Interesting Dynamics in the Life Insurance Strategic Planning Cycle

I love this time of year – very exciting.  Q2 results are in and have been analysed, and life insurance companies have initiated their strategic planning cycle.

Lots of questions about strategic and operational directions are assessed…potential new business models are (hopefully) considered and there is the inevitable debate around how to become more innovative, more efficient, etc.  And there is always the time-honoured, microscopic review of my first love – marketing and sales.  “Mr./Mrs. Sales Vice President – you gotta get top line revenue up (either organically and/or via acquisition) in order to help get unit costs down.  Are we going to be doing more of the same marketing, with the same distributors, and with the same products” or will there be new markets, new distribution and new products”? 

Having been involved in the planning process for most of my 30 years in the life insurance business, what I find particularly fascinating is the human dynamics side of the cycle.  As you work through this year’s planning cycle, closely observe and listen to participants and ask yourself: 

Who are the real leaders willing to take a position (and ownership) for what needs to happen and are willing to put their jobs on the line (that means taking serious risk) to make it happen? 

My suspicion is that there is a shortage of real leaders, but there is an abundance of armchair quarterbacks who tend to favour the status quo and incremental change (often because they are not resilient and cannot handle major change themselves). 

Are you a leader? 

Leave me a comment. I welcome your observations.     

Posted in LEADERSHIP Tagged with: , ,
2 comments on “Interesting Dynamics in the Life Insurance Strategic Planning Cycle
  1. Dawn Comber says:

    What are you identifying as the key leadership quality (or qualities)? Doing the right thing, embracing change or taking calculated risks when necessary. All three, I think.

  2. mikenurse says:

    Leadership can be measured on a number of different dimensions. You have listed several, and there are more. For me, a key characteristic of a leader is being to able to formulate, articulate and defend a position in the face of ‘armchair quarterbacks’ circling their wagons. Pressing forward in the face of adversity and criticism is not easy – a real test of a leader’s resolve.

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