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Post-Acquisition: Strategy, Execution, and Management

Season 2 Episode 17

Post-Acquisition: Strategy, Execution, and Management with Drew Shockley

Season 2 Episode 17


Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast, the podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you’ll enjoy today’s episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome to another episode of the insurance leadership podcast. I am Ryan your host and thankful to have you listening. Today, we have Drew Shockley with us who is a Senior Vice President of Training and Development with EverQuote, and he brings us a great perspective of acquisitions. He sold his agency to a publicly traded company.

He’s gonna kind of walk us through kind of the pros, the cons, and what he saw after the fact that he might have wished he would’ve known before. We’re also gonna get into the leadership side because he is responsible for the engagement of his team and training and development. Something everyone hears as leaders, you wanna be able to strengthen your team. So excited to have him on and let’s go ahead and get started for today. Well, Drew, welcome to the podcast this morning, buddy.

Drew Shockley: So happy to be here, Ryan. Thanks for having me.

Ryan Eaton: Well, I gotta tell you that you’re set up here and your video and your audio, I feel like I’m with a true professional this morning.

It’s an honor to have you here.

Drew Shockley: Well, I appreciate it. You know, we kinda got this little studio set up. I’m in our office in Evansville, Indiana. I’m just outside of one of our conference rooms. It’s a beautiful day here, but you know, I got some lights and, you know, got this nice microphone and, you know, hopefully you know, what I say is more impactful because it sounds good. Right?

Ryan Eaton: That’s right. Well, it looks fantastic. Well, so let’s get started. Why don’t you give everyone like a little overview about yourself, your family, kind of what brought you into the insurance?

Drew Shockley: Yeah, of course, you know, this is actually a pretty funny story. And I love to tell it, but I grew up in east Tennessee and you know, I actually grew up, my grandfather was a third generation dairy farmer.

So most of my childhood, most of my upbringing was spending time riding around with him and his truck. Taking care of cows, you know, putting up hay, raking hay. I’m pretty sure I was driving a tractor down the road when I was about 10 or 11 years old. You know, they might arrest you for that kind of stuff these days, but that was really my childhood.

But one thing, he kind of instilled in me. He said, he said, son, he said, it’s my granddaddy. He said, when you finish high school you’re going to college. And I said, All right. Yes, sir. Whatever you want me to do. So I started school in east Tennessee. I went to East Tennessee State University, and then I ended up transferring to a small Christian college up here in Southern Indiana called Oakland City University.

Met my wife here, she’s from Missouri. And we had a really great you know, college experience. And you know, I happened into in the insurance industry just by chance. When my wife and I got married, my Father-in-law said, Hey, you need to go and buy health insurance for my daughter. And I said, Yes, sir.

You got it. And I ended up at the local Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield office and literally out of a conversation, just out of a joke, I got a job offer and started working there two weeks later when I was 21 years old. So that’s how I got into insurance.

Ryan Eaton: It’s a great story. We’ve talked about it several times on this podcast before, but no one plans to go in insurance, but everyone who’s in here just, they love it. It just happens by chance. So I love that you said that too. Well, so look, let’s talk a little bit about your company, but kind of before we go into some of the acquisition points, why don’t you tell about EverQuote then Ever Assurance and then Crosspoint kinda how all that came to be if you don’t mind.

Drew Shockley: Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, I, I guess I can kind of go back a little bit. You know, I started my career working for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is a, as you know, big health insurance carrier, really headquartered and based here in Indiana. They’re one of the largest blues in the country.

And so I got my start there, spent about three years doing that. My wife and I, you know, early on our marriage started having kids and somebody told me, they said, Hey, if I knew what you knew, I would go and start my own agency. And I said, I don’t even know what that means. But okay. You know, started kind of doing a little bit of research to see what it would mean to start an agency and to be able to help people. We were really working at Anthem in the individual health insurance space and you know, Medicare.

So I was, you know, helping people with Medicare supplements, Medicare advantage. I was working there in 2005 when like Medicare advantage came out early 2006 and I started researching and looking to see what it would look like to start an agency. And had a really close friend of mine a guy named Josh Muchlock, whom you know Ryan, and started sharing these conversations with him.

And in late 2007 walking into 2008, we started developing the concept and the business model for us to start a little two man agency that focused on the individual health insurance market and Medicare working with retirees, etcetera. In March of 2008, that’s when Crosspoint began here in Evansville.

Ryan Eaton: Man. That’s awesome. So if we fast forward, just a little bit: Crosspoint, you ran a successful company, helping thousands of people each year, EverQuote then came knocking. Was it something that you and Josh had ever thought about? Hey, we wanna build this agency with the potential of selling it down the road, or was it one of those things that when they came knocking and calling you guys were open to the offer and then just kind of things progressed from there?

Drew Shockley: You know, it’s a great question. You know, honestly, Josh and I were really just head down, you know, here in Evansville, Indiana, just doing our thing, building a business, you know, we started in 2008, you know, you gotta rewind a little bit for those of you that are in the healthcare industry. You know, that’s when Obama was running for president, you know, primarily on healthcare reform got elected, you know, in November of eight, took office in January of nine.

And then we started the, you know, full on, you know, kind of debate and establishment of the affordable care act. So, you know, early on in our business, you know, there were massive headwinds, massive changes, lots of things that we were having to learn and deal with. And we were literally 25 and 26 years old, you know, when we launched that company.

And so, and we had to learn a lot very early on and, and it was in the face of all these changes, federal regulations, you know, as you fast forward, Into 2014, that was really the implementation of, of the affordable care act and, and the affordable care act marketplaces. There were a lot of agencies and brokers that were leaving the healthcare industry because of what the affordable care act did. Right?

Ryan Eaton: That’s right.

Drew Shockley: Josh and I just kept our head down you know, kept, kept working. We, we, you know, we think we were running against the grain a little bit. We were growing and we were hiring people and we were trying to figure out, you know, this affordable care act marketplace, you know, we believe that we had a niche that’s right.

And we, we kind of stuck to it. And so we, we were adding people here. We were growing our, our agent staff. We were growing and expanding the number of states where we were serving. We were really, you know, focused on the under 65 market individual health and helping people navigate the affordable care act.

We didn’t really know what we were building Ryan, but what we were building was something that was unique. And so again, just kind of head down doing our thing. You know, there were companies that came along to us and, and wanted to have acquisition talks for a number of years. Right. But again, we were just head down.

We were two young guys just making it happen. You know, 2008 is when we began you know, so we, we hit that 10 year milestone and, you know, every year was up into the right and we had, you know, more team members, more success. And you know, we, we started to get a little bit more serious when we realized.

you know, what was happening in the market. And there was a lot of consolidation. There were a lot of companies that were getting bigger. Right. And it was getting a little bit more difficult for us to market, you know, on a national scale and, you know, acquisition costs were going up that’s right. You know, for running online campaigns you know, finding clients.

And so that really started, you know, to make us think a little bit more serious, but we really, really wanted the right. Yeah. For those of you that, that are, maybe you’re in this spot. There are a lot of companies, you know, I kind of categorize, you know, acquisitions sort of two ways. There’s kind of aggregators that just sort of go out and buy up a bunch of companies, buy up a bunch of revenue and then try to figure it out later.

Ryan Eaton: Right.

Drew Shockley: And there’s very strategic buyers that. You know, are buying a company for a specific reason. And that’s how we really felt about our relationship with EverQuote. EverQuote is a publicly traded insurance marketing company based in Boston, Massachusetts. And when they came along, the conversation was quite a bit different as opposed to other ones that we’d had in the past.

Ryan Eaton: That’s right. Well, you know, you kinda hit on acquisitions a little bit there and you kind of talk about a publicly traded company. Let’s kind of flip over to post-acquisition here. And, you know, you went from making every decision in your company, you and Josh, right. and then you took it to where now you run with a publicly traded company and there’s obviously some things that are different, better negative, probably some, some differences as well.

What would you say was the biggest pro to you personally through that acquisition?

Drew Shockley: Sure. It’s a great question. At the time of this recording, we are 19, 20 months in to acquisition. So coming up in a few months here will be two years. And I I’ll tell you, you know, I thought I would work a little bit less yeah.

You know, post acquisition you know, I mean, it’s good. You know, the check comes in the money’s in the bank and you’re, you know, you kind of like exhale a little bit and then, you know, you. Hey, just, just back to work. Mm-hmm , you know, Josh and I were, were relatively young, you know, for, from an acquisition standpoint, you know, to kind of sell our first business.

We were 36 and 37 kind of when that happened. So this is, you know, just, just a couple years ago. And you know, we did, I mean, yeah, as you know, I mean, at the time of acquisition we had about 50 full-time employees, you know, we had about 45 or so agents that were selling insurance, you know, on a day to day basis.

Mm-hmm, some support staff, etc. But we, if we wanted to make a decision, we used to just like, you know, roll up in a conference room, you know, write some things on a napkin and be like, okay. Let’s like, yeah. How you feeling about it? What’s your gut. Yeah. All right, let’s do that. Let’s go. You know, and that’s, that’s the way that it worked, you know, right.

Small, you know, closely held company and you know, of course. That’s not the way that works. You know, that’s now every quote, you know, in total, we, we have about 700 employees you know, at every quote. Wow. We have now you know, our part of the org, which is the, the agency, the direct to consumer agency encompasses about 350 employees.

So we have team members all over the country, fully remote with two working from home. We have agents, licensed agents that serve all five major lines of insurance, health, Medicare life, home, and you’re touching it all. You know, the process, you know, of making a decision is, is quite a bit different in a, in a good way.

You know, now, you know, if you wanna do something, you have to put together a plan, write up a document you know, share it with the team a week in advance, you know, get everybody’s thoughts and on a pre-read and you know, roll up into the meeting and make a decision. That’s. It’s not the way it worked.

Ryan Eaton: You know, in the past, have you gotten outta some of the HR meetings you previously had to have, or you still pulled into those?

Drew Shockley: Oh man, I love our people ops team. You know, they, our people ops team, you know, here at EverQuote is, is incredible. And they do some really, really fun stuff.

I enjoy it to work with our people ops team on good stuff. You know, like employee development, you know, leadership. Development’s not all like, you know, terminating people, I don’t know happen, but you know, I enjoy working with our people op team for good stuff. And you know, so I get to collaborate with, with them quite a bit, and we have some all stars there, but you know, we, there’s so many pros you know, to watching, you know, our, our business you know, as, as Josh and I, you know, really, really led, you know, our business and led that company for over 12 years and in a sense there’s many entrepreneurs and, and many people that have started companies that, you know, get to the point where your company is having a lot of success.

And you’re having a lot of success and you’re, you know, you’re cashing checks, you’re making money, you’ve got your family growing, you know, you’re getting all the, the quote things, you know, that you want a nicer house, nicer truck, you know, all that stuff. And I think, you know, in some entrepreneurs’ life, you reach that point where you’re like, you’re a little bit less, you have a little bit less of a risk tolerance.

Ryan Eaton: Yep.

Drew Shockley: Cause you don’t wanna, you don’t wanna mess up, you know what you’ve built, right. What you have. No. And. You know, I don’t know if that’s exactly where Josh and I were, because again we were up until the left you know, every year and things were going really, really well, but it is somewhat of relief to have 12 years into a business to have went ahead and kind of celebrated in the success of what you built.

But, you know, Josh and I, weren’t just looking to cash a big check and then like ride off into the sunset. We were 36 years old. Right. You know, Josh is 37. So we were really looking for a strategic buyer and we were looking for a home. We were looking for a place to continue growing, building, and doing what we were doing.

And I think that’s a very different place as a seller. Right. I think I would challenge, you know, if you’re out there and you’re going through these talks and you know, you’re talking to somebody, I would really, really challenge you to think about what you want. Post-acquisition and share that with the buyer because Josh and I, you know, we very much loved what we were doing and we wanted to continue growing and building.

And so it’s good to be able to celebrate the success that’s right. And all that stuff. But then, you know, money’s in the bank and, you know, you kind of put your head down and you log back in and keep going. And so that’s what we’ve been doing, and it’s been great to have a ton of resources and some extremely smart people with, you know, our leadership team and you know, be able to take more risk, you know, with that, laying it all on the line with that.

Ryan Eaton: Is there anything specifically that you wish you would’ve known prior to negotiations or maybe looking kind of in the rear view mirror saying, Hey, I wish I’d have known this prior to signing or wish I’d known this closing the deal or, Hey, this is one thing we didn’t consider. Is there something that you might recommend to people out there who are in the middle of this acquisition right now?

Drew Shockley: I mean, the biggest thing is, you know, kind of wanted shared a moment ago, just really, really, really ponder what you wanna do. That’s post-acquisition, because some people they just want to kind of be one and done and they wanna go do something else. And that’s fine if that’s what you want to do.

But me personally, you know, I felt compelled because I was, you know, I wasn’t just selling, you know, my portion of the company, I was also bringing 50 people along. That’s right. I was taking them along that journey with me. And then, you know, we’ve grown. To about 350 team members now in our agency.

And I feel responsible for those people too. That’s right. Cause I, you know, I recruited them, I brought ’em on board, trained them. And so, you know, I challenge you if you’re, you know, if you’re out there and you’re a seller really, really ponder, contemplate, write down what it is that you wanna do and share that with your buyer.

We all know that. Not all acquisitions, you know, end up in a, you know, a successful, you know, state, you know, and I think it has to do with you know, lack of understanding between the expectations of the buyer and the seller seller post acquisition. You can agree on a price. You can agree on a multiple, you can agree on a number and you know, everything can be great and good.

But if you don’t have a clear picture of what’s gonna happen post acquisition. Yep. You’re setting yourself up. You know, for disappointment or, you know, for worse, you know, just a loss.

Ryan Eaton: No, that’s, that’s great advice Drew. Great advice. So look, I wanna take the conversation now over kind to the leadership base of it and kind of what you’re doing now and how you’re trained developing teams.

But for those who aren’t actually watching by video today, maybe you’re listening to this You gotta go through drew the anatomy of a goat behind you. We kind of hit it before, cause I thought it was so good, but tell where that came from. You know, most of us are thinking greatest of all time, but tell us kinda how you guys have your own spin on it and kind of give a little bit of maybe kind of the, the feel of your company.

Drew Shockley: So to say yeah, for sure. So, I mean, if you, if you’re watching my video, you know, you can see it here, but you know, it really goes back to the original founders of EverQuotes, a guy named Seth and unfortunately, Seth actually passed away unexpectedly in 2020, a couple months after acquisition.

But Seth was like larger than life. Like everything that you would think you know, from like a, you know, an entrepreneur and a, you know, a public traded CEO. I mean, he just he, you know, brought everybody along. You know, he had everybody aligned on the vision. He, you know, really caused people to move, caused people to action, but he also did it with like, you know, with love and care.

But, you know, before they actually started EverQuote, Seth worked for a company and the story goes that this guy they were working for, worked on really, really hard. They were working six, seven days a week, you know, granted. They’re two MIT grads, genius dudes, you know, up in Boston, but they came up with this, this phrase, they just kind of started calling each other goats and not, you know, in the sense of greatest of all time, but like, Hey dude, you’re, you’re a goat.

Like you’re doing all the work. just go do goat work. Right. And so they were working all the time. So anyway, When EverQuote came along and they started having success. You know, of course this was their own company and it started to grow and grow and grow. And eventually they, they took it public in 2018.

Then, you know, the goat kind of became the unofficial mascot and this image that you see behind me, you know, is the anatomy of a goat kind of encompasses you know, these values that team members that EverQuote, you know, our employees are team members. You know, whether you’re an engineer, an analyst, you know, you work on the agency side, you’re, you know, senior leader, CEO, whatever this goat image kind of includes five really attributes or five you know, values of the company.

So. You know, I’ll kind of start, you know, the top left it’ll, can’t see it too, too well, but you know, the first one is, is data centricity. You know, again, MIT grads, our company’s full of genius level people, but we make decisions with data. You know, you can’t just come in and say, you know, I feel this way, you gotta have data to back it up.

So data centricity is a huge value of ours heart. You can see the heart kind of cut outta the goat. You know, we wanna have heart. We want to, we want people to be passionate about what they do. You know, the bottom one is you know, behind this, this mic stand is, is bootstrapping.

This really resonated with, with Josh and I, you know, bootstrapping you know, means you, you know, you do everything you can to try to get, you know, a project off the ground EverQuote, did not raise a lot of money you know, before, you know, having success in, go in public. And you know, that’s a, bootstrapping is a concept we talk about often on the top, we have Tenas.

This is, you know, you think about exactly what that term means. You know, we just work hard and, and we’re tenacious, you know, we’re tenacious entrepreneurs. We want people to have that mindset. And then finally at the end is, is, is impact. You know, we want to know that that what the company’s doing is having an impact on on insurance shoppers on consumers.

And that really aligns with the, the company mission statement. And so that’s the anatomy.

Ryan Eaton: I love it. Well, I like how you, you set it out there clear for your people, right. They know kind of what the company’s about. They know what your values are. I think it’s great to have that. Do you have that throughout your organization or is it just in that one room?

Drew Shockley: It’s on the walls, you know, it’s terms that we call each other, it’s on like internal slack, you know, you’ve got these goat emojis and, you know, we have for, for our top agents, we have a top goats you know, award and You know, I told you this. But the reason, you know, I’m actually sitting right now where we host our internal company podcast and it’s called goat cast.

So, you know, goat lives on across the company. And you know, we we do our best to to push it forward.

Ryan Eaton: Sure. That is awesome, man. Well, look, let me ask you a little bit about your training program. So when we were talking the other day on the phone, you were telling me that. And kinda working on some of your development for your team.

And you mentioned something that you were doing with the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership by John Maxwell. And I love how you were kind of pulling that in, just give us kind of a high level view of how you do from a training development standpoint. Are you in a big classroom setting? Are you doing it one on one kinda, is it just, Hey, all our new hires come through, what does kind of your bring someone on, get them a part of the team?

Get the culture, get them understanding how their leadership feels acts, thinks, operates. I’d love to kinda know that from a high level view.

Drew Shockley: Yeah, for sure. So you know, when you start a business, you know, like Josh and I did, you know, we were the two, you know, founders, you know, so we never really had like a title.

We all just, you know, we both just kind of did a lot of things. Yeah. You know, Josh, Josh, you know, kind of naturally navigated to, you know, finance to operations, to strategy, to systems tools. And he always, you know, had a plan going for us. You know, my natural kind of instinct was more on the sales side, you know, leading our sales teams, training our agents, developing them, working with carriers and spending time, you know, out, you know, with our teams.

And so, you know, when we went through the acquisition, you know, one of the things that, you know, you get to do is you, you know, you start to move into a role that fit your best and natural tendencies. And so my title today, I guess, is, is senior vice president of training and development. I’m still, you know, working to figure out what that means.

No, not really. I know exactly what it means. I have four trainers that are on my team. I have two trainers that work to do home and auto training for our new agents and have two trainers that do Medicare and Health. And so I kinda oversee that, that part of the program. That’s when we bring new people on and we’ve brought in a lot of new people on right, you know, in the last 12 to 18 months. And then, you know, the development aspect of it was, you know, is really you know, is, is really the perfect example is exactly what we’re doing with this, this 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. And so we have 38 managers and team leaders that work with our agent staff.

Again, we have about 350 people in our part of the org. And we decided earlier this year that we wanted to take our team through leadership development courses. And so we chose. John Maxwell’s 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. I love it. We put everybody together in groups of eight or nine.

And what we do is we meet weekly in these groups. It’s all virtual cause we have teams all over the country. We have an office in Austin, Texas. We have an office in San Antonio, Boston, Massachusetts, Evansville. And then we have an engineering team with about 40 people in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

So, you know, our leadership development program is all virtual. We can’t get in the same room. Right? All of our training for agents is virtual. We can’t get in the same room. And so, you know, over the last couple years, I’ve really had to learn to how to engage people, you know, how to get my lighting ride and, you know, audio and all that stuff and engage people in a virtual environment.

But the birth of the leadership development groups you know, really came out of just a passion for growing our team members, helping them get those, the fundamentals of those leadership principles. Mm-hmm so that it would permeate into our culture. Yep. So that we continue developing our team members.

And so that we could continue fostering the type of culture that we want, which is people. First, we wanna take care of our people. We wanna, you know, pay them the best, give ’em the best benefits, you know, give them the right, you know areas to development, you know, give them all the best opportunities in the world.

And then, you know, turn that into the way that they treat clients. Right. We want clients to, to enjoy working with us, have a great experience. You know, the leadership development program we meet once a week you know, pull people together. I’m doing that along with, with a person on our people ops team named Abby Trada.

We work together on it and we, we facilitate those groups every week.

Ryan Eaton: So you’re training you, obviously you have to have sales, product training, cause you gotta know what you’re doing. Obviously you, the development of people, personal development is huge, right? You want people good for the long term? Cause if their family lives are outta whack or their financial lives are outta whack, it, it is gonna roll over into the office.

What have you found to be more valuable training for the long haul, more product sales development, personal development, or is there a blend there that works good for you guys?

Drew Shockley: It’s a great question. You know, we historically have had a lot of people come and join our team that have had no insurance experience.

Mm-hmm and we’re actually okay with that. Yep. Because, you know, we want personality traits that match the culture that we wanna create. We want people who care about people. Mm-hmm, we want people who are interested in serving others. We want people that can come in and join, you know, our mission, vision you know, to help people protect life’s most important assets, their family, their property, and their future. That’s our mission statement. And so we want people when they wake up in the morning, they log in, you know, from their house. We want the to live that mission out in every call that they have and every interaction that they have with a client and also how they treat each other individually.

So, you know, we don’t. We don’t really worry or care much, you know, whether someone’s had a lot of experience, we spend a lot of time in training, at least early on in onboarding teaching relational skills, developing you know, interpersonal company relationships, you know, really bringing them into, to this very familial you know, type atmosphere and you know, that’s hard with a company of 700 people that truly has employees all over the U.S. and in Northern Ireland. And it’s difficult. So you have to be really intentional about it. Our slack threads have their own vibe. They have a life of their own. And so our managers, our team leaders, all of our people, you know, they’re, they’re credited with, with really creating that atmosphere where people want to come into work.

They believe in what we’re doing. They love the people that they’re doing it with and they know that the work they’re doing is impactful. And so, you know, you didn’t hear me say anything about deductibles and co bases. Cause that’s the easiest part.

Every healthy culture and every healthy business that I’ve been a part of had a team of people that were fully aligned behind one vision, loved the people that they were working with, and felt like the work they were doing was impactful. And so that’s what we try to do.

Ryan Eaton: So what have you found to be the most when you’re you got people in Boston, San Antonio, Indiana, new Ireland, how do you engage those people?

What is the best thing you found through maybe online meetings where they’re not checking their watches, but they’re actually sitting there and they’re engaging with the conversations, or they’re giving their input and value. What’s, what’s kind of the secret sauce there?

Drew Shockley: Well, you know, there’s a lot you know, in order to be engaging you know, I think in a virtual world you gotta bring as many elements as possible. So we have town halls, we have company town halls. Okay. Where we you know, we bring in, we have different segments of people that present.

We have music going you know, we play songs, we play live music. It’s one of the things I love to do too. I play music. One of the other guys here in the office you know, he plays music, so we’ll get together, pull the guitars out, you know, we’ll oh, I love it.

We’ll keep things, you know, really, really interesting. And you know, try to to give our team members, you know, the information that they want. It’s like a Tony Robbins conference. I mean, nobody wants to log in and just, you know, watch somebody flip through a slideshow. Right. So that’s right. You know, I don’t know if you watch Jimmy Fallon, but you know, a lot of people do, and he has a segment where he slow jams the news.

Yeah. And so, you know, he says something. So we brought in our own version of, you know, slow, jamming the news, you know, here at at our town halls. And so it’s made a, it’s been a lot of fun, at least for me, that is a hall, but you know, we get a lot of good feedback too. And I think people fun. Keep fun, man.

Ryan Eaton: That is great. I love that. That slow jams, that is fantastic. So real quick, we got time for probably two more questions. I want to hit that John Maxwell point. What is your favorite lesson or what’s your favorite principle that you’ve taken from the 21 irrefutable laws of leader?

Drew Shockley: Great question. You know, obviously they’re 21, you know, Maxwell would say, you know, Hey, all these laws are important.

Ryan Eaton: That’s right.

Drew Shockley: He would say, all these laws, you know, can stand alone. All these laws will challenge you, you know, and all these laws bring, you know, will hold you accountable. But you know, really the biggest and I think probably the most, you know, famous quote of John Maxwell, at least one of them, he has so many he’s been around for like a hundred years.

But my favorite one is leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Mm. I think we live in a culture where people look at your title and they look at, you know, where you are on the org chart or they look at your pay or they look at, you know, your house, your vehicle, whatever. And they think that you reach a status or you reach a level of quote leadership, you know, when you get a title or get a piece of paper.

So, you know, we open those sessions and we say, look like, if you’re here, you’re already a leader because leadership is influence. It’s nothing more, nothing less. And we all have the ability to influence. You can influence people below you, you can influence people beside you and then you can influence up.

So leadership has influenced nothing more, nothing less. And if you take that approach, it kind of flips a lid on what a lot of us believe, you know from a leadership perspective, you can’t make a decision. If you’re not CEO, you can’t, you know, do this. If you’re not the CFO and it’s just, it’s simply not, not true.

Ryan Eaton: That’s very true, great point. And I love that principle. So one of the things I’d like you to hit on is, you know, it kind of talks about the law of the inner circle. And, you know, we have a lot of leaders listening in here that are looking to kind of develop their leadership team, right. To help ’em sharpen the saw or iron sharpens iron, whatever you wanna call it.

Right. We wanna be able to strengthen the people around us as well. What’s been the biggest points you’ve taken kind of from that principle with your leadership team. Cause I think y’all have done a fantastic job of building a culture, especially in a publicly traded company. That’s a lot harder to do.

And it sounds like you’re doing a lot of the right things. So I’d love to know again, kind of what are you doing there to strengthen that inner circle?

Drew Shockley: That’s a great question. You know, we are Josh and I, you know built Crosspoint in over a 12 year period and, and we had some incredible people on our team for a number of years that helped us get there.

You know, it wasn’t us. You know, it was our team. Yeah. And it was, it was everybody collectively working toward a common goal that hasn’t changed you know, since becoming a part of, of EverQuote and then launching our consumer facing brand, which is EverAssurance, we’ve continued to bring on the smartest, most talented people that we could find to come and, and join our team. I’ll just name a few. We brought out a guy named Garrett Kit. Garrett kit lives in Austin, Texas. He’s been extremely influential you know, in the develop of our org. He came from eHealth insurance where he ran all of their Medicare sales teams, thousands of agents you know, he comes in and he brings that, you know, tenacity, he brings the experience, the background, but he also, you know, aligns perfectly with our heart and to make, you know, to be impactful. I think of guys like George Taylor who came from you know came from the industry, but came in and he’s the most relational leader that I can think of. People love working for George and people, you know, want to do well. Because they know George is rooting for them.

And so, you know, when you think about, you know, building your team, you’ve gotta put people in place, you know, that love people , you know, that have kind of a servant’s heart, you know that sort of approach. And I think if you do that and you put people first you know you will have success in everything that you do.

That’s right. If you get the right people on the bus and you’re all headed in the same direction, aligned on a mission, aligned on a vision and you wake up every day and log in, you know, with that in mind, you’ll have a lot of success.

Ryan Eaton: No, that’s great, Drew. Well, look acquisition, leadership. You nailed ’em both today, man. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you being on the show today and, and thank you for coming in my friend.

Drew Shockley: Absolutely. Anytime. Hope hope we’ll come back sometime.

Ryan Eaton: That sounds good. See you, buddy.

Drew Shockley: See you, Ryan.

Ryan Eaton: Well, thank you for joining us today for another episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast, where a good plan today is better than a great plan months from now.

Thank you very much.

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