Values, VALUES & Valuing


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I recently re-read Simon Sinek’s best-selling business book, Start With Why, which put me in a reflective mood.  According to Sinek, “A WHY is just a belief.  That’s all it is.  HOW’s are the actions you take to realize that belief.  And WHAT’s are the results of those actions – everything you say and do:  your products, services, marketing, PR , culture and whom you hire.”

We talk a lot about values at Andesa.  Here is an example of one type of value discussed in a recent correspondence between two Andesa team members:

ORIGINATOR: The values being displayed for Death Benefit, Cash Value and Loan on the case summary screen no longer reflect the values expected.  I have attached a spreadsheet with expected values for the policy, division and case as well as screen shots from those different dates.  Something has changed over the past two weeks to make these values no longer correct.

RESPONSE:  This looks like a classic failure to initialize a variable.  It appears to share a common root cause previously reported in ticket UX3-7022.

It is only natural we talk about values – it is WHAT we do.  We calculate, store and retrieve life insurance policy values.  We provide data and models to properly illustrate future values of those life insurance policies.  We provide the tools and data which assist our clients, their sales people and the insureds in the management of these life insurance policies within the context of the reasons or plans for which they were acquired.

In a highly complex insurance marketplace that demands flexibility and relies on policy accuracy, Andesa has enjoyed a successful 35-year track record because it emphasizes correct values.

However, Andesa’s team also focuses on the other kind of values– those we expect our employee-owners to personify in all they do:  Honesty, Respect, Integrity, Initiative, Courage and Responsibility.  It can be equally stated that Andesa has enjoyed a successful 35-year track record because it emphasizes these values as well.

The Andesa Forever vision statement embodies those values and expectations – our HOW.  Among other things, it challenges each of us who contribute to the Andesa eco-system to create an ethical environment which encourages each person to develop and apply their business skills to the fullest, in order for them, as well as our clients, to achieve their full potential.  This vision comes alive as we strive to build our team, our relationships and our business with a Forever horizon.  It enables our team to collaborate and cooperate across departments in order to teach and mentor each other for the benefit of the individual and our clients.  We understand that values are our moral compass and, ultimately, they keep Andesa on course.

Our Founder and Chairman, John Walker, is all heart and soul.  His moral compass is the underlying WHY behind the success of Andesa.  John believes in the intrinsic worth of each individual and the power of the human spirit.  My own personal growth and transformation from a number-crunching, results-oriented executive to a values-based, culture-first leader has come through countless conversations with John where I was both challenged and encouraged.

In moments of personal reflection, I am sometimes saddened by how late in my career I came to understand that the value of an individual is so much more than just what they can contribute to the business.  Their value to the business pales in comparison to their value as a person who deserves my patience, love and encouragement as they strive to reach their full potential.  After all, that is what John did for me.  Recognition that the creation of an environment where people are free to reach their full potential leads to business success would have made my earlier career much more rewarding, meaningful and impactful.

Those who align closely with Andesa and our culture do so because they too believe in the worth of the individual and the power of the human spirit.  Not all we do is perfect, not every interaction nor every relationship is a panacea, but it is the driving force behind our efforts as we aspire to prove our founder’s vision that there is a right way to conduct business.

If you are interested in learning more about our Founder, the founding of Andesa Services and our core culture, please e-mail me at and request a free copy of John Walker’s book Value from Values – The Making of Andesa Services.

Ron Scheese: LinkedIn


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