ROBERT (BOB) FULLER began his insurance career almost 25 years ago insuring aircraft he sold from his small aircraft sales operation in St. Simons Island, GA. He soon joined a trucking specialist agency and after a decade founded Fleet Risk Management, which he describes as “an inch wide and a mile deep” in its focus on insuring trucking operations of all sizes. In 2017, the agency became part of Assured Partners, a large multi-national insurance brokerage company
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A LEADER?
I didn’t necessarily set out to be a leader. I wanted to do my own thing and in order to grow, I had to build a team and that made me the leader.
The goal is to develop other leaders, not followers. When folks join us with interest and ability in leading other people, we want to provide them with the responsibility and the authority to do that and to step into their own leadership roles. In addition to helping our clients, that’s been the most satisfying part of my career.
WHAT IS YOUR MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY? HOW DO YOU APPLY IT?
Be very intentional about providing clear vision and direction. Once we decide where we want to go, we de
My job is to make sure that everybody in this organization has everything they need to do their jobs, whether that’s training or technology or dealing with the right insurance carriers. Everybody in the agency meets every single morning at 8 a.m., and I have three questions for them: What’s hassling you about your job? What do you need to do your job? Where are you going to be today? Everything that happens in our operation is known by someone in that meeting.
HOW HAVE YOU LED YOUR TEAM IN DEALING WITH CHANGES IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
Business moves faster and faster today, so we’ve had to adapt to make things happen in real time. When a trucking company is moving freight, and coordinating all the people and equipment that takes, the timing has to be perfect. It is imperative that we move just as fast.
I tell our folks that this is a battleship, not a cruise ship. That means we have to be at our stations all the time and ready to perform.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH STRATEGIC PLANNING?
It’s a three-tiered approach. We have our daily meeting, where we all check in, and then we have a weekly management meeting with the six folks on our management team. It lasts about an hour and a half, and we have what I call the lightning round, where everyone talks about what’s going on in their departments. We get a lot done in this meeting by streamlining and being efficient.
We’re now planning our first management retreat, which will probably be a day or day-and-a half meeting where we develop one-year, three-year and five-year plans. Being part of Assured Partners provides us with great tools and expertise to guide this process.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO LEAD YOUR COMPANY IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
We’ve more than doubled in the last five years, and we’d like to double our size again in the next five. The only way we can do that is to develop new leaders in our organization and continue to improve in all areas. To succeed, we have to be equipped and our structure has to be such that we can do it efficiently.
LEADERSHIP CAN BE STRESSFUL. WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
The thing that concerns me, honestly, is the difficult nature of the business our clients are in. They operate in a hostile environment, both from a legal standpoint and from a regulatory standpoint. Frivolous litigation and regulations coming down the pike that are expensive and difficult to implement are a huge drain on resources. So it’s making sure that we provide our clients with everything we can to make them successful.
“Leadership Lessons from Winston Churchill.” “Death by Meeting,” by Patrick Lencioni, was one of the most practical.
To be honest, the Bible is the greatest leadership book. If you approach it that way, you see that it talks about diligence, servanthood and doing the right things at the right time; that’s leading people.
WHAT KEEPS YOU ON TOP OF YOUR GAME?
Relationships with great people. I love this industry and the people that make it work. Our clients are fantastic, and the team that serves them both here and with our insurance carrier partners continues to make this journey challenging and rewarding.
WERE THE LAST LEADERSHIP BOOKS YOU READ?