Innovate or Evaporate

Staying relevant is critical to our futures, individually and collectively!

The S&P 500 was introduced in 1957 as a benchmark index designed to track the value of the 500 largest companies in the United States. Today, approximately 60, or just 12% of that original 500, are still included in the index. Bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions certainly have taken their toll on the 440 no longer included. However, the fate for many was driven by the fact they simply lost relevance, credibility or positioning in the lives of the American people or on the world stage. Some prognosticators have gone so far as to predict the current S&P 500 will experience a 50% turnover in the next decade. Only time will tell but, personally, I wouldn’t bet against that becoming a reality.

Do you need more proof that clinging to the familiarity of the status quo is a dangerous business model? Then consider that in January of 2012 Kodak filed for bankruptcy after 134 years in business with a negative net worth of over $1B. A few months later in April, 18-month-old Instagram with its 13 employees was purchased by Facebook for over $1B.

Innovate or evaporate as the future is promised to no one!

With that lesson in mind, I wanted to share (via this entry and many blog posts to come) a few observations and reflections that caused me to eagerly accept Bill Hamm’s offer to join the management team at IFP.

First, I have always been a people person and I am not talking about my social skills. I am talking about whether I like, trust and respect the leaders I chose to follow or the people I choose to associate or do business with. Key question; “Do I believe in their vision down to their plan and ability to achieve it?” More importantly, is their vision grand, rooted in creative decisions and does it break the mold of the status quo? If this isn’t the case and the organization or leadership won’t step outside of their comfort zone, you can count me out.

Further, any leader I choose to follow can’t be driven primarily by their own personal fame or fortune. For me, they must be driven to create something that positively impacts the lives of the people they serve with the goal of leaving the world a little better place than they found it. It is possible, and frankly important, to both do well and do good at the same time.

As a recently passed mentor of mine once told me, “The odds of success are highest when one has both pride in the outfit and confidence in the leadership.” When it comes to Bill Hamm, the rapidly growing team at IFP, and all our affiliated financial professionals, I have both. I love our odds of staying relevant in the very important story that is just beginning to unfold as we endeavor to better focus on and serve our clients.

Maintain Relevance, Credibility and Positioning

In my future blogs you will hear about some of the things that this speedboat called IFP is doing to make a difference in our financial professional’s business models and ultimately the clients they serve. Some of the topics covered will be about:

  • BDI – Breadth of focus, Depth of tools and resources and Integration within the IFP ecosystem with innovative technology and open lines of communication.
  • PPS – Comprehensive Product offerings, scaled Pricing discounts and customized Services.
  • ELPs – ELAs – ELRs that enhance our value proposition and deliverables
    • ELP: Enterprise Level Partnerships
    • ELA: Enterprise Level Affiliations
    • ELR: Enterprise Level Relationships
  • Converting Big Data into Good Data into Business Intelligence to better refine and customize service models

Final Thoughts

The above items are just a sampling of the transformative themes feverishly being worked on inside IFP. Bottom line, there are no taxi drivers here thinking Uber will disappear and the old status quo will be restored. After 40 years in the business, I still want the opportunities and flexibilities affiliated with a speedboat as opposed to the plodding but perceived stability of a massive aircraft carrier where the needs of the organization often supplant the needs of those serving or being served. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time.