Have you ever tried creating an acronym to remember a concept or teach it to others? Congress is famous for coming up with acronyms for the bills it passes — for example, the USA PATRIOT Act, enacted after 9/11, stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.
I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership this past year, as I’ve met with many of the top leaders in our industry. I’ve come up with my own acronym for what we do at NetVU: LEAN
. It stands for Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Networking,
the things that I feel we are known for and do best.
The word “lean” is one that has special meaning in management circles. We often hear of lean production or lean leadership. Lean leaders are known for paying attention to the production process, noticing performance, asking the question “why,” focusing on customer value, and creating an atmosphere of continuous improvement through learning and self-development.
More recently, lean has taken on a new connotation, as in “lean in,” a phrase popularized by Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book by the same title. In this context, lean means to be more assertive, to move toward a leading rather than a following role.
When I think about NetVU, I would say that we are definitely a “lean” organization. We are taking the lead on a number of fronts that go beyond the basics of using Vertafore products. We’re working on the broader goals of improving work flows and productivity; aligning system platforms; breaking down silos between carriers, agencies and vendors; developing a culture of innovation; working to achieve widespread adoption of technology tools such as real time, download and e-signature; enhancing the insurance customer experience; and anticipating the needs of millennials.
In the coming months, I and other NetVU leaders will discuss how we are moving forward in these areas — and how you can help us become a leaner industry. We’re calling our blog series “The Leader’s Circle” because leadership should be inclusive, connective and continuously improving. We hope that it will prompt discussion and get you thinking about your role as a leader.
In the meantime, I challenge you to come up with your own acronym that captures the essence of what your firm does. Make it a reminder of your core values and why you come to work each day.
As for me, I’ve come to realize that our members not only benefit from NetVU’s education, advocacy and networking, but they also are looking for leadership to show them how to be more productive, profitable and customer-focused. I know I need to practice lean leadership and never stop learning and improving. That’s my reason for coming to work each day.
Learn more about Kitty and connect with her on NCOM.