Chairman Sy Sternberg consistently refers to Agency managers as the company's Field generals, an indication of the importance of their leadership role in recruiting and developing agents, increasing sales, and enhancing New York Life's image in their communities. With NYLIC University's management training curriculum, managers receive comprehensive training and support that not only smoothes the transition from agent to manager, but provides career long support.
"There's more activity now in management training than there's been for years," says Morris Sims, CLU, ChFC, Vice President and Chief Learning Officer. "The partner development program within NYLIC University provides a curriculum that has national consistency. Each year we gather partners from all across the country for extensive training in our Dallas NYLIC University facility. Through NYLIC University, over 200 field managers annually participate in hands on management training. Management development is a central part of our strategy for continued growth."
Supporting the Managing Partner
The curriculum is designed to support the Managing Partner's efforts to develop successful New York Life partners. Managing Partners can control the pace of the training and provide new or prospective managers with periodic evaluations, feedback, and guidance. The program is organized into four major courses and three schools:
- The Management Orientation Course helps management candidates acquire the fundamental skills they'll need to get off to a fast start. They'll learn how to prospect, interview, and begin to supervise new agents. They'll also complete a computer based evaluation of recruiting knowledge fundamentals. The projects and guided discussions in this course were designed to help Managing Partners and candidates evaluate their potential for success in a career in management.
- The Management Fundamental Course focuses closely on the fundamentals of recruiting plans, and selecting and appointing new agents. In this course, new managers develop a recruiting plan with detailed steps for implementing it. This course is completed by new partners prior to their attendance at the Fundamental Career School.
- The Management Intermediate Course — concentrates on the necessary skills for developing agents and maximizing their performance. This course precedes attendance at the Management Intermediate School.
- The Management Advanced Course is designed to prepare the partner for promotion. This course helps develop and refine the skills needed to assume more extensive duties and responsibilities in the General Office. This course is completed prior to attending the Management Advanced School.
Mutual support and partnership play an important role in management training. The regional zone offices contribute to these efforts by conducting management workshops and by monitoring progress through routine reports and office visits. The Home Office and zones will coordinate training events and activities to reinforce training objectives curriculum, while minimizing duplication.
For most agents, the idea of grasping the reins of a management career goes by the wayside on the road to success. They're busy finding clients and building a sales practice. Many equate a management career with endless paperwork and a loss of independence.
The few who embrace the management challenge do so for reasons that are both unique and typical. Some, like Patricia Doss, CLU, Managing Partner, Denver Office, describe management as "a natural progression, the next logical step" in her career. For others, a role model proved management offers admiration, respect, and an enviable quality of life. "The manager who recruited me was a strong role model," says John Baier, CLU, ChFC, Managing Partner, New Jersey Office. "I saw his lifestyle, how he supported his family, and thought, 'That's what I'd like to be able to do.' It seemed like a position in which I could make the money I wanted to make, while holding a position that was respected in the community."
Whatever their unique motivations, today's top managers all point to one factor as the most alluring: the chance to leverage a management career to do more of what they entered insurance sales for in the first place — solve problems, help people, build a legacy. It's a goal that pushes many practical matters aside, a pursuit of the heart, as John Baier explains: "I always tell agents you've got to go where your heart takes you. What will you find more appealing: remaining an agent, being focused on yourself and your clients, building a business? Or what appeals to me about management: the satisfaction of seeing my agents grow and prosper and the number of lives I can touch through my agents' successes."
A Satisfying Career
Each agent has a reason for pursuing a career in management. Steve Ray, CLU, Senior Vice President, of the West Central Agencies, thinks of his decision in similar terms: "I saw it in essence as the choice of remaining an MDRT agent myself, or doing what I actually did, which was to hire and develop seven or eight MDRT agents and become that much more beneficial to the community we served. I knew I could do a lot more by hiring and developing others than I could do by myself," he says. "It's a calling," bottom lines Doss, "and it's not for everyone."