The relationship between Fierce and GAMA International has been built on a common vision: to support and develop field leaders in the insurance and financial services industry.
In this industry, recruiting, maintaining, and sustaining relationships between employees is one of the biggest challenges—keeping the lines of communication open between the field offices and the corporate office can be difficult. This challenge is where Fierce conversations can play a transformative role. The financial industry is also shifting, and organizations are coming together as a community to tackle the tough challenges that accompany change.
Fierce attended GAMA’s 2017 LAMP, themed “Ignite Change.” During the four-day event that included general session speakers and conversations with field leaders, we learned a great deal about how the financial industry is changing. Here are our five biggest takeaways that financial and insurance organizations should keep in mind, with highlights from event speakers.
1. Culture is key for recruitment and retention.
For businesses offering financial or insurance services, creating an inclusive culture is key to attracting women and millennials. Two millennials leaders shared their personal experiences with culture and how it relates to growing their firms:
Travis Penfield, Founder and Managing Partner of 49 Financial, shared how he built his continually growing firm by creating a strong culture and sense of purpose. He urged others to create this sense of purpose, using the analogy that he had a desire to paint, and it’s his team that helps bring that painting to life.
Misty Weltzien, the Director of Business Development for Pacific Advisors, is charged with recruiting, attracting, and developing experienced advisors looking to take their practices to the next level and career changers who feel financially or intellectually stagnant. She echoed the need for a strong culture, placing emphasis on open dialogue and being real with herself.
The future success of recruitment efforts within financial and insurance services is hinging on the success of building desirable, inclusive cultures. Leaders need to prioritize culture to attract the innovative minds of women and younger generations.
2. Disruption is happening - prepare yourself and your team.
In the finance and insurance business, this absolutely means leaning into progressive technology and considering where the industry is headed. Ask yourself: how can you and your team take the opportunity to really think about the future of your industry and where certain industries may coincide with yours?
At LAMP, Salim Ismail shared his global perspective on the impact of breakthrough technologies and how organizations can leverage these disruptions to grow 10x faster than their peers. For instance, he shared the impending changes with self-driving cars and genetic testing (the audience immediately wanted to buckle their seat belts to prepare for what this will mean for the industry). Salim has spent the last seven years building Singularity University (SU) as its founding executive director and current global ambassador. SU has empowered people from more than 85 countries to apply disruptive technologies—biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience—to more than 100 startups and countless patents and ideas.
Disruption is happening, culturally and technologically. Prepare your team by having the necessary conversations that will prepare your organization for the changes that lie ahead.
3. Women leaders are critical for business.
Women operate differently on a strategic level, which means they offer a unique perspective that can help organizations flourish and adapt to change. For this reason, the recruitment of women is greatly needed in the financial and insurance industry.
Will Marré, Co-Founder & Former President of Covey Leadership Center and Smart Power Institute, focused on developing smart power leaders through Smart Power Institute. Smart Power is based on gender synergy—how men and women can use gender-based strengths to lead and work together to multiply positive results. During his talk, he placed importance on addressing gender bias within organizations.
Women offer unique perspectives that are essential to growth in the financial and insurance industry, and gender bias is a preventative barrier that organizations needs to address.
4. Care about your daily leadership. It’s the small things that count.
Marshall Goldsmith authored and edited 31 books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There. In his presentation, he encouraged the audience to use a spreadsheet that includes a few questions you find important to ask yourself every day to assure you’re living the life you wish to live. They must be yes/no or numerical answers so you can easily calculate the trend. Some of the sample questions are:
• How many times did I try to prove I was right?
• Did I do my best to set clear goals?
• How many minutes did I spend reading?
Little things comprise the whole, which is why it’s important to take the small things into account when reflecting on leadership and making day-to-day, minute-to-minute choices. As a leader in the financial industry, it’s important to think big at times, but don’t forget to think small, too.
5. Conversations are critical during times of change.
The necessity of conversation in both creating and managing change was a repetitive theme at LAMP. Simply put, strong conversational skills are needed for leaders who want to help their teams navigate difficult transitions. The future of the financial and insurance industry depends on the quality—and frequency—of these conversations.
Till next year…
Our time at LAMP 2017 was inspiring to say the least. Another unifying echo from all leaders—from home office to field—who attended was a reminder to focus on the industry’s purpose and the why behind the work: to help people with financial freedom and security.
At the end of the day, it’s all about people. That’s certainly a purpose we can all get behind.