Darrell Polk, Principal
Darrell Polk is a process improvement specialist, corporate culture advocate, strategist, and business coach. He helps leaders to put their vision, strategy, operational, and tactical plans in place to achieve high performance through sustainable cultures. He has worked with organizations including Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, small businesses, and non-profit foundations. Darrell helps leaders understand and solve the root problems their businesses face and build cultures that will drive high performance and sustained success.
His work across a variety of industries and cultures drives his creativity and approach to solving problems. Darrell has a wide range of functional experiences. As a corporate planning specialist, he developed and implemented financial and strategic models. He’s been a project manager on large process improvement initiatives with multi-million dollar budgets.
Prior to starting his own coaching and consulting business, Darrell was an operations executive in the insurance industry with Kemper Insurance and Zurich Insurance. At Kemper, he drove several companywide projects, including business process reengineering of both the Specialty Lines organization and Small Business Group. Each project saved well over $2MM, incorporated new technologies, and increased productivity by more than 30%. At Zurich, he again managed reengineering field operations – this time for commercial lines – saving over $2MM and enabling the reduction of staff upon field consolidation.
Darrell next served as the Chief Operating Officer of a leading sales agency within Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – the nation’s premier life insurance company. While there, he engaged the senior leadership team in development of a strategy and results-focused culture. He built an outcomes-based accountability structure across 140+ member sales team resulting in higher retention of veteran agents and reduced acquisition costs for new agents. He focused the organization on achieving annual sales expectations and group performance incentives to achieve organizational goals.
He’s been an operational leader and sales & service leader for BPO operations of more than 350 staff. While at Aon Hewitt and GoHealth, Darrell built winning cultures through hands-on involvement and modeling professional, ethical behavior. This helped both organizations achieve tremendous growth and implement changes while onboarding hundreds of new staff members. He created and delivered sales leadership workshops focused on performance management and a high performance cultures. Darrell built an innovative performance accountability model that stressed achievement of all KPIs rather than focusing only on sales. He achieved major performance goals including revenue (delivering profitability in the second year of the startup), quality (95% quality and script adherence, 97% compliance), hiring targets, retention of 95% of desired staff, and service (100% of calls made within service window for nearly a full year).
Darrell continues to make time for consulting support for non-profits, especially those focused on cancer survivors, cancer research, and at-risk young people. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife and five children. Darrell and Carla have attended well over 2,000 sporting events while raising their five kids – that doesn’t include dance and piano recitals, dance competitions, musicals, and band concerts.