“A lot of people want to talk about change. Plenty make a living as self-styled ‘agents of change,’ but it’s damn hard to make change happen. Mindset and culture in business is often quite fixed. Better businesses tend to be less faint hearted; for example, doing what’s necessary to re-configure the working environment is necessary but management teams find it difficult to tackle; it’s easier to leave things as they are."
“It takes bravery for executive teams to see through transformation, and, if they fail to jump the first hurdle, to carry on and not drop it."
“At Brightside I’ve learned how valuable it is to enable knowledge to permeate through the business and what a powerful catalyst for change it is. Two years ago, only a few people could see our trading performance day by day. Now we have a dashboard of sales, call rates and a host of real time data. All senior management and team leaders have access to the same data; if you subscribe to the axiom, knowledge is power, then an awful lot more of our people have been empowered."
“Once we all share the data, then the conversations turn to ideas and problem solving, as there is nothing to hide, and thus nothing to be scared of; it creates a different management style."
“We’ve found that in moving to home working, the managers who are thriving are data driven managers; those who tend who act from gut instinct are finding it much harder. The best, balance data and analytics with empathy. Its rare to find leaders great at both."
“We have also discovered that we know more about our people and what is going on than we ever did in the office. Previously, we tended to seek input from a few people we spoke to regularly and assumed that was the consensus. Now I talk to everyone, but in the virtual world. Conversations are regular, with more people, through cameras; we’ve never had this before yet it’s made an extraordinary difference."
“It’s driven a coach and horses through the office being the fulcrum of our business. We’ve moved from: “I can feel it because I’m in the office” to: “Now I need to look at the data, understand it, and I need to be close to everyone”. So the skill that will be really important for leaders is to manage through data – those who use gut and experience only will find it really hard.”
Next week, Richard answers the question: what more can insurers do to empower the workforce at all levels? We would welcome your thoughts on Richard’s blogs, please feel free to leave your comments on LinkedIn.