by Lisa Lemanski on Feb 28, 2017
What does TQA even mean? Why are they making such a big deal out of this? Well…here’s why…
Total Quality Agency (TQA) is a program exclusive to Michigan through the MAIA (Michigan Association Independent Agents) where independent agents learn how to build, grow and perpetuate their agencies. The class meets once a month for eight months and agents have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best and each other. Once a month on Monday nights and then all day Tuesday our class would discuss and learn how to push our agencies to the next level.
We would talk about our experiences in our agencies and things we were working on and working through in a safe and closed environment. It was our time to gain feedback not only from our instructors but also our classmates. We learned management and leadership skills, tools to measure our financial performance in relation to the industry, improving the technology in our offices, managing relationships with the insurance companies we choose to do business with and improving our marketing strategies.
Our class is thought to be one of the youngest classes to have gone through the program. For us it was very beneficial to be able to commiserate with our peers and work through some things together and learn together. After each class we would come home with lists of things to look into or things we wanted to implement over the course of the next few years.
The process has been difficult at times! There were many Monday nights where we went home very overwhelmed after working a full day and then having class. We had to really push ourselves out of our comfort zones and take a hard look at where we are and where we want to be and how we are going to get there. We also had to take a very critical look at our processes and procedures. Why do we do what we do? Does it make sense? Would a new procedure be best? If yes, how do we implement? Where do we start? Depending on the change do we know anyone who has done it and how did it go? I could go on for days!
We learned that growth professionally and personally is fun and exciting but can be painful and very uncomfortable. There were many times when we would be discussing topics that hit super close to home and it was hard not to take it personally. At times we felt embarrassed by our outdated procedures or lack thereof! If it were easy everyone would do it, right?! But we knew deep down by not changing we were doing more harm in the long term. Our very long term goal is to be around for another 41 + years so change is inevitable!
Now, with that being said our little agency is “T-ing” ourselves up for some great things and I’m so excited to see where we go. If you are waffling back and forth as to whether or not to participate you should! You will grow as a person but so will your business! That seems worth it to me! If your state doesn’t offer this program look for something similar! Push yourself because we can always be better!