Extreme Agency Makeover
Let’s forget for a minute about “Shameless,” “Breaking Bad” or Game of Thrones.”
I have an idea for a new show.
I don’t know yet where the show will appear, or who will help us produce it, but it will be a slam-dunk winner. I’m thinking Amazon will carry this.
I shall call it…
Extreme Agency Makeover.
I envision a wise-guy/tool-guy host with shaggy hair and a soul patch.* That’s me. I’m standing on main street. I gesture with my thumb over my shoulder at a classic retail independent agency. The views have no idea what’s about to happen. The camera crew follows me inside. We see some of the office, but it goes without saying that the place hasn’t been updated since 1962. Well, except for the shag carpeting. That was installed in the 1970s.
And at some point in the pilot episode, once we have coaxed the staff outside to the street, a giant bulldozer will swing into action and demolish the agency. The town council members already had been paid off, naturally. And clearly, we need to find a sponsor for the bulldozer.
And we will start over.
This agency will be an amazing place to work or visit.
We will build a beautiful new office space. For example:
- Airy spaces – no more claustrophobic tiny offices with low drop ceilings
- Window treatments
- Flooring and cool rugs (no shag carpeting)
- Lightning (as much natural as possible)
- Wall paint (yes, we will lose the dark paneling)
- Latte machine
- Furniture (the kind you want to use)
- Fresh flowers in the lobby
- (OMG the list is endless.)
You will not see any filing cabinets, at least not those old metal ones.
People will walk or drive by this agency – or visit the website – and say, “Yowzah, I can’t wait to give these guys a premium check!” Young people will say, “How does a sister/brother get a job in that place? I had no idea working in the insurance industry could be so cool!”
I can feel you asking me: “Dude, seriously, what is your problem? Why are you slamming independent agents? These are good people. The fabric of small business in America. What they do for their customers every day is amazing. They work hard. You’re just another smart ass from Jersey.”
Okay, I’m from Jersey. But I am not slamming independent agents.
I am slamming boring, suffocating workplaces.
Boring is not going to cut it anymore.
With Extreme Agency Makeover, we will not just rebuild the office from the inside out. We need to energize the culture. People will come to the office if it’s a place that’s welcoming, inviting, friendly, productive, modern, cool, classy, etc. – you pick your words that work for you. It will be a place that they want to come to work. Not where they have to.
While remote work is big, office spaces still matter. This is why people hang out and work in busy coffee shops and snazzy, functional hotel lobbies.
The concept behind Extreme Agency Makeover is implied in my new book, The Powers, and specifically in the chapter called The Power of Four, where you build your culture from inside your own four walls. Yes, I actually wrote a book about this stuff. I am telling you – it has kept me up at night. We have to do this show.
At Elevate 2020 in Smashville, we’re going to talk – and hopefully show – more about Extreme Agency Makeover.
What do you think? Are we on the right track? Does your office look like a rummage sale? You want to help us build out this show? Let’s have some fun with this.
Would love your ideas. Hit me up at peter@Aartrijk.com or text 703.868.0144.
* Not every episode will require an actual bulldozer. Sledgehammers work too. Apologies to Ty Pennington
Peter van Aartrijk (“R-trike,” as in “bike”) is co-founder of Chromium, a San Francisco-based brand strategy firm with a specialty in financial services.
He started his career as a newspaper reporter, where he learned how to question the status quo. He has worked with insurance carriers, agents, brokers and related organizations – and believes the industry is preparing for major change and wants to help those who seek to innovate and create a modern employee and customer experience.
Peter is co-author of The Powers: 10 Factors for Building an Exponentially More Powerful Brand, available at Amazon and bn.com.
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