Human beings do not always gain insights by moving in a straight line. In many cases, as soon as you “step away” from work, you discover an insight that can help you take a giant step forward… when you come back to work. That just happened to me.

I recently lived through a very complicated move that involved multiple locations and different items going to different places. The move forced me to take several days off in what I expected to be a highly stressful and annoying experience.

That wasn’t the case.

I chose my mover almost as a last resort. I probably never would have found or hired them, but a larger national firm balked at my complicated move and sent me to this small firm that they claimed excelled with complex smaller jobs.

My guess is that most people think of moving as a fairly basic industry that employs a largely transitory workforce. Your average mover either just took his job, or is just about to quit. He’s probably tired, hot and not very happy.

The three movers who worked on my job were upbeat, positive and highly resourceful. They had been at this company for between eight and fifteen years. In short order, they convinced me to sit back and relax while they handled everything.

I asked why they all had worked so long at one firm.

The guys told me it was because they were so highly trained, and that they enjoyed using their expertise. In other words, they enjoyed being good at their jobs.

Their actions supported their words. They worked together. They had excellent visual and spatial capabilities. Although different guys had different roles, no one bossed the others around; they were a team and they looked out for each other.

To recap my story so far, here’s what I learned by watching a small company in a “basic” industry operate:

  • Train your workforce to extremely high standards
  • Keep your employees engaged and excited
  • Empower them to serve your customers
  • Make your customer’s life as easy as possible

Does this sound like a formula that will work for your company? I certainly hope so.

In the insurance industry, we are always talking about attracting talent. Some organizations have this down to a science and others seem to always struggle to attract, retain and empower talent with a desire to stick around. What creates the difference?

Watching my movers, I was reminded that to attract and keep talent, you have to treasure talent. You can’t just respect people when you are courting them. You have to prove how much they matter to you. You have to create and maintain a culture that sustains values that are far higher than the industry norm.

To be more specific, you have to be willing to spend the money and invest the time to sustain the values that are higher than industry norms.

When you do, you end up delighting customers and running a business that consistently outperforms its competitors.

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