You can be the smartest, most accurate underwriting wizard, or the Bruce Lee of risk management, but if “playing well with others” is your Achilles’ heel, you might never have a chance to be heard.
We work hard on our underwriting, risk management, and program management skills, as they are the backbone of our business. But we also work (hard) on becoming better teammates, communicators, and all-around problem solvers. For example, at one of our recent divisional meetings, we tasked small teams with making a two-minute video—definitely a task they don’t undertake on a daily basis. Or ever, honestly.
The videos needed to communicate a theme relevant to our division, such as cyber liability, through the style of a movie like Star Wars, both drawn randomly. While at first introduction, many of our team members were skeptical, they ultimately had great fun with the project and delivered creative, often funny videos. The exercise allowed the teams the opportunity to develop their effective listening, communication, problem-solving, and creative skills, as well as the ability to create structure out of ambiguity.
“We see the development of soft skills as a crucial element of our team-member integration, as well as a way to promote an empowerment culture where team members problem-solve and communicate effectively, without relying on an authoritarian management structure,” says James Flynn, Chief Operating Officer of Distinguisheds Specialty Division. “Our teams can employ the skills used in the movie-making process every day when faced with actual challenges in our business.”
With our varied products, volume of customer interactions, and geographic diversity, it is crucial that Distinguished has a team with well-developed soft skills to help execute our long-term strategy.