With the 2012 America’s Claims Event (ACE) less than one week away, it is time to prepare for the premier industry networking event! This is a great chance to visit old business associates and meet new ones, while giving consideration to new and innovative ways to take your claims organization from ordinary to extraordinary.
It’s no secret that one of the best ways to gain a competitive edge is to simply understand what your competitors are doing. Success can come in many forms, but at the end of the day it boils down to three key competencies; people, processes and technology.
While all three of critical importance, it is people who will ultimately define the success of an organization. Having the right people enables fundamental execution of basic blocking and tackling. They will ensure that processes are optimized while technology is appropriately used.
But why is it that people are so important to organizational success? To begin, they become the culture of the organization. It is the culture that ultimately defines outcomes. To put this in perspective, think about a trip to a Disney theme park and the reception that awaits. Friendly staffers abound, looking to do nothing more than make the experience unforgettable. Now compare this to another unforgettable experience, such as renewing your license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Institutional cultures can make or break an organization.
Next consider the dynamic between good and great. Good teams win when they outplay their opponents. Great teams win when they outplay and outthink their opponents. Dynasties are formed when outplaying and outthinking results in people, processes and technology that transforms opponents.
When thinking of business dynasties a few names come to mind; Apple Computer, Walt Disney, Wal-Mart, Samsung, Facebook and Google. These are companies that have leveraged innovation while combining the right people with the right processes. They also consistently appear in Business Week’s annual review of the world’s most innovative companies.
Interestingly, in reviewing this list for the past several years there was one industry that was conspicuously absent; insurance. Why is it that an industry that wields such power and economic control is so lacking in innovation? Can you imagine if one player transformed the insurance industry in the way that, say, Southwest Airlines transformed the airline industry?
By looking across the aviation landscape Herb Kelleher recognized that there was room for not only a new player, but one that could deliver with a new type of flying experience at an affordable price. One type of airplane quickly transferrable from crew to crew, avoidance of the costly hub and spoke design and most of all friendly people came to define Southwest.
Certainly there is room in under the innovation tent for those in the insurance industry. The challenge is to foster such an environment so as to take your organization from ordinary to extraordinary.
At the foundation of the successful organization will be people; the right ones in the right positions. This is easier said than done, but certainly not an insurmountable task. Sometimes it takes a change in paradigm where traditional hiring practices are retooled to proactively identify and tap potential talent pools.
This change in paradigm was best put into words by former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, saying, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” In most simplistic terms, people are creatures of habit. Those who create dynasties, such as Wooden, are not. Rather, they thrive on change.
Facilitating change not only helps your organization, but can improve entire industries. Think of what Amazon has done to the way we shop or what Southwest has done to the way we fly. Consider the impact of Honda on the auto industry, Verizon to the telecommunications industry or Pixar to the entertainment industry. These companies have transformed their respective industries for the betterment of all.
If you are attending the upcoming ACE Conference, give consideration to stopping by the Insatiable Curiosity on Thursday, June 28th, at 2 p.m. In this informative session, Christopher Tidball will share anecdotal stories and proven methods for going from ordinary to extraordinary. This session will be followed by a book signing of Re-Adjusted at the Claims Magazine booth (#223).
At 4:30 p.m., Chris will join Disney’s Robert Wiese, Amica’s Jeff Gagnon and State Farm’s Lori Smith for a forum discussion “Competencies and the Workforce” with a focus on hiring, developing and retaining the talent to give your organization a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant and the author of multiple books including Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary! His claims career has spanned twenty years with multiple Top 10 P&C organizations in adjusting, management, quality and leadership roles. He is a Senior Director with Mitchell International, a leader in the insurance solutions industry. To learn more, please visit www.christidball.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Tidball is a claims and revenue management consultant and author of the "20 Essential Rules" series of self and organizational improvement books. You can ask him a question at email@example.com