Posts Tagged ‘Pat Foley’
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
by Norm Trainor, The Covenant Group
As you continue to build your business, it will be necessary to delegate functions of the firm to others. However, if you do not manage the team well, items can fall through the cracks and your expenses can skyrocket without results improving or profits rising. What role do you play as manager? How much time are you setting aside to review the tasks and functions assigned to your team?
In terms of building trust and professional relationships with your team, you should make yourself available to employees and be a source of help if they are struggling with tasks, stress or the daily demands of their jobs.
The results of a survey released by ComPsych Corporation in March underscore the effect that stress can have not only on employees’ morale, but also the productivity and profitability of a firm. Out of the employees who responded to the study, 56.3 percent indicated that stress had made it difficult for them to concentrate on their duties, and another 21 percent admitted that they had missed deadlines or made mistakes due to feeling stressed. Discussing and addressing these issues can lead to happier, more productive employees.
In a separate article, “Helping Your People to Grow,” I tell the story of Jan Holman, a seasoned financial advisor who had added a marketing specialty and a sub-producer to his team, but still was not seeing any results. While the sub-producer showed promise, she still needed a lot of guidance, and the marketer, although enthusiastic, was not delivering the kind of prospects needed to bring Jan’s business to the next level.
I told Jan about another one of my clients, Pat Foley, President of Distribution and Marketing at Genworth Financial, who had created a theory about management that he called Foley’s Law. The essential concept is that strong managers are both confrontational and relational, and are able to create high-performing employees by balancing the two. Focus too heavily on nurturing the relationship, and your team members will be mediocre. Act overly confrontational, and you will only lead them to burn out and quit. High turnover is not good for business on a number of levels: It damages morale, increases your recruiting, training and hiring costs, and distracts you from working on the business and amassing client capital.
Jan’s situation with his marketing specialist, Cole, was complicated by the fact that Cole was the son of one of his friends. While he was hesitant to confront Cole about his poor performance, it was necessary for Jan to not only take responsibility for working to develop the employee but also to hold Cole accountable for keeping up his end of the deal.
By listening to a problem employee, establishing a two-way dialogue and working together to address areas of weakness, you will be able to identify why someone on the team is not performing as expected and help them grow into a high-performing, results-driven member of the firm.
As founder, president and CEO of The Covenant Group, Norm Trainor is often seen as the face of the company and its leading financial advisor training programs. He has penned several best-selling books, articles and other works with entrepreneurs and financial advisors to show them how they can become more valuable to their clients, boost productivity and, ultimately, achieve the success they desire.
Tags: Building Trust, Covenant Group, Cracks, Genworth, Genworth Financial, Guidance, Holman, Managing People, Marketer, Nbsp, Next Level, Norm Trainor, Pat Foley, Productive Employees, Productivity, Professional Relationships, Profitability, Profits, Prospects, Relationship, Stress
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
The following is based on one of Norm Trainor’s clients, Pat Foley.
Pat Foley is the Past President of the Individual Insurance Group of Allianz Life. Over the last 25 years, Pat has been a successful entrepreneur and senior executive in one of the largest financial institutions in the world. In a five-year period, Pat’s organization increased premium income by 850 percent, a remarkable accomplishment. Pat is a very effective leader and manager.
Pat has developed a Theory of Management that has become known as Foley’s Law. To be an effective leader and manager, you have to be relational and confrontational. First, you have to build relationships with your people. They have to trust you and feel safe and respected in the relationship. At the same time, you have to hold them accountable and stretch them to work at the highest level of their capability. The challenge is to find the appropriate balance between relational and confrontational. Typically, each of us has a pre-disposition. Some of us tend to be more relational; others are more challenging and confrontational. An approach that is too relational builds trust but doesn’t lead to effective performance. An approach that is too confrontational will usually work in the short-term, but burns people out. Successful relationships are built on a judicious blend of the two approaches where managers build trust but aren’t afraid to hold their people accountable to assigned tasks.
If you are good at building relationships with your people and unwilling to confront, you will get mediocre performance.
Conversely, if you are strong on confrontation, but weak in building relationships, you will have high turnover and your people will burn out.
The key to high performance is in balancing relationship building and confrontation.
The following case study illustrates Foley’s Law.
Jan Holman’s strategy of building a team of specialists and assistants to help him move into the business market was backfiring badly. His expenses had gone through the roof, but his revenue hadn’t budged.
Jan had been an advisor for over 20 years and for the previous eight years his business, with the help of two dedicated assistants, had generated over $450,000 annually. Last year, after reworking his business plan, Jan made the decision to hire two specialists, one, a marketing wizard and the other, a sub-producer, to support his strategy to specialize in the business market, where he had dabbled for many years. It was a bold move, but he was confident that if he could get face-to-face with a steady stream of affluent prospects he would have no trouble generating the revenue to cover the new hires and make a profit. The sub– producer would help relieve Jan of service work for C and D-level clients and the marketing specialists would run a number of campaigns and events to attract high quality prospects. It all made sense on paper, but six months into the new plan, Jan had seen no reward for his efforts.
“Adding two new people to my team has really taken a lot out of me,” Jan said.
“I guess I was optimistic about when I’d start seeing results. Maybe I need to give it more time.“
“Perhaps,” I said, “but I would think by now you should be seeing a return on your investment. What do you think the problem is?“
“Well, basically it comes down to me not seeing enough good prospects.“
“And why is that?” I asked.
“I hired Barb, my sub-producer, and Cole, my marketing guy, to free me up to work at a higher level. But the reality has been I’m getting bogged down. Barb is a good advisor, and I really believe she’ll be able to grow into a top producer, but I’ve had to spend a lot of time with her, introducing her to my clients and training her on how I want her to service them. I didn’t expect to spend this much time with her, but I guess it’s a good investment in my business. Soon she’ll be more independent.“
“And what about Cole?” I asked.
“Cole’s a good guy. I really like him. He’s the son of a friend of my mine and I’ve known him since he was a young kid.“
“But how is he on the job?“
“He’s coming along.“
I encouraged Jan to be completely frank with me.
“I guess I have some concerns.“
“Well, we’ve now run a couple of seminars and both times I was disappointed in the types of people who showed up. They didn’t fit the profile I was looking for. Only a few were affluent prospects.“
“Why didn’t the right people show up?” I asked.
“Because Cole didn’t invite them.“
“I’m not exactly sure. I wanted Cole to work with Carole, an accountant I know, to develop a list of high profile prospects and invite them. But he only got a couple of names. I was expecting a list of 50 people. Cole was supposed to send out an invitation on Carole’s letterhead to attract these people.“
“So what was the problem?“
“Maybe he didn’t feel comfortable working with Carole. I’m not sure. Maybe
Carole was busy.“
“Jan,” I said, “I’m concerned about your not knowing what the problem was. Weren’t you managing Cole throughout the process?“
“Sure, but –“
“But you were afraid to bring up something negative.“
“I guess so. Cole’s a hard worker. He’s been working late nights, putting in all kinds of crazy hours. He really loves working with me.” I interrupted Jan. “Look, it’s great that Cole loves working with you, but you’re running a business, Jan. And you’ve got to make sure that your business achieves its objectives, and right now, it’s not.“
Jan nodded, but said he wasn’t sure how to handle Cole. “Cole is the son of a friend of mine, I have to be careful.” Jan said.
“I respect that,” I said. “But it’s better for you and for Cole and for your friend if you can get your business on track. You’re not doing anyone any favours right now. A friend and client of mine, Patrick Foley, who is Head of Individual Insurance Group at Allianz Life in the US, taught me something I’ll never forget. He calls it Foley’s Law. According to Pat, there are two types of approaches to building a relationship. The first is relational, where the focus is on building trust and getting people to like you. The second is confrontational, where the focus is on challenging the relationship and encouraging it to evolve and grow. Strong relationships are built on a judicious blend of these two approaches. Unfortunately, with most people one of the approaches tends to predominate, to the detriment of the relationship.“
“I guess I’m the relational type,” Jan said.
“Yes, and it’s interfering with your ability to manage. I want to make something very clear, Jan. Confrontation is not a substitute for managerial responsibility. If you don’t assign the task properly, if you don’t set the right context and provide people adequate resources, you don’t have the right to confront them. When something doesn’t go according to plan, you have to be clear about when the fault is yours and when the fault lies with your employees. And you have to be open to things going wrong because of external forces and unforeseen obstacles. But from what I’m hearing, it sounds to me like you set the context and assigned the tasks properly, but failed to monitor Cole’s performance.“
“It’s your job to ensure that Cole is doing his job the right way. I understand that it’s often not practical for you to be able to keep on top of everything, but you certainly should have sat down with Cole after the first seminar and debriefed on what went wrong. And when I say you need to confront Cole, I don’t mean you need to raise your voice, I simply mean you have to deal with the issue head on and not be afraid to bring up issues that you feel people will take personally. The basis of your discussion should be looking for growth opportunities. You and Cole need to explore together what went wrong. You have to be open to taking responsibility yourself if its warranted, but don’t overdo it. Be open to Cole’s accountabilities and where he fell down. In the end, you might find out that Cole is not right for the job, but there’s a good chance the issue is skills related and your solution will be to train and coach Cole to the skills he’s going to need to do the job properly. Most people in Cole’s position don’t willingly admit to a lack of skills or aren’t aware they lack the necessary skills. It’s your job to find that out.
“If you don’t confront Cole, you will continue to get frustrated. People who are too relational end up with mediocrity. They tend to sweep things under the carpet, and eventually the carpet gets too lumpy to walk on. By contrast, people who are too confrontational usually get good short-term results but eventually their employees either burn out, bow out or rust out.“
Jan agreed to change his approach and committed himself to holding his people accountable.
A couple of months later, Jan told me the process was nothing like he’d expected. There were no big fireworks or crying jags. While Cole did have a tendency to get defensive, in the end they were able to identify developmental areas for Cole and to put together a training solution to address those needs. In fact, Cole was actually excited about learning and growing. And Jan’s fear about jeopardizing his relationship with Cole’s father turned out to be a non-issue. Cole has since run two more seminars, both of which generated numerous high quality prospects for Jan to follow-up with. Revenue has picked up finally and Jan is on target to grow by 35 percent this year.
Jan learned four important lessons about building effective teams:
Foley’s Law states there are two types of approaches to building a relationship: relational and confrontational.
An approach that is too relational builds trust but doesn’t lead to effective performance.
An approach that is too confrontational will usually work in the short-term, but burns people out.
Successful relationships are built on a judicious blend of the two approaches where managers build trust but aren’t afraid to hold their people accountable to assigned tasks.
Norm Trainor is the author of The 8 Best Practices of High-Performing Salespeople, a speaker and founder of The Covenant Group, a company specializing in practice development for advisors. For further information, visit his Web site at www.covenantgroup.com.
Tags: Allianz, Allianz Life, Building Relationships, Business Market, Case Study, Confrontation, Effective Leader, Effective Performance, Financial Institutions, Holman, Individual Insurance, Insurance Group, Mediocre Performance, Norm Trainor, Pat Foley, People Relationships, Remarkable Accomplishment, Successful Entrepreneur, Successful Relationships, Theory Of Management
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