HOW Do You Change Your Insurance Agency’s Culture?

I recently had the privilege of spending the morning with a large agency in Massachusetts. As we discussed their challenges and how Astonish might be able to help them, the owner expressed that he needed to change some things in his agency (including some of his people). He said that he didn’t want his staff just coming in and going to their desks and working, he wanted them to have fun! He wanted them engaged. We then talked about the need for the culture of the agency to change. What does this mean? What is culture? From Wikipedia, organizational culture is defined as the "behavior of humans who are part of an organization and the meanings that the people attach to their actions. Culture Read more [...]

Decide not to give up….and give 100% daily

It was really tough to get out of bed this morning. My alarm went off on my Iphone at 5am. My gym bag was packed. All I needed to do was hop out of bed, grab something to eat and drive to the gym to meet my trainer at 6am. Laying there in my bed I began the battle. Do I REALLY need to exercise? I’m tired, I could use the rest. What excuse could I make up? I could just text him and tell him I wasn't feeling well. After about 10 minutes of back and forth mentally, I decided. I got up and was on my way minutes later. A couple days later, I was in the gym running. My goal was to run 50 mins at a decent pace. I felt great. The first 10 minutes flew by. About 20 mins in, I hit a wall. How was Read more [...]

How to stay on track with your goals

Newton’s first law, states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Of course, Newton is talking about objects like a ball or a chair. If these things are at rest, they tend to stay at rest unless some outside force moves them. I was thinking about how this law as it applies to life and how the disciplines we apply in our lives have the same “first law” effect. For example, I know I should exercise. I know this is an important discipline which is part of being healthy. I've gone through periods where I’m exercising a few times a week. It’s tough to get up at 5am, but I do it. I've noticed it’s easier to get up at 5am when I’ve Read more [...]

The Risk and Reward Principle

This past spring I decide to buy a boat. I had never owned a boat before and literally knew very little about how to operate one. I didn't know the bow from the stern and the hundreds of other things that a boat owner needs to know. I did however have a goal - to spend more time with my family. After talking to many other boat owners, I felt that boating offered a great way to spend time while enjoying the outdoors. I began my research and ended up purchasing a great boat for a family that offers the ability to stay overnight (camping in the water). My kids were all thrilled, my wife was happy - I was good to go. The day came to take the boat out for the first time. The dealer who sold me Read more [...]

What Servant Leaders Do

I love to learn about leadership. I’m always for looking for ways to improve as a leader. I recently completed Ken Blanchard’s book, “Leading at a Higher Level” and in it Blanchard devotes a whole chapter to a specific type of leadership he calls, “servant leadership”. Servant leadership may seem like an oxymoron, but if you dig a bit deeper it isn’t. As a leader you should be serving those you lead. An immature person who is in leadership can begin to think that their direct reports are there to serve THEM. This is the opposite of humility. The ego is inflated. The opposite is actually true. Just because you may be high up in an organization or that you have folks reporting Read more [...]

Watch Out For Your Blind Spots

If you’re like me you have blind spots. You’re doing your thing, living your life, then WHAM something hits you and you realize that you had a huge blind spot about something. For me, it’s usually has something to do with the way that I relate to others. My personality type causes me to have a weakness in this area. When you’re in a leadership role you need to be more and more aware of the affect your words and deeds have on other folks. So how do you deal with blind spots? I’ve got a few simple ways… 1. Be honest with your self No one is perfect. One of my early blind spots was that I thought I was always right (which is completely ridiculous by the way). As a young lad, Read more [...]

Does Your Business Need an Intervention?

I've been thinking a lot about change lately. Astonish’s mission is to change our clients’ lives by changing their businesses. This supposes something simple. Our customers need to change. The simple truth is; every business must change. Businesses that stagnate and don’t grow slowly die. The key is to clearly understand what needs to change. That’s the first step and often then hardest. I know I’ve written about this before, but most people are resistant to change. They fear it. Some people get sucked into negative cycles and aren’t honest enough with themselves to realize what their problems are. Change suggests you’re moving from one state to another. A stark example of Read more [...]

11 Barriers to Change

I’m reading Ken Blanchard’s book, “Leading at a Higher Level” and one particular section really hit me. In chapter 10, Blanchard talks about “Organizational Leadership” and why leading change is so important. No organization is perfect and a leader must strive to continually move the organization in the right direction. Sometimes that involves small changes and other times it involves drastic moves. In both cases the need to mange change effectively is a skill set every leader needs. Here’s a list of 11 Predictable Reasons Why Change Efforts Typically Fail (again from Blanchard’s book). 1. People leading the change think that announcing the change is the same as implementing Read more [...]

Start Thinking About How You’re Thinking

I’ve been trying a little experiment lately. I’ve been monitoring my thinking both for negative output (what I think and say) and input (what I read, watch and listen to). There is a whole field of psychology dedicated to our internal thought processes or how our thoughts affect our moods and emotions – cognitive psychology. “Cognitive” comes from the word cognition which means the process of knowing or perceiving. Taking the time to truly monitor my thought processes has been interesting. So I encourage you to monitor your thoughts. Are they positive? Are they negative? What about your words? What do you say to others? Would others see you as an encouraging person? And what Read more [...]

How Understanding Your Personality Can Make You a Better Leader

I just completed my 7th book of the year, “What’s My Type?” by Hurley & Dobson. I’ve always been interested in understanding personality types ever since I first discovered the Myer’s Briggs personality typing reading the book “Type Talk”. It was very revealing for me being an introvert and lover of science, the book helped me to understand my own personality and how I relate to others (pretty important for an Introvert as especially important if you’re a leader and manager of people). In case you’re wondering, my Myers Briggs profile is INTJ. Hurley & Dobson’s book focused on the Enneagram, which is another method of understanding personality types. The book describes Read more [...]