A few weeks back, Andesa hosted our Eighth Client Forum. Now all settled in, Ron Scheese recaps the presentation he made to the group that joined us in Charleston.
The theme “Sustaining a Culture – Charting a Course to Success” underscored Andesa’s recently concluded Client Forum held in Charleston SC.
I concluded the conference with a presentation entitled Stand On. “Stand On” is a nautical term which refers to the power vessel that must maintain course and speed when meeting another vessel at sea and collision is possible. One vessel must stand on while another gives way.
In a summer 2016 Clemson World Magazine article entitled “It’s How You Win That Matters,”, the writer reflected Coach Swinney’s philosophy about the importance of the creation of an environment which builds a winning culture. It begins with a set of core values – the “Team Commandments” as Coach Swinney calls them. In the presentation, I shared one of my favorite stories from that article:
“Each year at the first meeting of the football team, Swinney takes a football and puts it on the floor. Then he calls one of the guys forward and challenges him to stand on the football. As the player struggles to stay upright, Swinney looks at the assembled players and says, ‘Exactly. If football is your foundation, it’s going to be really rocky; it’s not going to be a very stable situation. It’s important, but let’s keep it in the right place and build our lives on a really good foundation.”
During the time with our clients in Charleston, we engaged in numerous discussions on the topics of culture, character and collaboration. A large part of Andesa’s 35 years of success stems from a culture instilled by a founder’s unique vision and values. But it is also derived from a series of relationships where carrier, broker and solution provider interact in a manner which is supportive and respectful in order to help each party reach their full potential.
In one of the conference’s keynote addresses, Novarica’s Rob McIsaac provided the following observation on strategy: “Is it possible to overhype InsureTech today? Yes. But it would also be a fool’s error to overlook it.”.
You see, at the intersection of culture and strategy, collaboration is the critical element. It is our formula for success which has transcended 35 years and has weathered regulatory changes, technology advancements, social evolution and different business cycles during Andesa’s history.
The Andesa ecosystem gets stronger and stronger as each client contributes to the relationship. This model only works because it is built on trusted relationships. And, it is successful because the emphasis on relationships makes the whole truly something special. Both our staff and clients are strengthened and can grow to reach their full potential.
So what can Andesa’s clients Stand On?
First, our clients can stand on the same promises made 35 years ago. Our clients are part of Andesa’s vision. Our purpose is for Andesa’s employees and clients to reach their full potential. Their contribution to the whole; their collaboration; their challenges; their willingness to co-create and cooperate with Andesa is critical to what we do, how we do it and why we do it.
Second, our clients can stand on Andesa as a privately-held, employee-owned organization. Our ESOP is a critical commitment to that promise. The transfer of ownership, over time, to our employee-owners is a model that works in this day of technology advancement. It works because of the confidence our clients place in us – their continued trust, collaboration, growth and success feeds our ability to live into this model.
Third, our clients can stand on the talent and dedication of Andesa’s staff – each of whom seeks to improve and offer the best they have in service to the company, the clients and the communities in which we operate. This group is more than a team – they are a family who cares for each other. The individuals on the Andesa team will change from time to time as they have for the past 35 years. However, we remain dedicated to the recruitment and employment of the “right” individuals – to invest in their technical and professional development and to make sure that the Andesa values and vision permeate our organization.
When a carrier places a policy on the Andesa platform, we expect to process and support that policy in partnership with them and their successors well past our individual career spans. This expectation demands our very best. Consequently, we think about the long-term, day-in-and-day-out. With constant focus on the preservation of our core (“Sustaining our Culture”); and, at the same time, a solid focus on the long-term (“Charting our Course to Success”), our clients can “stand on” this foundation and partner with us to assure our mutual, long-term success.
Happy to be on board this special journey with our clients as collectively we Stand On.