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Different Agency – Different Solution – Same Problem

12/09/2009

This week I have been participating in a Five Star Review. The Five Star process involves interviewing every staff member of the agency, during which, the goal is to touch on all 17 points in the Five Star criteria. That’s a lot of points to cover! But you learn a heck of a lot about an agency by going through this process.

You learn which software system they use, whether their carrier relationships are healthy, how they handle claims, how they view their customers, and most importantly you learn a lot about the agency culture. While all of these things are certainly of importance, what always strikes me about these reviews is how many ways there are to solve  problem.

Each agency has to tackle a similar set of issues and concerns. Whether in the form of laws or regulatory changes, market conditions, or technology decisions, agency owners, managers and staff have to come up with the best solutions to suit their needs. Amazingly, almost every one of them approaches major changes a bit differently. During the Five Star review, you really start to see the agency emerge with its own take on current issues and you get the added benefit of seeing how they tailor solutions to fit their culture, their values and their clients’ needs.

How many ways can you write a procedures manual or transition to a paperless office? Each office will come up with it’s own way – even when they hire consultants to do this for them.

I used to think that a lot of “reinventing the wheel” was taking place. What I’ve come to appreciate is that with each unique agency culture comes a unique best practice for problem solving.

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