Present day events such as what happened with Wells Fargo and all those fake accounts got me thinking about my time spent in a call center. I am by no means an expert but I did spend 14 1/2 years of my career selling and servicing insurance products. From my earliest memory, we had incentives. We played games and held contests where the top producers got swag. I remember one summer where I sold enough Renters policies to bid in a silent auction earning HEB (local grocery chain) nifty gifty certificates. This was when Billy Bob and I were first starting out and the certificates were as good as gold stretching our food budget beyond just the essentials.
I would have never issued a policy for someone who didn’t need Renters Insurance. But I was aggressive and bought into the slogan of “everybody lives somewhere”. People would benefit from the product but also, I knew I wanted to WIN. There were other contests to get expiration dates and send flood insurance materials. The expiration dates gave us intelligence for cold calls prior to another carriers’ renewal. We’d quote and try to get the business moved over to us. The flood solicitation was different. It was just literature for the customer to read. Only thing is I worked the states where flooding was not as likely to occur but I still sent enough marketing material to win tickets to the 1985 Fiesta Flambeau parade. Some insurance folks may counter, but wait flooding can happen anywhere. True but that’s discussion for another day.
Maybe this is more a story about my deficiencies. My need to win at all costs. As I mentioned, I was quite aggressive at one point in my career. That’s not me anymore, thank goodness. Life knocks you down a peg or two and you start to realize what is really important and you collect moments, not things as I borrow again from Ankitmishra011.
In my opinion, what happened at Wells Fargo, could have happened anywhere. I do not believe that this was a new phenomena of corporate greed in today’s fast pace drive to succeed mentality. Groupthink has been around forever. What happened caused me to flashback to the environment I worked in 30 years ago. As I pondered reasons how this happened again today, with so many recent examples hitting the front page, I always go to psychology. The culture/mindset was eerily similar to the some of our sales goals of yesterday. If we did well one year, we’d up the bar the next year. We had stretch goals and employees would get nervous about making those goals. Not making your goal was not an option. Then and now. In the sad case of Wells Fargo, making the goal went way too far.
Because of the media, 24/7 news, all day, every day, our world has become openly transparent. We are just more aware. I am not trying to excuse the actions only to empathize (there but for the grace of God go I) and understand how/why this happened so as not to repeat history.
Sidenote: I bet many of you have never heard of the Fiesta Flambeau parade. The beautiful city of San Antonio Texas holds a Fiesta every year in April and the Flambeau closes it out. Go to www.fiesta-sa.org/ for more details.
As always, more to come.