Growth happens beyond the comfort zone!
I have left my employer of 38 years because I am curious, ever convinced that what is and what we do with culture, strategy, leadership and innovation can always be done better. I have put on my discoverer hat and stepped out of the comfort zone, again. This website is meant as a journal for my journey of learning, research, exploration and discovery as I follow ideas and theory, looking for conversations and critical dissent to combine them for new solutions by connecting the dots especially, but not exclusively, for the insurance industry.
Continuously leaving my comfort zone has always been an integral part of my life story. As a transgender woman, it took many cycles of extending my comfort zone to finally make the big step and transition. At the same time, in an effort to suppress my identity, I pursued a professional career that gave constant opportunities to learn and develop. Once you get infected by the growth- and learn-bug you cannot shake it off anymore. Grateful for all the growth- and learning opportunities my previous employer gave me, it was time to leave that comfort behind as well and follow my heart. "Every day is an opportunity to do whatever you want" ("The Why Are You Here Café", John P. Strelecky). I am interested in change, technology and innovation, I went to Silicon Valley and became fascinated with their can-do attitude and fearlessness, when it came to failure. I returned to Palo Alto a year later to get training as a Foresight Practitioner at the Institute for the Future and started reading more about culture, strategy, disruption, behavioral economics, diversity and the future of leadership.
«Learn to love the questions themselves, because therein are the seeds of all curiosity and wonder.»
Many of today’s large insurance companies came into being usually after larger events, like great fires (e.g. see below), that exceeded the possibilities of the smaller, already existing risk-communities. The local risk communities were replaced by larger national and international risk carriers. Incumbents and InsurTechs mainly play on the existing playing field.
How would we have strengthened the risk-communities’ resilience then, if we had had today’s technologies and possibilities?
Is insurance, with its credo One for All, All for One not predestined for a new, decentralised, digital solution?
Read more in the chapter 1-4-ALL-4-1...
To start with, here are some topics and previous learnings that trigger my creative juices:
In 2012, I organized a Guest Lecture in Basel for my MBA Alma Mater, the Rochester-Bern Executive Programs. In the lecture, Prof. Filip Caeldries drew a direct line from Purpose to Performance and that it's all about leadership. Purpose was defined as "a definitive statement about the difference that you're trying to make." In my introduction of the topic, I told the story of the big fire of Glarus in 1861 that incited the creating of several insurance companies and Swiss Re in Switzerland, just as the big fire of London in 1666 incited fire insurance companies in the UK. They all share the purpose to organize larger risk communities in order to cover such catastrophes. After the lecture, I asked my then CEO about our Purpose and his reaction was: "I cannot talk about the big fire of Glarus with my management team."
I borrowed this headline from one of Dan Ariely’s many books I read on Behavioral Economics.
The bad news? Our thinking machine isn’t as reliable as we’d like to think. When classic economics paints us as resourceful, evaluating and maximising individuals, the truth is closer to “If anything can distract us from making a good economic decision, it will!” Anchors, Availability and Endowment Biases, Loss Aversion and other influencers lead us to bad decisions, without us even realising it.
The good news? Becoming aware of the distractions also allows us to design the customer journey and create nudges. Nudges that preserve our freedom to choose while pointing us in a direction for better decisions.
Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being invited to dance. Belonging is dancing like no one is watching.
Diversity & Inclusion has become a topic organizations are embracing.
Some, because they see the true value of combining the experience and ways to look at things of a diverse workforce that is encouraged to bring all their facets, their best, authentic self to the workplace.
Others, because analysts and institutional investors have started to ask uncomfortable questions about their all male top management or their inability to give some key information on the diversity of their workforce.
To me, Diversity & Inclusion is something very personal because I have experienced firsthand how much joy and energy was unleashed when I was able to bring my whole, authentic self to work.
If these are topics that move you as well, then don't hesitate to contact me to find out, how we can learn and make progress together.
Photo Credit Title Picture: shutterstock.com
Cartoon: Steve Kelley Editorial Cartoon used with permission of Steve Kelley and Creators Syndicate. All rights reserved.