Executive Vice President, Hierl Insurance, Inc., Honored By National Society of CIC for 15-Year Commitment

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 10, 2016 –Scott Smeaton, CRM, CIC, Executive Vice President of Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mr. Scott Smeaton was awarded a certificate marking more than fifteen years of participation as a designated CIC, which requires annual completion of advanced education and training.

Smeaton’s dedication and leadership brings added value to his clients, associates and the industry as a whole. His ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” education and customer satisfaction.

The Society of CIC is a not-for-profit organization of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, which is respected throughout the insurance industry for the high standards maintained in the hundreds of institutes conducted annually in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Other programs of The National Alliance include Certified Risk Managers (CRM), Certified Personal Risk Managers (CPRM), James K. Ruble Seminars, the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR), Certified School Risk Managers (CSRM), and the National Alliance Research Academy.

Download the Press Release here.

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President, Hierl Insurance, Inc., Honored By National Society of CIC for 25-Year Commitment

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 7, 2016 – Mike Hierl, President of Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mr. Mike Hierl was awarded a certificate marking more than twenty-five years of leadership as a designated CIC, which requires annual completion of advanced education and training.

Mike Hierl’s ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” education and customer satisfaction. “Your clients, associates and the insurance profession as a whole continue to benefit from such dedication,” cited Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of the Society of CIC.

The CIC Program is nationally recognized as the premier continuing education program for insurance professionals, with programs offered in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the Society of CIC is a not-for-profit organization and the founding program of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.

Download the Press Release here.

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7 Tips to Get Your Team to Actually Listen to You

Original post entrepreneur.com

Right from the outset, entrepreneurs must pay attention to every communication and opportunity for sharing their passion and vision.  They must communicate effectively, so they can inspire others to come aboard.  They must speak honestly and in ways that reveal their personal character and genuine connection. Yet, this sort of communication style can be difficult and time consuming – especially when demands are huge and time is scarce.

There is far more to being an effective and authentic communicator than most entrepreneurs believe -- at least when they are starting out. Even if you think you’re good at speaking to your team and motivating them, there’s always more to learn.

Leadership communication is a discipline and a practice: The more time, effort and heart you put in, the more effective you become.  There really are no shortcuts.

That said, here are seven ideas that can help you focus your attention and improve your leadership communication.

1. Be authentic.

When you speak with your employees you must come across to them as real. This means sharing your beliefs and your struggles. Talking about moments of doubt but also explaining how you overcame them with more conviction and confidence than ever. Or perhaps share a story or two about a failure and disappointment in life.

The most convincing talks are when stories are shared about personal weaknesses and what one was doing to overcome them or disappointments and failures and how they were turned around.

2. Know yourself.

Dig deep.  Know your values and what motivates you.  If you don’t know yourself you cannot share or connect with others. People want to know what makes you tick as a human being not just as a leader. Share this and make yourself real.

3. Rely on a good coach or a trusted advisor.

Developing good communication skills takes time -- and in the rush of business, that’s scarce.  Having someone who can push you to examine and reveal your interests and passions is enormously helpful and the value is immeasurable.

4. Read up on leadership communication.

If you can’t hire a coach, read all that you can. This is an inexhaustible resource, and you should never quit learning anyway. Books, articles, the internet; the possibilities are endless.

5. Make values visible.

Effective, empathetic communication and a commitment to culture can provide a solid foundation for your ideas and contribute to making it a reality. Many of today’s most successful companies have gone through dramatic crises.  Their improvements often hinged upon genuine communication from the leaders.

For instance, think of Starbucks and Howard Schultz’s clear and genuine communications about the importance of managers and baristas being personally accountable for future success. Your employees want to know what you and the company stands for. What is the litmus test for everything you do? These are your values. Talk about them but you must always be sure to “walk the talk” and live by them.

6. Engage with stories.

You can't rely on facts and figures alone. It’s stories that people remember. The personal experiences and stories you share with others create emotional engagement, decrease resistance and give meaning. It is meaning that gets employees' hearts and fuels discretionary effort, thinking and desire to actively support the business.

Once someone was implementing a massive pricing cut. He could have presented reams of data about this change and why it needed to be made. Instead he invited in four clients of the firm who had written letters about why after more than 10 years they had decided to leave due to our pricing being noncompetitive. Everyone was engaged and quite horrified to hear this feedback. Getting the team’s support for the change was much easier after that.

7. Be fully present. 

There is no autopilot for leadership communication. You must be fully present to move people to listen and pay attention, rather than simply be in attendance. Any time you are communicating, you need to be prepared -- and to speak from your heart.  Leadership communication is, after all, about how you make others feel. What do you want people to feel, believe and do as a result of your communication?  This absolutely can't happen if you read a speech. No matter how beautifully it is written, it doesn’t come across as authentic or from your heart if you are reading it. Embrace what you want to say and use notes if you must, but never read a speech if you want to be believable and move people to action. (And yes this requires a ton of preparation).

Your speeches are visible and important components of your role as a leader. Successful entrepreneurs are conscious of that role in every communication, interaction and venue within the organization and beyond. They also know that while today’s world provides a wide range of ways to communicate to your organization -- mass email, text, Twitter, instant message and more --connecting is not that simple. Electronic communication is a tool for communicating information -- not for inspiring passion.


'Smart' Seat Could Reduce Whiplash Injuries

Originally posted on August 25, 2014 on The Globe and Mall.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) are working to create a car seat system that can mitigate the effect of whiplash enough to significantly reduce the risk of injury from low-speed rear-end collisions. In the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that more than $8.8-billion (U.S.) is paid out annually for whiplash injuries, accounting for 25% of the total spent for all crash injuries.

The economic and social strain caused by these soft tissue injuries was an impetus for Daniel Mang, a kinesiology student at UBC, to develop an active "smart seat" that responds to the pulse created during a collision, and automatically adapts and adjusts the seat on impact to lessen the effect on the head and neck. Mang says that the smart seat has more time to adjust (than an airbag), so it would rely on technology similar to the airbags to sense the collision and adapt the seat in response to accelerometers (that can estimate how much you weigh.)

To see the full article, go to:www.theglobeandmail.com/


NHTSA Promotes Two Connected-Car Technologies to Prevent Crashes

Originally posted on August 18, 2014 on Automotive Fleet.

As part of its quest to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications capability in light-duty vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a research report analyzing the technology's feasibility, safety benefits, potential costs and legal issues.

The report projects that just two of many possible V2V communications applications — left turn assist and intersection movement assist — could save as many as 1,083 lives and prevent up to 592,000 crashes annually. Left turn assist warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, and intersection movement assist warns them if it's not safe to enter an intersection because of the likelihood of a collision.

Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, "do not pass," and stop light/stop sign warnings. V2V systems transmit basic safety information between vehicles via short-range radio communication devices. NHTSA estimates that the V2V equipment and supporting functions would cost about $341 to $350 per vehicle in 2020. That cost might dip to approximately $209 to $227 by 2058, after manufacturers gain experience producing the equipment, according to the report.

To see the full article, go to: www.automotive-fleet.com/


GM Plans to Launch Hands-Free Driving by 2016

Originally posted by  CNET on September 7, 2014.
General Motors has announced it plans to introduce Cadillac models in two years that incorporate hands-free driving and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications to exchange traffic information with similarly equipped vehicles. GM's "Super Cruise" semi-automated technology will automatically keep a vehicle in a specific, properly equipped freeway lane, making necessary steering and speed adjustments in bumper-to-bumper traffic or long highway trips.

"With Super Cruise, when there's a congestion alert on roads like California's Santa Monica Freeway, you can let the car take over and drive hands-free and feet-free through the worst stop and go traffic around," said Mary Barra, GM CEO. "And if the mood strikes you on the high-speed road from Barstow, California to Las Vegas, you can take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work."

However, unlike the driverless vehicle being tested by Google, GM's system will require drivers to remain attentive and ready to resume control of the vehicle.

To see the full article, go to: www.cnet.com/


Bluetooth Sensors Constantly Check Car Tire Pressure, Send Alerts

Originally posted by CNET, on September 11, 2014.
"Always check your tire pressure." It's something parents teach kids during early driving lessons, and it's something most kids quickly forget. Now, a new invention making a run on Indiegogo could play the role of a nervous parent for thousands of drivers out there by continuously monitoring tire pressure and relaying that information via Bluetooth to a smartphone or in-car receiver.

To use the system, drivers would unscrew the little black caps on their tires' fill valves and replace them with round Fobo ("For Our Better wOrld") tire sensors. Each sensor continuously monitors the pressure in its assigned tire, then uses Bluetooth to relay that information via smartphone app or to an in-car receiver. Because Bluetooth is a low-energy technology, the creators say the sensors will last about two years before the batteries need to be changed. Cost for the sensors will be around $90.

The creators are working on a lock nut that can only be removed with a special wrench that will help make the sensors as theft-proof as possible.

To see the full article, go to: www.cnet.com/


6 ways to overcome distractions

Originally posted by Erin Bramblett, HR specialist with Insperity, an HR outsourcing firm on http://ebn.benefitnews.com.

If anyone knows a thing or two about multitasking, it’s benefit managers. From understanding the compliance complexities of the Affordable Care Act to navigating the nuances of ERISA, benefit managers are experts at juggling several priorities. Yet multitasking and having to deal with constant interruptions can negatively affect work quality, according to a recent study from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

1. Prioritize.

“Prioritize what you need to get done as an employee and do those things early in the day,” says Bramblett. “Focus on what needs to get done, whether it’s three things or five things, and focus on those until they’re done.”

2. Create a to-do list.

“Write that bulleted list, include scheduled breaks and cross them off as you complete them. That will help you stay focused,” advises Bramblett. “And taking a mental break in between tasks will help employees shift gears a little more easily.”

3. Don’t check social media during the day.

A five-minute break to update your status can easily turn into a 30-minute waste of time, says Bramblett, who advises keeping social media pages closed during the work day. But if you absolutely can’t go all day without seeing what those crazy cats on Instagram are up to, then schedule it as part of your break on your to-do list.

4. Learn the power of ‘no.’

“It’s hard to not say ‘yes’ to every assignment that comes your way,” says Bramblett. “But you’ve got to make sure you’re keeping your to-do list at a realistic level.” She advises communicating with your team, your boss or your clients to make sure your daily priorities are correct and that you’re finding out which things are most important for you to get done each day.

5. Don’t think you’re capable of multitasking.

“It is scientifically proven that individuals work better when they are single-tasking,” says Bramblett, citing an American Psychological Association study that showed multitasking undermines efficiency by as much as 40%.

6. Create a workplace that doesn’t expect multitasking.

“If employees feel like they have to multitask because their boss keeps coming at them with multiple projects and asking for updates on 15 different things in a day, that would certainly be something that would create that environment so you want to ensure you create that work-life balance,” advises Bramblett.


6 bad habits holding you back from success

Originally posted on  http://eba.benefitnews.com

Do you feel stuck in a rut? Expected to be shooting up the HR/benefit career ladder at this stage in the game? We all have bad habits, but bringing your baggage to the office can be the difference between soaring or stalling in your career. Ilya Pozin, an entrepreneur and founder of Pluto.TV, Open Me and Ciplex, offers six common workplace bad habits to break if you want to continue moving up the career ladder.

Being a lone wolf

Workplace collaboration is key to success. Even though you prefer working solo, which is in itself a value commodity, it shouldn’t be your only speed. Break the habit by finding a project near and dear to you and ask to be part of the team. Do your best to keep everyone involved and in the loop, and stretch those collaboration muscles.

Saying sorry too much

If you find yourself apologizing too much, it implies you’re making too many mistakes and can undercut your position within the organization. Own your mistakes and reserve the word “sorry” for the truly big mistakes.

Taking on every project

Challenging new projects should excite you, but do you find yourself overdoing it? Learn your limits … if you say yes to every project, you may soon yourself unhappy, burnt out and badly overworked. Nip this habit in the bud. The word “no” is powerful and doesn’t make you look like a slacker when you turn down a project. Be protective of your time and abilities and know when you’ve reached your limit.

Being negative

Nobody is friends with Negative Nancy. If you have a rain cloud over your head every morning, it’s no surprise you’re stuck where you are. Enthusiasm and passion are traits managers look for in their superstars. Sit yourself down and ask the hard questions you’ve been avoiding. If you hate your job, it might be time to look for another opportunity. Ask yourself what would make you wake up excited about your work day, and chase after your dreams.

Doing things the way they’ve always been done

Innovation is a thriving company’s life blood but, for most, doing the same old thing and getting paid for it is enough. Sit down with your boss and ask for an open-door policy to offer feedback. Try to chime in once a month with something new that can help your company grow. Even if some of your ideas aren’t used, you’ll stand out as a forward thinker who cares about the company’s future.

Being disorganized

It’s estimated an average of 9 million hours are spent looking for misplaced things. The impact of that on your work life can really eat away at your true potential. So on your next slow day, take the time to organize your work space and set a plan to stay organized. One of the hardest parts of reorganizing is the initial clean-up of clutter.

 

 

 


6 self-motivation techniques

Originally posted August 11, 2014 by Daniel Williams on http://www.lifehealthpro.com

Chances are you have an idea where you’d like to be in your career. If you’ve gotten stuck somewhere along the way, take heart. These 6 self-motivation techniques from sales and motivation expert Bob Urichuck’s book Motivate Your Team in 30 Days will get you back on track:

1.     Have an attitude of gratitude. When you awake in the morning, ask yourself how you are today. Your answer should be “GREAT!”—Getting Really Excited About Today. You never know which day will be your last, so make today the best day of your life.

2.     Begin self-motivating first thing. Find something to do for yourself immediately upon waking. Take time out to do something to productive or nourishing yourself so that you’ll have the energy to be there for others.

3.     Reinforce your positive behavior. Now that you have done something for yourself, reward your effort with a morning treat. If you follow up your self-motivating actions with coffee or breakfast, you will be inclined to repeat the behavior.

4.     Recognize that no one else can motivate you. Yes, you may find fleeting motivation from external sources. But lasting motivation—the kind that bears fruit—comes from within. Dig deep to access your reserve of willpower.

5.     Decide to live your dreams. Do want to live your life according to someone else’s idea of what you should be? Decide to take responsibility for yourself and aim for your truest desires. It’s your life; take charge of it.

6.     Take control of yourself. In order to be self-motivated, you must be in control of your life. There are many things outside of your control, and those you must accept. But there are many things over which you do have control, chief among them your attitude. Become the master of your thoughts and reactions.

When it comes to achieving your goals, you can succeed. You just need a little push in the right direction.