Interview with Tammy Palazzo
Q: What problem were you working to solve for the client? What was the burning platform?
A major insurance provider was looking for ways to tackle the industry-wide challenge of low representation of female advisers in their agency system. The goal was to create a program to engage the female producers in a dynamic way that would result in an increase in their sales production as well as a more positive experience within the larger organization (hopefully resulting in greater retention of women and attracting more women to the business).
Q: How did you approach the work?
We built a comprehensive program that consisted of cohort workshops, peer coaching, homework activities, goal setting and continuous learning over an 18-month period.
Q: What was the biggest ‘aha’ you had during this project?
The big learning in projects like these always resides in what we learn about the women who participate and the experiences they share. Understanding the challenges they were facing and trying to support them appropriately is always eye-opening. And, even more awareness comes from learning how to engage the leaders around the women to try to influence change with them. Whenever you create a leadership development program with a cohort, you must acknowledge the environment in which the participants work and live and be intentional about you how both cultivate them and recognize the challenges they may face outside of the coaching.
Q: How do you know the work had an impact?
We set up a cohort discussion group where we provided homework assignments and coaching prompts. This resulted in robust discussions about how the program was impacting the women. We heard them repeatedly acknowledge how they are attempting to do things differently and approaching challenges with a different perspective. They shared stories about how they were having different outcomes and that is ultimately what you want to hear. There are plans to invite the next round of women into the program and have FlexPaths stay on to continue to support the advisers, the agencies they work in, and help home office agency distribution provide value-added services.