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By:  Patricia McHugh Lambert, Esquire 

People ask me all the time about planning.  Pat, how do I plan so that I’m prepared for a disaster?  Pat, how do I plan so that I don’t get sued?  Pat, how should I plan for what happens when I die?  Problems. Problems. Problems.  Can we every think about planning without thinking about problems?

This year I am going to try to plan for the best.  Now this does not mean that I am going to plan to win the lottery or suddenly becoming best friends with Beyonce.  I still have a certain amount of realism in me.  Rather, I am thinking about how I can plan to make 2019 one of my best years, rather than just another year on the calendar.

Clearly, one has to think about what would make a year “one of the best years ever” for a business. Certainly there is the need for a business to remain financially sound; but thinking about such mundane thoughts do not create a climate for making 2019 a year that is the ‘best’ for a business.  Best requires figuring out what makes the business special.  How is what you do “best in class”?  If a business does not understand why a customer or client would believe that the business is special, then the business is simply ordinary.

The same is true for the insurance business.  An insurance professional cannot have the ‘best year’ unless he or she determines what makes them best.  Is it customer service?  Is it a personable style?  Is it deep professional knowledge?  An insurance professional is likely to know his/her flaws and likely to work to improve them. But planning to play to ones strengths can make a good year a best year.  Sometimes, a person is the best at something that seems mundane or boring.  Sometimes people are best at innovation.  Figure out what you do best and plan to do more of it.

A year will not be the ‘best’ unless you have people that will support you.  This means that you must get the ‘best’ out of those that support you.  You must consider what you must do to help them be their best. That may mean that you give them additional financial incentives.  It may mean that you have to be nicer to them—ask them about their kids and their dreams.  It may mean that you need to offer them training or coaching.  It may mean that you have to look at yourself closely in the mirror to determine whether others see you as the ‘best’ boss or ‘best’ staff member.  You cannot expect the best of them without expecting the best of yourself.  You must think, plan, and change in order for you to get the best out of others.

In order for a business person to have a year that is the best, there must be leveraging of resources.  The world is too complex for any one person to do all things well.  This is particularly true in the field of insurance.  Last year alone in Maryland, there were countless significant new laws, important bulletins issued by the Maryland Insurance Administration and numerous reported cases that mentioned insurance.  That’s too many for the busy professional to try to keep up with. To keep up, a busy professional wanting to have a best in class year must use trade associations, business contacts, and other resources to stay on top of their game.  Certainly, to be the best, the professional must leverage technology, recording keeping and to-do lists.

Finally, to have a year that is ranks as ‘best’, a business person must feed their soul. A business person must consider what makes them happy and what makes them sad.  Feed the happy and starve the sad.  Plan to be happy and get rid of the toxic strains to the extent you can.

For all my readers, I wish them a 2019 that is the best of years.  Just remember that it will not be the best unless you plan to make it the best.

Ms. Lambert has over 25 years of experience in handling complex commercial litigation and insurance matters. Ms. Lambert has worked on national class actions, significant litigation and regulatory matters for Fortune 500 companies. She has also assisted small and mid-sized companies and business executives with contract, real estate and commercial disputes that needed to be resolved quickly and efficiently. Ms. Lambert is best known as an attorney who knows the field of insurance. She has represented insurers, policyholders, and insurance producers in disputes both in court and before the Maryland Insurance Administration. She can be contacted by phone at 410-339-6759 or email at