How Can I Do Better Even if I’m Already Doing My Best?

Doing Your Best Might Not Yield the Best Results

I’m working on a very difficult project for my day job. My work (commercial insurance broker) can be frustrating in that as a broker, we have little control over final pricing.

We help insured’s make pricing improvements in a few ways:

  • Accessing multiple markets to drive competition for a particular account.
  • Working with a client to improve their risk management resume in order to qualify for the most competitive pricing available.
  • Tell the client’s story in a compelling way to insurers so that the insured will get the most cost-effective options.

Yet even if I perfect each of the above items, there are market forces that cannot be controlled.

This is frustrating, and it creates for difficult discussions with clients who might have a pristine record and do all the right things from a risk management standpoint. When their rates go up with no way to find a better alternative, everyone gets upset.

My tendency is to want to go into self-defense mode: “But I’ve done my best! We’ve shopped your account to Lord knows how many insurers! We’ve told your story – and allowed you to tell your story. We’ve checked all the boxes!”

Yet if my clients aren’t getting the results they want, am I doing my best?

You Might Need to Do Things Differently

The better question might not be ‘Am I doing my best?’

It could be ‘What can we do differently?’

Insurance is a difficult industry in which to innovate. You get info. You send it to underwriters to quote. You deliver the results. That’s how it’s always been done.

Folks have been trying to be the ‘Uber’ of insurance for a while, but I don’t think any have been overly successful.

There are varying degrees of improvement you can make by perfecting service, developing skills to ferret out information, and building better relationships with markets and clients. All of those can be brought to bear and can swing premiums and terms and conditions back and forth to small degrees.

But in some instances – beyond the scope of this post – there is little or nothing to be done. You’ve left it all out on the field, as they say, but the ideal results still might not be there.

So the question bubbles up again: If I’ve done my best, but I have to get better results, what can we do differently?

Instead of just trying to be more efficient, what can I do that attacks the problem differently?

That’s a question I have to answer at work.

But for the purposes of this post, it’s simply an illustration.

If Aggressive Action Hasn’t Gotten You the Results….

When you’re not getting the results from your career, in your relationships, with your health, etc., you have these three questions:

  1. Am I doing my best?
  2. Have I been patient enough to allow my efforts to take hold and work?
  3. If I’ve done both of the above – worked hard and had patience, do I need to step back and figure out a completely different approach?

There’s a possibility that you are absolutely doing your best and working your hardest – beyond your 40% capacity and piercing the limits of your stamina and effort.

You then have two choices: 1. Just live with your results or 2. Figure out a different approach.

I have to say that on the first item, the way most of us are these days is to give up way too early. We do not give certain habits enough time to get us the results. This is a classic issue with diet and exercise.

You do paleo or keto or count macros / calories for one month. You only lose 4 lbs so you give up. What did you hope to accomplish in a single month? Under normal circumstances, would you be happy if you started the month at 200 and ended at 196?

What if you piled another 4 lbs to the ‘lost’ pile to get you to 192 at the end of the next month?

At the end of a year… what if you lost 50 lbs? or even just 40? You start at 200 and end at 160. Yet that was just one lb a week.

What if you had given up? Most people would be ecstatic with that result!

On the other hand, if you spent all year trying keto and you don’t lose a thing, then maybe question 3 is your next step.

What should you do differently?

Attack. Adjust Attack Again.

This principle applies to every area of life.

It’s a matter of…

  1. Being more consistent on your initial practice.
  2. Iterating a bit on that practice to dial it in.
  3. If results aren’t coming after having some ‘aggressive patience’, then it might be time to turn the thing over and coming at it in a different direction.

In the end, if you’ve been giving it your all and doing your best, then the only answer is to come at the problem in a different way. Be humble enough to admit that your strategy isn’t currently working.

If the result you’re seeking is important enough, be self-aware enough to change your approach and attack the new process as hard as you were attacking the old one.

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