Teamwork Makes The WHY Work

Understanding your “WHY” can shape the course of your business. In this episode of Risky Business, Colin Rooke dives into the benefits of working internally with your team and collectively identifying your WHY; focusing on personal development, reflecting on the past, and reinforcing what you have done well.

Listen to the full episode here, or read the full transcript below.

Paul Martin: Welcome to Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers. I’m Paul Martin, the business commentator you hear regularly on CKOM. Joining me as always is Colin Rooke, the Commercial Risk Reduction Specialist with Butler Byers Commercial Insurance. Today we’re going to talk, well less about the nuts and bolts I think of insurance, and more about inspiration. What an interesting topic that we’re going to talk about.

Paul Martin: Now Colin, you were just off at an industry conference and you heard some pretty exceptional speakers at this thing. It kind of fired you up, you wanted to share some of that, and really the emotional, mood stuff that comes with it. It just reminded you of why we do this in the first place. Why are we doing this kind of work? Why are we doing this show? Why are we talking about what we talked about? You want to elaborate on that a bit?

Colin Rooke: Yeah, you know, conferences are great for personal development, and reflecting, and new ideas, and sometimes reinforcing what you’ve done well, and learning from others. So just came back from almost a week long conference. It just really made me think, just did a lot of reflecting. I’m big on personal development. I really like TED Talks, TED Talks are my thing. Anyone that knows me it’s not uncommon to get a random text message with a YouTube link of some random TED Talk. I just think it’s one of those things where it’s easy to do, doesn’t take a lot of time. They’re usually make 20 minutes, some of them are 8 minutes long.

Colin Rooke: I was at this conference and just we were talking about growth, and development, and the idea of your why came up, and it often does. I was thinking about one of my favorites and it’s the “Golden Circle” with Simon Sinek. It’s-

Paul Martin: It’s probably some of everybody’s favorites because I think it’s had like 18 million views or something. This thing is a seriously popular presentation, 18 minutes of pure gold.

Colin Rooke: It’s one of the most viewed TED Talks ever. Then you look, he’s done other TED Talks. So you start adding up all those numbers, he’s had 100s of millions of views. It’s really inspiring. Everything we’ve done … I’m not going to give him credit for that, but it describes and it defines Butler Byers, the whole notion of inward thinking rather than outward thinking. Really the premise is that every business knows what they do, what we’re doing day to day, the products and services that we sell. Fewer business they have a good grasp on how they do and really that’s what truly makes that business different. Then a really small group truly understands their why, the real reason for being, the core of every action, all the values. I just wanted to talk about that. I promise this will turn into a bit of a show on risk. But-

Paul Martin: We will talk insurance?

Colin Rooke: Yeah, we will talk insurance. It’s not going to be Harry Fairy the whole time. When we talk about the what we do at Butler Byers it’s really easy to start with that. Most of our shows have been about the what. I think we’ve done an excellent job of reinforcing the what. Really our what is we help our clients manage risk so they’re less risky, that’s what we do. Yes we sell insurance, but insurance has always been one of our tools to manage risk. We work on the rest.

Paul Martin: That’s an interesting point. I know you’ve made it in previous shows, but I want to stop here and just reinforce it because your name is Butler Byers Insurance. You immediately assume you sell insurance, but there’s that old cliché that if the only tool you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. You’re not like that. You’ve got more than one tool. Insurance is in your name, yes, and ultimately, it’s where you get to, but it’s not the only tool in your toolkit.

Colin Rooke: No and you’re right. It is a little confusing when I say insurance is one of the tools and then we go ahead and plug insurance in our name. Now, we are 111 years old. I’m going to be honest, on day one, year one I don’t know how proactive we were being in risk at that point. Yeah, it’s one of the tools. Any of our clients, anyone that’s met with us, anyone that’s been through the process will quickly learn we rarely discuss insurance. We’ll get to it at some point, but all the conversations are about risk.

Colin Rooke: Like I said, this show we’ve taken the easy approach, the outside looking inward approach, and we’ve talked quite a bit about the what. I just wanted to touch on the how for us. I think we’ve done a really good job of defining that too with this show. That’s really our process, the risk reduction approach that we’ve talk about time and time again. It’s how we identify, organize, quantify, and prioritize risk for our client. That’s our deliverables for our client. It’s putting that plan in place, that risk road map to ultimately help our clients. It’s working on telling the whole story to the insurance market, which, again, we have discussed, but it’s so important that our process allows us to gather that information.

Colin Rooke: Taking the, as Simon Sinek would say, the backwards approach to explaining what we do, we have focused on the what, and the how, but we really haven’t spent a ton of time talking about the why. Who are we? What kind of company are we truly? Where does this all start? How do we get here? What’s the core of Butler Byers?

Paul Martin: I want to explore that but let’s just, for the sake of argument, if you don’t mind, let’s take a moment and just talk about some companies that have found their why. When we use that phrase it really is they’re able to articulate very, very well why it is we do what we do. It’s not I sell A4b, it’s more complicated than that. Some of the companies that are often toted like this, Disney is one that comes up all the time about being the happiest place on earth, that’s why they put this together. There is a commercial end product that comes from it but they don’t really market it in that way. They sell it as an experience as opposed to something else. Apple is another one. Apple didn’t invent any of the stuff. They never invented MP3s, they didn’t invent smartphones, any of that stuff, but they did it better because they were clearer on their why. Am I hitting something there? Is this an accurate-

Colin Rooke: Yeah you know-

Paul Martin: … kind of characterization of what Sinek was getting at with his-

Colin Rooke: Exactly.

Paul Martin: … find your why?

Colin Rooke: You talk about Apple and their quest to continuously challenge the status quo. That’s where Apple started and that’s where they are today. Yes the end result is I get a pretty fantastic phone, I got some really cool apps. If you’ve experienced Apple they’re very, very innovative but they go out there from looking inward and saying we are going to constantly challenge the status quo. Disney, yes there’s rides, and there’s gear, and concessions, and there’s Mickey Mouse walking around, you can take a photo with you and your kids, but they said, “We are going to redefine customer service. That’s the basis of our being. We are going to recreate the best experiences we can offer to people in this world.” It started there, the end result is the rides. The end result is how clean the streets are and the people within it. Also-

Paul Martin: The quality of their movies-

Colin Rooke: Exactly, yeah.

Paul Martin: … and all of this, yeah.

Paul Martin: All right, we’re going to take a little break. We’re going to come back and we’re going to explore this a bit further. We’re going to find out the why of Butler Byers Insurance. You’re listening to Colin Rooke the Commercial Risk Reduction Specialist with Butler Byers. You’re listening to Risky Business, back in a moment.

Paul Martin: Welcome back to Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers. You’re listening to Paul Martin and as always Colin Rooke, the Commercial Risk Reduction Specialist with Butler Byers. Today we’re talking yes about insurance, but we’re going to get to it I think, hopefully, before the end of the program. We’re really talking-

Colin Rooke: Yeah, right away.

Paul Martin: We’re really talking about the why, why does Butler Byers do what we’ve been talking about for the last couple of years where it’s not so much about let me quote you on your insurance, it’s more about let’s go through the way your business operates and let’s figure out some stuff from there, where the risks, the hidden challenges lie in your business. Once we identify those then we can figure out how we mitigate them. Insurance may be one of the tools we use to do that mitigating, but not the only one.

Paul Martin: How have I been doing? Did I learn anything in the last two years? Did that sound pretty good?

Colin Rooke: Yeah, yeah, pretty soon you’ll be doing this show and they’ll be a different host.

We believe that insurance hasn’t been sold the right way. We believe this has been occurring for a long time. We said internally we’re not going to do what others are doing.

Colin Rooke: I promise that, when do I get to insurance, so when I discuss the why it’s really about our clients as well and those that choose to do business with Butler Byers. So how did we get here? What’s our why? We believe the model is broken. We believe that insurance hasn’t been sold the right way. We believe this has been occurring for a long time. We said internally we’re not going to do what others are doing. We’re not going to keep … Quite frankly, the easy approach would be to not change it all. The easy approach would be to say, “We’re a large brokerage. We have access to more markets. If you’ll just let us quote you I think we can save you some money.” That is the easiest way to explain or to try and get attention from a new client.

Paul Martin: That’s the traditional approach that a broker in the insurance industry would take, right?

Colin Rooke: It-

Paul Martin: Historically that’s the way the conversation would go between a broker and a prospect.

Colin Rooke: Exactly. We’ve spent years explaining and reexplaining and challenging our clients, challenging the industry to think differently. It’s another big part of our why that we challenge our industry to be better every single day. So if you can imagine this show, we’re explaining how we work and our process, what we do, what to expect from us. Then we go back to the insurance industry and it’s the same argument. We’re trying to train them on thinking differently. Don’t put every single business in a box. There are gems out there and there’s businesses that are working towards being a gem.

Colin Rooke: We spend a lot of time explaining our process, but it’s because we believe it has to be done. We believe in proactive versus reactive service. We don’t want to be there for our clients only when there’s a problem. We want to be there throughout the journey, long before there’s a problem and that’s been our stand.

Colin Rooke: What got us to where we are today is getting together in a room, disusing the industry as a whole, where we need to lead. That’s been what’s driven us to this point.

Paul Martin: And that’s your why?

It’s believing that in order for us to grow, in order for us to see another 100 years that we have to continuously push the envelope. We have to continuously innovate. We have to continuously change our offerings. We have to force those to change the way they think around us and that is our why. That’s what got us to where we are.

Colin Rooke: It is. It’s believing that in order for us to grow, in order for us to see another 100 years that we have to continuously push the envelope. We have to continuously innovate. We have to continuously change our offerings. We have to force those to change the way they think around us and that is our why. That’s what got us to where we are.

Paul Martin: Let me just ask you, how’s that been translated into business success? Is the commercial community hearing your message now and they’re starting to say, well yeah there is a better way to come at this insurance issue?

Colin Rooke: It hasn’t been easy. It didn’t occur overnight, but you keep selling that message, you keep reinforcing what you truly believe and the business community starts to listen. It’s sharing those stories, it’s proving by working on a risk reduction plan, improving the bottom line, having those conversations saying look where you were and look where we are now, and look where we’re going. We’ve changed the way you think about risk. That’s our first and foremost.

Paul Martin: You’ve helped them change the way they look at their own business, not just that risk, but the way they manage business and what is a problem, how do I actually put a plan in place, a plan that will correct the problem, strengthen the weakness, whatever it is. Then, ultimately, you can take this as a case in point and say, “Dear insurance company, look at my prospective client. Here’s where they were. Look at how we’ve improved them. They’re a much better company, much better risk. You should insure them and do it at a lower rate.”

Colin Rooke: Exactly. It was all born from speaking with our client saying, “If you were allowed to argue for your own company to the insurance market what would you?” What we heard had nothing to do with the insurance application at all. We said, that’s why there’s such a problem in our industry because everybody is trained to look at risk one way. Yet, you’re paying a premium, a price based on so little understanding of the actual business you’re working with and we had to change that.

Paul Martin: Was that your aha moment when you realized, whoa, decades of tradition and history have taken us to a position that really doesn’t serve the needs of our customer, it serves the needs of our insurers?

Colin Rooke: Yeah and you know quite frankly the idea of going to the market and saying, “You’re going to do a ton of work. I’m going to do a ton of work. The insurance company’s going to do a ton of work. Based on 2-3% savings you should go through this process all things being equal.” Is that really a service? How are we improving our clients business? You talk about the bottom line and savings are savings, but 2% or 3% it’s not-

Paul Martin: It’s not a make or break.

Colin Rooke: No, it’s not a make or break. You’re not jumping up and down, but when we go through a process and we see the light come, and we see the enthusiasm or the aha moment, to use your words, amongst those businesses we now know we’re doing the right thing, but it all started with saying, “There’s got to be a better way to serve our clients.”

Paul Martin: You have embraced this and you have taken it to the marketplace. Well hence, you do it on this radio program.

Colin Rooke: Yeah.

Paul Martin: That’s why we do this thing. Interestingly, all the competition listens to this. They know exactly how you go about going to the market.

Colin Rooke: There’s been comments.

Paul Martin: I’m curious, how do they react to it and how did the clients react to it?

Colin Rooke: I would say the competition there’s been a lot of great feedback. You’re really doing something of value for the industry. I get that from the insurers quite a bit and some of our competitors. On the other side of the coin, what I get, or what the feedback is, is that okay it still does come down to ultimately quoting insurance. Not that I’m going outline the step-by-step process and how we avoid that entirely, but it really isn’t, I say that all the time, no, this is not a trick to get a meeting to talk risk to say, “Now, let me quote your business.” We don’t do that. This is we are working on risk first. We are selling our why. Those that believe, believe that we can make a change and that we can be a strategic partner with your business, those ought to do business with us. It’s not about 2% or 3% savings. It’s not even about the policy because anyone that knows how we operate, we get a give a ton of credit to the industry. We do not walk around saying mistakes are being made, brokers don’t know what they’re doing because quite frankly, that’s not the case.

Paul Martin: Colin, as always we run out of time before we run out of questions, so I’m just going to have to call her quits here, call her a day. Thanks for joining us, as always very intriguing conversations. Today we talked about, well we found out why you do, it is what you do.

Colin Rooke: And my love of TED Talks.

Paul Martin: Exactly. You’ve been listening to Colin Rooke, the Commercial Risk Reduction Specialist with Butler Byers Insurance. I’m Paul Martin. Thanks for joining us. This is Risky Business, Commercial Insurance with Butler Byers.