Culture is the Key to Success
Making a success of a business is simple. Yes, it is hard work, challenging, unpredictable and at times it can cause serious sleep deprivation, but it is also simple.
If you have a purpose, which is shared by your workforce, you have success. You will never have to worry about your numbers if everyone is truly behind that purpose. Below, Bill Madison, CEO, Insurance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, explains for CEO Today.
Building a culture of shared purpose
Leadership is not about ordering everyone around, or intimidating people into working hard. It is about service, sacrifice, humility, taking care of people and helping them to realise their full potential. In that culture, people thrive. Workforces thrive. And a thriving workforce makes for a thriving business.
I strongly believe that transparency and openness with employees is vital. We don’t have a hidden agenda, a mission statement or even a vision. We simply have a purpose, which acts as our guiding light. I focus my time on creating and nurturing that purpose, our common cause, across our business.
Our purpose at LexisNexis Risk Solutions is this: we are innovators, passionate about challenging the status quo and improving outcomes. By harnessing our deep insurance knowledge, breakthrough technologies, rich data and powerful analytics through a single interface to our marketplace platform and access to all solutions, we deliver actionable insights that enable our customers to make more accurate decisions and strengthen their customer relationships.
We’re not afraid to bring to the market solutions that require our customers to think differently. It makes our job more challenging – few of us like change after all. But those that do think differently put themselves in a much better position within the markets that they’re serving. We’re constantly looking for improvement – for our business, our employees and for our customers and our customers’ customers.
A purposeful mindset
Personally, I always try to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday. I am the first to admit that I’m not always successful, but at least I strive for it. I realise that I’ve got to live and breathe what I’m preaching. If I’m looking for our associates to improve, I’ve got to look at improving myself first.
I haven’t always appreciated this responsibility. About five years ago, Someone made a passing comment that for the first time truly made me realize that people notice everything. From the time I walk into the building, everyone is watching and listening. There’s enormous relevancy in hallway conversations. They make a difference. As the leader of a business, you have a huge responsibility regarding not only how you act, but what’s coming out of your mouth and how you engage with others. People hang on to every conversation. It all matters. You cannot disregard anything as insignificant.
Being part of a start-up providing information services for insurance early on in my career, having to do it all and being knee deep in all aspects of the business, this really helped me appreciate what makes this business work: it’s the customers. It’s identifying a market need and creating a solution that addresses that need. That’s a core belief for me personally as well as for our business and how we execute our solutions. It’s also core to how we’re helping our customers drive their business agendas and achieve their objectives.
Nurturing the right business culture is the key to building a business prepared to win in the future. Purpose-driven, people-focused leadership drives performance and profitability.
Keeping purpose on the agenda
Every so often I begin to feel that everyone around me must be getting bored of me preaching to them about our shared purpose. But then someone will seek me out to tell me that now they really get it: they got their lightning bolt realisation moment just like I did. And of course, I also have to keep in mind that we’re constantly hiring a lot of new people, so even if I’ve said the same thing a million times, some people are hearing it for the first time.
Keeping everyone involved in and committed to the purpose of the business is only possible through communication and sharing the goings-on, the successes, the plans, and the planning. As such, I make an effort to communicate as much as possible. I send a weekly report summarising all activities across the business, as well as newsletters, and we run three all-hands meetings each year. This allows us to constantly share intelligence and keep everyone up to date and invested in the business.
Nurturing the right business culture is the key to building a business prepared to win in the future. Purpose-driven, people-focused leadership drives performance and profitability. We must put the customer at the centre of everything we do. We listen. We learn. We grow together. We succeed together.