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“It is springtime and I am blind”…

The following is an abridged version of a presentation from Jon to the management team on the importance of leadership and training at Proclaim.

There is a well know story in advertising about how a little emotional intelligence can go a long way. A blind man was begging with a sign with 3 words – “I am blind’. A New York advertising executive bet his friend he could add 4 words and the money would flow. He was correct. The four words he added? “it is springtime and I am blind”. Simple, but all of a sudden a very different dynamic and it demonstrates how creating a little empathy and emotion can go a long way.

I know we already ask a lot of our management team and you already have so much on your plate – workload, management, client issues – but the reality is, that is the management mindset. The reason it is so important to learn to lead is that we will build teams that do great work…and some of those issues currently on your plate will rest with other members of your team, who will rise and grow as a result.

In the noble pursuit of management, and leadership, you have the ability to change the lives of the people you work with. You have the ability to influence people – to generate confidence, self-belief and resilience in members of your team. It should be a source of great satisfaction if you can bring the best out of people. How much better do you feel if you know – at the end of the day – your team go home happy and engaged – which rubs off on their family and friends – rather than de-motivated and down.

Many of you are already good managers, and we need strong management in a growing organisation. We need managers within a structure to plan and budget and juggle resources to give our customers the best possible service. Organisation is important! But we also need good leaders – and leadership is about inspiring people and performance – aligning performance with our values and vision; setting the direction and moving people in the right direction; empowering people to do their best; and coping and relishing the challenges that we meet along the way that often make us change direction.
The reality is this – we set ourselves lofty goals. Achieving them is, I believe, a function of the leadership team leading by maximising organisational health.

To motivate and move people to give their best requires more than just strong technical skills or good management skills….it requires what is commonly called emotional intelligence. This requires a range of skills, most rooted in empathy (understanding the other’s perspective) and self awareness (understanding yourself)….when combined, provides an authenticity that can move people…..and add springtime to their day. This you do in coaching, feedback, and modelling the way.

Being a leader is challenging and empathy and self awareness is a great start but you also need discipline. You have to combine that motivation with what is realistically possible – and honesty and authenticity are true indicators of strong leadership. Making promises you can’t keep is not authentic!

So we as a team are trying to achieve freedom and responsibility within a disciplined system; that we know where we are heading and what our purpose and values are; that we understand the resources we have and the results we expect; and we work with clients who understand and appreciate our business model and the value it brings.

Leadership is about the future of our business; you can all make a difference to that. I believe in our values, our purpose, our systems and our experience – that we have a great foundation to build a lasting legacy with this business. To do that we need your passion and commitment. And we need to build and promote trust within the business. We all need to have a passion to go beyond and do great things – but we also all need a passion to learn. You can learn how to become a better leader – and that is one of the main reasons why we are making this investment. Twenty years ago I was at Chubb and I thought like many young people that learning via text or management books was a bit of a giggle – i look back now and think how little I knew. Learning and growing to me is a critical value at Proclaim.

We are we making this investment of education primarily for two critical stakeholders in our business – our clients and our team. To give the best to our customers – and to go beyond as our stated purpose – we feel we need to equip our managers and leaders with better skills to build the skills, confidence and productivity of the people you work with. This in turn will build rapport and credibility with your team members and help you to have more authentic conversations with members of your team; which we hope will inspire them to develop. We can’t do this alone – we need everyone on the bus driving in the same direction. The leadership team should shape the direction for our future and challenge our existing goals and vision.

I hope you now have a flavour for why Leadership is so important for Proclaim – now and in the future. We have called the program Grow Beyond…..as we feel it links with Our Values and vision. How so?

  • We want you to inspire a shared vision of our future and align action with values
  • We want to build credibility in the leadership team and trust in your team members
  • We want to build confidence and competence – so your team members can challenge existing processes in the business and also continue to innovate for clients solutions
  • We want to ensure workloads and support are fair – enabling others – giving them every opportunity to excel and deliver on our promise of excellence
  • But probably more than that – we want to encourage open and honest conversations – no avoidance – which requires a leap of trust in all of you. Can you have those conversations while working within the values, purpose and processes of Proclaim? It’s a challenge, and one we hope you are equipped to have during the course of this training.

We know people will make mistakes but it is about learning and growth – and that is why we are calling this Grow Beyond. We want you to be challenged and grow beyond your current technical and management mindset.

Most of all we want you to understand that each of you can make a huge difference in the role you have within the business; that you are responsible for giving customers an unparalleled claim management experience, and that members of your team can develop and flourish under your leadership.

As a relatively mature business we face increasing challenges; from competition, an uneven playing field, industry issues, mergers and other factors. These are the challenges which we must understand and take on; because challenges form the base of leadership – we lead, with resilience, to overcome challenges – knowing that we have a quiet confidence that in the future we will prosper because of the value we provide to our stakeholders.

That is what we are asking you to do in this grow beyond program – to take your head from the day to day so you can learn and look more to the future; and as i have already said to you, this is critical; you need to bring an open mind, an open heart and a willingness to learn if we truly want to grow beyond where we sit now. The results will be spectacular, I promise you; we will be an even better place to work and our results will improve and allow opportunities for your team members to rise and flourish.

Jon Broom
Managing Director

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