to approach 2021 with vision, mindset and grit. There can’t be shortcuts because the stakes are too high to believe this year will be business as usual. If we are determined, this has the potential to rebound to being the best year ever.

 

 

To book Pharmaceutical Speaker Scott Burrows, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

2021 Insurance Sales: It’s About the Attitude of the Team

 

As a motivational sales speaker for insurance conferences, I know that as uncertain as 2020 may have been for the entire industry amid unprecedented changes, 2021 will test those in the insurance industry more than ever before.

Insurance industry expert Jean-François Gasc wrote an article on January 6, 2021 detailing the Top 10 most important trends in insurance sales for the coming year. If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, then we must consider 2021 the year of “trust.”

Every Team Must Buy-In

Gasc makes it clear that more than ever, trust is a non-negotiable element in the insurance industry.

“Consumers will not only expect their providers to give them good service and value for money, they’ll also require them to protect their personal information. What’s more, they’ll expect their providers to behave ethically in all facets of their businesses. Insurers that are perceived to have breached the trust of their customers risk substantial reputational damage.”

Building confidence and trust is a team effort and there must be a common mindset to protect the customer. As we have heard time and time again, selling insurance is a team effort. It is not just about someone closing a deal, but having everyone in the organization delivering world class customer service.

The foundation of the client-broker relationship must be a strong sense of ethics coupled with an understanding of the vulnerability of every valued customer. Personal information must be protected as the highest priority.

Does everyone at your agency have a vision of protecting the client?

Why is this mindset so important? Of all of the negative business news that confronted us in 2020, cyber fraud was at an all-time high. Cyber theft occurred in numerous agencies because employees let down their guards. It ranged from team members opening suspicious emails to using unauthorized websites while at work to openly sharing email addresses and sensitive data.

International cyber security expert Evez Hasson wrote (January 26, 2021):

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviors that are likely to have lasting effects… This trend is predicted to grow in 2021. And with many businesses forced to change the way they conduct their sales; the risk of fraud is growing exponentially.”

If we combine the observations of the two experts, we can see two disturbing patterns: cyber crooks are constantly looking for ways to access sensitive files and customers need reassurance that your team is doing everything in its power to protect them.

Are You Determined to Advocate?

Insurance sales comes down to having the daily grit to place the security of the customer above all other considerations. It is a team mindset where everyone shares in that common vision. In 2021, the most successful agencies will have a positive team attitude on behalf of their clients.

Be a part of that mindset. Live that vision, and have the grit to aim for a level of ethics that will make you the industry leader.

Your client needs an advocate. Be that advocate.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, insurance sales motivational speaker, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Sometimes Resilience Means Standing Firm

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I have learned that most people confuse resilient with flexible. They are different words with different meanings. The definition of resilient I like to use in my motivational speeches is “the ability to spring back into shape; elasticity.”

Flexible isn’t Resilient

There are all kinds of examples of flexible. A garden hose is flexible, and so is spaghetti. In a negotiation, we can say that one of the parties was flexible; students and teachers learned how to be flexible in high school Zoom meetings and certainly a yoga instructor must be flexible.

However, in being resilient, we must strive to get back to our original shape, or to be even better than we were before. Now, as the tragedies of 2020 begin to fade and the sunrise of 2021 optimism looms before us, we must learn how to spring back better than ever. Learning won’t be automatic.

On January 15, 2021, Professor Julian Birkinshaw wrote a guest article for Forbes on resilience. I want to quote part of a paragraph from the piece:

“But what does getting back to normal look like? There seem two very different answers to this question, depending on who you ask. Some argue that the pandemic has fundamentally changed how we live our lives – for better and worse – and that these new attitudes and behaviours are now so ingrained that we aren’t going back. Others see these new behaviours as temporary adjustments to a one-off shock, and predict a wholesale reversion to type as soon as the shock is over.”

Professor Birkinshaw gives us a map with a fork in the road. We can throw up our hands and say, “nothing will be the same,” or we can have the mindset to stand up, stand firm, and be decisive in our determination to claw our way back to the best of what we had.

The choice is clearly ours to make. What is your choice? I surely know mine.

This is Nothing

Many years ago, I was involved in a serious car crash that hurled me from the world of a Division I football player and full-contact martial artist to a quadriplegic. If you would like, you may think of it as 2019 as it got slammed into 2020.

I awakened from the shock of my accident to discover every movement I had learned from childhood, every instinct I took for granted on the gridiron or in the ring was lost. It was from my hospital bed, the very moment I awakened that I developed my philosophy of Vision, Mindset and Grit.

I refused to see myself as a victim. I refused to see myself as having a life that was fundamentally change. I saw, instead, a resilient person who would shake off the worst of what was thrown at me, and that I could “spring back into shape.”

I gave myself a vision of independence and wellness. I empowered myself with a mindset to develop – not arrogance – but high self-esteem, and purposed to do whatever it would take to continue working to achieve my goal, even if I faie.

These years later, I have success I could never imagine, the love of a wife and friends, and the ability to stand firm against the tide. We have all been through a rough patch, but none of us are resigned to the negativity and the hopelessness of what we went through last year.

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, resilience speaker by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Now, More Than Ever, Associations Must Engage Members

 

In my role as an association keynote speaker, I know that now, more than ever, associations must re-engage their members. Association membership has been in trouble for quite some time, and membership loss and membership engagement with those organizations have worsened during the pandemic.

In February 1, 2018, Associations Now published the results of a Member Loyalty Study that listed several reasons why members did not renew their memberships to associations.   Of the top reasons, three of them deserve note here:

  • 34% of members who dropped out said it was too costly
  • 26% of members who dropped out said the association was providing little value
  • 9% of members who dropped out said the organization had declined in quality

Unfortunately, with the pandemic, these same problems increased.  Michael Hickey, also writing for Associations Now (September 25, 2020) noted:

“Losing members is an unfortunate reality for every association. This is especially true in 2020, when new outside pressures—particularly the financial turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—might have more people ready to cut membership fees out of their expenses, on top other reasons [reported above] that people let memberships lapse.”

Business as Usual or a New Mindset?

There is no doubt that 2020 was a year of “financial turmoil,” but as a keynote speaker for associations I know that to attribute membership declines and a lack of engagement to lockdowns does not tell the whole story.

Unfortunately, in some associations the decline has gone on for years. Ironically, associations are needed now, more than ever. The glue that holds professionals together is the professional association.

Jan Hill, writing for Onelegal.com, a website directed at law associations, listed 10 advantages to belonging to an association. Among those advantages were: getting your name “out there,” job prospects, mentoring programs, networking and resources. If we couple those advantages with the survey above, it is apparent that there is a vision and mindset problem because the advantages an association offers are exactly the things members need.

Associations should be “blasting off” with new members at this time – and they’re not. COVID should be serving as a catalyst for expanding association membership and not a damper.

What is needed is a new association mindset. Whether the association addresses financial services, accounting, agriculture, manufacturing or dentistry, members need the combined expertise and common bonds shared with like-minded people.

Does your association have the mindset and the vision to engage existing members and to attract new members? If, as the survey showed, more than a third of your members may be dropping out because they think it’s too costly, or if more than a quarter of your members have left because they see little value, what is your association’s vision for new programs or services or engagement messaging? Very seriously, if members are leaving because of the declining quality of your association’s professional benefits, what is the collective mindset for improving that quality?

As we are being led out of the pandemic, the association must be there to lead the way and to put a public face to your industry. A healthy industry must have healthy associations. It will take mindset, vision and grit.

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, association keynote speaker by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169