BTOES Insights Official
March 26, 2021

iBPM Live - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: Culture Eats Strategy Every Time. How to go from wishing to wisdom when building a winning culture

Courtesy of Liberty Mutual Global Surety's Cindy Shaw, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'Culture Eats Strategy Every Time. How to go from wishing to wisdom when building a winning culture' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at iBPM Live Virtual Conference.



Session Information:

Culture Eats Strategy Every Time. How to go from wishing to wisdom when building a winning culture

The famous reference by Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” rings true when looking at actual results versus our expected outcomes around strategic implementations. An employee’s ability to adapt to rapid business change has less to do with what’s changing and more to do with cultural context. The larger an organization, the more vulnerable a company culture can become.  When you throw on a sudden shift to working remotely, culture can be even less impervious to leaks. Much like a 12-step process focused on recovery, the first step in culture change is being willing to hold up the mirror and objectively look at how your culture truly reflects your company values and business vision.   

Key Takeaways:

  • A modern working definition of company culture
  • How avoiding a focus on culture can thwart the best-laid strategies and depreciate brand equity
  • Key factors to accurately assess the true health of a company culture
  • The deceptively simple number one secret to building a winning culture
  • How diversity, equity and inclusion must be at the heart of your culture strategy

Session Transcript:

From Seattle, Washington, to our global audience today, seeing the Shah is with us. And, Cindy, come on in. Please turn your camera on.

And the scene D is Shaw is the Director of Global Business Services within the shirt to the vision and Liberty Mutual insurance. She has 29 years of experience in underwriting, sales and marketing and strategic transformations. Cindy has a passion for building a high performing team culture and championing diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are so critical for meaningful transformations. Cindy, what a pleasure to have you with us. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge, your expertise in your journey of transformation and Liberty Mutual insurance.

Thank you Josie.

Hi everyone, I hope you can see my screen every thoroughly.

Let's go ahead and get started.

Peter Drucker. He was born in Austria at 1909.

Here's a prolific author and had an immense career spanning leadership and roles incorporations such as General Motors and IBM to name just a few. He was a master of modern day management, and his ideas have had a lasting impact on today's corporate management approach.

He's achieved accolades, too many to mention, but of note he was awarded the President Mock Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

His famous quote, Culture, eats strategy for breakfast, still rings true today.

So the title of this talk for today is from wishing to wisdom when Building a wish or a Winning Culture.

And even though we've had a lot of guidance from great emissaries, such as mister Drucker.

cindyNo, we can run the risk of throwing out a clever company mission and grandiose vision and simply wishing for the best, wishing employees understood what we meant, and ignoring the warning signs and symptoms when they don't.

With this talk, I want to share some ideas to help build winning workplace cultures that are born from deliberate effort, understanding the wisdom of taking a deeper look at the makeup of culture, which is indeed a very tenuous thing.

I might add that my views are my own. They don't necessarily reflect those with my employer, although my employer has really shaped my positive view on culture, so I'll leave it at that.

After today, perhaps we can uncover the most important ingredient, and dare I say, secret to building a winning culture.

So first, perhaps, intuitively, we know, you know what culture is not. and when we see something that might not look like the best culture, ask yourself whether you recognize even a hint of one or more of these particular cultures from then to now.

So here we begin with the old Boys Club. The men are in charge, women are in more diminutive roles. There's work in excess and there's blurry moral lines.

So while these beneficial, less beneficial cultures have been sort of popularized and dramatized in media and TV shows, we've come to learn that art can often imitate life.

And there's a longer term effect that has happened with showing up as gender inequality, and very uncomfortable workplace's at best.

So here's another one that's a little more complex.

The well-known movie Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the rise and fall of a real-life character named Jordan Belfort who made it big on Wall Street and broke a few too many rules.

Quite simply, the culture is the character of the owner.

And employees are simply along for the ride, they're clinging to those enigmatic coattails of this owner and, you know, catering to his creative whims along with his biases and prejudices.

So, switching gears, corporations got a little more advanced and a little wiser, and realized that in order to differentiate themselves in a crowded market they wanted to innovate.

And so quick to embrace the studies that showed, you know, people are more creative after some light hearted fun, workplace's became littered with foosball, tables, and ping pong tables and beverages in the break room.

While opportunities for women were more favorable here, the innovative culture had challenges itself just meshing with general formal structures that expected a little more results from these creative environments.

You can imagine a kaleidoscope of other cultures that you've all experienced throughout the decades.

So let's take a moment and talk about what is culture?

You know, culture is the definition that I've come up with, is the unseen driving force by which individuals operate that determines how they decide and guide their behaviors and actions.

In essence, it's what people do in the absence of direction.

Culture is shaped by our own intrinsic values as well, and our own internal boundaries, and very influenced by the observable behaviors that are actually accepted and rewarded.

These observable behaviors may or may not meet what the expectations were around the vision, and the mission and the values.

So I'd like to share my cultural journey.

Just as tree rings are the record keepers of the weather patterns that the tree experienced as it grew. So was my own career. I've got three decades of weather records to refer to some moments where marked by near drought.

And in contrast, there were periods of hydrating safety and support.

All shaped by the leaders, and managers and peers that I grew up with, Amid the prevailing cultures and perhaps out of self preservation, I made a conscious choice to create my own subculture of support within my own network.

Btog CTAI knew I could go to anywhere within the company, and have a connection with someone who could help me when I needed it.

I'll give you a couple of stories. You know, early in my career, when I was having children, It was at a time when you know, you're not supposed to be a parent of kids who get sick who need you in the middle of the day. And that results in, you know, contentious arguments with a spouse over who's going to pick up the children, are begging to my parents to go and pick them up for me.

So that just wasn't accepted at the time.

Then in contrast, I remember going to a large group meeting. And we were standing around before the dinner hour in the, in the bar. And someone in the group came up to me and put their arm around my waist. And left it there for a very uncomfortable time.

Well, I quickly removed myself from that situation.

It just really was emblematic of what was OK and what was accepted and what people were willing to test the boundaries.

So, while I'm grateful for every experience that has led me to where I am today, I think I've learned the most about myself in those droughts and the most about the generosity of others in those more hydrating, rainy seasons.

So let's fast forward to the here and now.

Know, we all found ourselves as virtual workers, literally, overnight. And not only that, it's suddenly become ubiquitous across the globe.

I call this the great equalizer because the frontline staff and executives alike are all facing the same challenges.

Well, there are a lot of benefits to working from home.

There's also some new challenges that we haven't faced before.

And some of those are, Challenge is basing, balancing work and life while you're in the same home.

Adjusting to co-working spaces and sharing offices or spare bedrooms with a spouse and you're both on calls and meetings.

Then you're also trying to entertain children and make sure that they're in your enforcing their school schedule.

All of these things have really impacted our ability to, um, to really, excuse me, I lost my thoughts. All of these have really impacted our ability to create a culture, because we're all in isolation, both inside of work and outside of work, with the force, sort of lock downs, and stay at home measures.

So we're really left just craving community, and that political and economic and social unrest is contributing to it as well.

So now that we know what a bad culture looks like and we know what culture really is, what is a wishing culture when culture and business vision are kept separate and siloed, you've got a wishing culture, we're looking at actual results versus expected outcomes around your strategic implementations. That gap is really more likely to do with culture than it is to do with a strategy or the implementation itself.

You know, an employee's ability to adapt to rapid business change has much less to do with the change itself and everything to do with the cultural context of reinforce behaviors than threats and rewards of that circumstance and making the change.

With remote working, you know, we've added another dimension of, no longer, depending on those existing office norms, or interacting with your peers, that help shape and guide what we expect from a behavioral standpoint.

So, the larger the organization, you know, the more vulnerable it becomes, and that behavior left unchecked could even become the next headline, as we've seen in the news, unfortunately, of late.

Also, a more systemic concern as it has arisen.

It's always been there underneath the surface, but it's really a human one.

When there's a culture of silence, it masks a more painful problem of inequity, biases, and even systemic racism.

So, it's time to hold up a mirror. Here's the secret key to a culture that you want to make successful.

It really starts with us as individuals, as we all only perceive the world through our own inner experience.

Everyone has their own individual culture in their own mind and how that culture operates is within the context of their business environment.

So it really takes a call to us, as leaders, to perform an in-depth ener analysis of our own core values, our own core beliefs, and our own biases, and evaluating those without judgement.

And our own part that we played in what's reflected in our culture, Whether we took action or didn't took action in the right place.

We have to be willing to go to what I call the big strong diep.

In June of 2020, I attended a panel discussion called The Intimacy of Race, hosted by EBA meddling, and it was a panel of six amazing talented women of color and they talked about the uncomfortable bits of racism.

And each of them to a person recommended that anti racism is, first, an inside job.

So by getting right with ourselves, we're strengthening ourselves so that we can then go out and help others.

So, that's the only way to influence culture as leaders, is to first challenge ourselves and change ourselves, and then be ready to change your own culture externally, find out what's beneath the surface.

And by doing that inner work, you'll be able to see this external evolution, you know, what will hold fast to our hearts. And our minds will be what we will see in, in the environment.

So, through the use of measures like Net Promoter Score and Employee Net Promoter Score, you can also assess the quantitative and qualitative engagement metrics.

So, we're getting a little more into the numbers and statistics here.

And that'll give you some ways to know and assess how your culture is really doing, that first seek to understand the current culture by talking with employees and your customers.

And also, you can benchmark this against what competitors are doing, and don't be, don't forget to ask employees who have left the company.

You'd be surprised what you can find on things like Glassdoor as well as Indeed, where there's employee comments about what their culture was like. And little small, things, you'd be surprised, could have impacted their career environment, and perhaps kept them from leaving.

So now that you've adjusted your crown of self mastery, you can go out and seek to create the culture values you want to see in your workplace community.

No, look at that.

The generous giving that you can create as part of the culture as well. Liberty Mutual has a very robust giving campaign, and we give millions of dollars back to the community, mostly funded through employee donations.

So a generous culture is a given culture.

Another thing you can look at is the degree of care. So, are you creating an environment that creates a holistic view of what you can do to enhance employee well-being?

Consider work-life balance building literacy and what I mean by literacy is building finite, helping them as individuals to create financial health in their own lives. Unique health benefits that they may not be familiar with and also increasing their business acumen. So, don't assume that that every employee has these pieces down.

3-Jun-30-2020-08-31-08-88-AMAnd caring for our wellness creates trust because that's how there is, you know, We're a collection of souls seeking meaningful work, connected relationships, and the values that we can be proud of.

So, when you're making a transformation, all the pieces are in place. This is what it might look like, going from, because we said, so, too, because it aligns with a meaningful vision.

Going from there lucky to have a job to, we're grateful to have these talented resources, and going from a culture of tolerance to celebrating differences.

Culture is changing itself.

We started with mono culture ISM, where everyone has to align to a single view and a singular act of behaviors.

Pluralism is the acceptance, appreciation, and utilization of similarities and differences.

So, now it's time to go out and create that culture.

Create your own imperative for change and model it.

Lobby your leadership to start to marry culture with strategy.

Along the lines, you can also create a growth mindset.

So seek those creative solutions, as well as importing the innovation into your solutions. And again, have everyone be part of that solution.

So you can find statistics that will tell you that a good culture is really good for business.

But I'll tell you a healthy culture is one that's good for everyone, and it's good for our own well-being.

So go out there and create the culture of your dreams.

Thank you.

Cindy, thank you. I'm gonna your camera gut toggled off.

So I'm going to ask you to toggle camera back on and that is stop showing your screen so that you and I can be on camera.

So we have plenty of time here for questions so I Encourage our audience to ask Questions as you have been already doing but keep doing that because I will have time to to look over your questions change my background again to emphasize for home to culture based on this topic.

So that's good.

So, um, So some of the questions that have surface as you as you presented is a little bit more about the journey at at the company What what? What has that culture journey look like, in terms of timeline, started a few years ago, decades ago? What does it look like? What are you trying to transform into?

Yeah, I would start with, you know, back in time, we work a company called Safeco Insurance and we got acquired in 2008, from Liberty Mutual. The culture there was quite famously known for white shirts.

Women could not wear colored nylons back in the day when we weren't nylons and they couldn't even wear pants. We all had to wear suits.

And men could have no facial hair, no earrings, and short haircuts.

So that's really where I began my career and really forced to conform. That was at the time where I, you know, started having children as well.

So, the good news was when I came back from maternity leave with my first son, that we change the rules and it made news headlines, when could wear striped shirts, and they could have earrings. and women could wear pantsuits. So, we had some progress there at that point in time.

Then with each successive change in our leadership, we would get new precedents and there were times where those precedents would become the culture. And they would change things quite a bit based on either, You know, their collection of experiences. Or also, you know, what they came from with their other culture, with their other company. And things they wanted to change.

So we would it was as if I worked for all these different companies. But we simply had different leaders.

And I will say that, you know, Liberty Mutual Journey has been very interesting, one as well. When we first got acquired, the culture was extremely different. It was a collection of individual entities that weren't necessarily expected to mesh together. And, in fact, sometimes they even competed against one another.

So that was somewhat encouraged. It was also just a default of really rapid growth through acquisition.

And with that, you know, they changed some things up. They saw what employees were needing. They saw the changes, external, and the environment, things like Google were starting up in those more IT environments that were relaxed and you could wear jeans.

And then the business side of the house was like, well, wait a minute, you know, how can we have, some of that, I wouldn't mind, you know, a little more relaxed, you know, environment. But also, of course, you know, staying, sticking to the rules, and sticking to the normal compliance Standards.

So, they've gone above and beyond, you know, to migrate to a more employee focused culture.

And I have to add that in the middle of the pandemic, I've never seen a company respond more holistically to putting people first. That's one of our core values, And it was demonstrated in every turn of the resources they provided, all the support they provided.

Screenshot (4)And they continue to do so today, with a lot of emphasis, of course, on employee safety and us, you know, really tight considerations about when we might return to the office. And what does that mean?

So, so, it's very interesting, one piece I really want to add is employee resource groups. Those are very key to creating that welcoming environment.

And ours consist of people with an Asian background or Asian descent. African descent is another one people that identify with the Latin American community, as well as Veterans, and there's one called ...

For Women, and all of that includes allies.

So if you have an opportunity to create some groups, or even informal groups, that allow people to be around people that look like themselves and commune about their issues that they face in the workplace, I would say just go ahead and get that started.

And then in every instance, for all of those groups, allies are more than welcome to show support.

We have a pretty robust menaced allies group that is a committee to start engaging men more and to, OK, how can they be part of the solution moving forward? How can they be part of making women, you know, more equal and giving them the same opportunities?

And we also have a very strict focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

And that's a new, leader objective, although we've, we've been, I think, leading quite a bit with diversity and inclusion.

And this equity component came in to really take action and change some of the systemic racism that, you know, It's just in the workplace today.

How can we give people of color more access to the same jobs and have the same potential?

That's outstanding. Is seen to thank you for that one. That is for a little bit more context. Cindy, because of the, we have a global audience here. Some of them are more familiar with the organization than others. If you can just give a broad brush kind of view of the company, how many employees, I mean, where, in the United States, or around the world. And kind of like the businesses kind of an overall business description, just for context. Because I see some people are not quite familiar with the size and the scope of the organization.

Yeah, Liberty Mutual is, I think we're in the, you know, Fortune 100. I don't remember a ranking of late.

Probably in the seventies were a global entity. At last I saw, we're somewhere between 40 to 50,000 employees and we're probably in most countries around the world. I'm within the Surety division and we have a physical presence in 18 countries and we have the ability to place, you know, bonds internationally with 60 countries through sort of affronting network.

So we offer the full array of financial services. There's personal insurance, commercial insurance, specialty lines. and, of course surety.

So we offer pretty much the full spectrum. And if you look at your average kind of multinational account, there's probably no insurance product that they wouldn't need that we couldn't provide.

So that's the beauty of having such a large company, and it is a mutual company. So I think that allows the culture to be a little more independent and to be a little more shaped by what the leaders really feel is valuable.

This is, this is an incredibly incredible perspective, and for me, I didn't realize how much larger the company is then I thought of, just a few years ago, as you as is you clearly have undergone growth over time, and in this expansion, which is fascinating.

What about talk a little bit about in a large organization like that with mulch or multiculturalism, clearly as part of it?

How how is culture? There are lots of questions around that.

I can that have come up around this, but I'm going to try to summarize by asking how, how do you manage this cultural design? Is it done?

You know, at a centralized level, for the entire organization, there's so much of culture that's local. How do you manage those forces of central need for direction, guidance, if you will, versus this local customizations and cultural aspects?

Yeah, that's something we wrestle with.

All the time, we know Liberty has decided, and I believe it's the right direction that leadership has to start at the top with, in terms of creating culture and creating the values and how we operate. So that attitude of the leadership is absolutely the first place to start, but then you write it cascades down and then it's it either, dilutes a little bit, or it gets changed, and morphed based on the individual business units. And then as we get down even further to the company, or excuse me, the country or the actual office. And so when we have that, it is a fine balance.

And we also wrestle with people perceiving the culture perhaps as maybe a little too US centric.

When in reality, we've done a lot of stretching to say, does this resonate well with other cultures? And sometimes it hits the mark, and not always is at 100%.

cindyBut we do try to really look at leveraging our local talent, And so, by that, you know, they're the best people to know, you know, what's required in their country, and they're the best people to know what their market practices will be. So, it's really, you know, guiding and providing the right guidance at more of the centralized level and allowing that local decision making, you know, informed and shaped by the right. No oversight, but also allowing that local decision making. And even in some countries, it's a more strict legal requirement that we can just be perhaps a technical advisor We can actually, you know, disseminate decisions down to that local country from the US.

So, it is a fine balance, but we have created, and I almost put this picture in my presentation.

Perhaps, I will, before I send it to you.

There's a picture that we have, where we got all of our European, you know, we call to make our region grouped together shortly after our recent acquisition. And there's this beautiful picture of all of us outside in standing, and this really large group in Madrid.

And, to me, that event was creating this experience, where people could get to know each other and learn about the leadership, and the in the, across the company, as well as, you know, different departments and disciplines that they could learn more about.

And then we created exercises and experiences for them, too, you know, get together and get to know each other.

And to me, that event, we did another one for Latin America.

You almost can't afford to not have those.

And I know it's very challenging with the virtual world, and everybody working from home and travel being restricted, But as soon as you can get those groups together, the better. Because until you've broken bread with your peers, you know, that level of trust may or may not really be there.

So I just strongly recommend that you create some sort of environment where it's a shared experience where people are inspired and educated and also wrestle with. Of course, the true business needs at hand and learning about our markets, and how to drive the business.

That's excellent. Cindy, a 1, 1 of the themes that has emerged, there are lots of different questions, and I'm trying to summarize kind of the main themes.

People who are talking about, you know, the great organizations have a strong set of core values. They have, you know, relentless drive for progress and they also have the mechanisms that translate principles into actions and those actions are the behaviors. There are going to shape the culture.

I don't know if you can describe, you know, some of the mechanisms that exist in the company right now, how do you go from, we want to have a culture that's good, that wants to move from this type of behavior.

Should that type of behavior, that's OK, that's a good directional guidance, but how do you go from that to, What type of mechanisms do you have to translate those principles into actions that, that become part of the new behaviors of the organization?

Yeah, it's tricky because you can implement a lot of training, and a lot of communication. And I will say, you know, the company has done a very good job with that, as well. To help managers, I think, giving managers toolkits and talking points, and ways that they can share this concepts with their team, and then to stretch them to really start engaging with their team on these cultural aspects. So, one way is to measure. So we have a pretty robust employee opinion survey, and that's looked at every year, and we create action plans based on those results as to where we need to improve And then, of course, reinforce the things that are going well.

So, with that, you know, you can get a lot of information. Employee opinion surveys are just a snapshot, however, so, it's whatever that time they took, the survey, things can change in three months from there. But the other piece that really puts a little more teeth to it is, we have a performance management cycle.

Most people do, we've got a pretty robust one with supporting, you know, technology to help kinda manage the workflow of that. But, a big piece of the process or the performance management is behavior. So, you can have X results.

But, if the behavior that you display getting there was a detractor, you're gonna get actually a deduction from your behavior online, so And you can, And conversely, if you've, if you've, you know, set the model for others and you really demonstrated above and beyond, you can get an addition to your tier results. So, So, that's one way. And then, the last way is really having a performance objective. We've had it for a couple of years. A leader objective, very specific to creating an inclusive workplace, and now we've stretched it even further to focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

And, to me, you know, the performance that, you know, what gets measured gets done, and including behaviors and, you know, creating that culture.

And I will say one more thing around working virtually. And I've done a lot of research, I'm sure everyone on this call really has around, how do you create that culture? How do you maintain a culture, while everyone's remote, and they're not having the interaction and the connection? And there's no easy answers. I think we got kind of tired of Zoom happy hour, after awhile. It became a little less fun. But, really, what it boils down to are just those essential management practices. And it's the simplest thing you can do by having one-on-one meetings, with your staff, pretty much every week or every other week, at a stretch. And regular team meetings.

And I can't tell you enough that those simple acts really create that connection and you are also helping to shape there their prioritization or whatever feedback they need, help they need from you. And then make that a personal connection as well. Doesn't mean you have to, you know, spend time with their families, But you you have to know that they have a family and what they're dealing with or maybe their child is applying for college and they're going on college scouting. You know, all of those personal details are very, very important to me. And I try to build that connection because I'm here to just serve that, serve my team, and ensure that they're successful and move on to the career that they want to have. So, that's what I view my role as, of course, you know, achievement results for the company is assumed.

Absolutely. And we fought for perspective on the timeline of your own cultural transformation, where, how far back you go to, how many years ago you'd say that there was a bit of a reset, or, or maybe a significant stop and focus on culture. Is this something that has happened very recently, five years ago, three years ago? Is there, is there a time that there was a bit of a reset for the culture of the company?


I don't know if I can pinpoint the exact moment, but they changed the leadership of our talent organization or Human resources. However, people want to call it to someone who had come from a marketing background.


And I will say that that has really shaped the view of how employees are, you know, what's in it for them. So, when you have a new change, or any kind of business implementation, or a new strategy, you have to look at the internal marketing right, of selling it to the employees. Why is this a good thing for our customers? Why is this a good thing for you?

And by having that mindset, you're going to be more effective at implementing culture or whatever strategy that you're looking for. So I think that made a big difference.

I'll probably say in the last five years, we've seen more of a rapid acceleration of changes and implementing things that are really beneficial. In the surety organization, there was three really strong, amazing women leaders who decided to pull together a women's resource network. Sure, it was a very male dominated industry, and probably still is today, but they wanted to make sure that women felt comfortable, and that they could be leaders and grow in their careers.

So they built this network, and it included mentoring, and it included a few meetings, getting altogether and hearing from or allies and hearing from some amazing speakers, and making those connections. So we built our network. That was such a great, successful model.

Liberty had also hired a Director of Diversity and inclusion, and she started that, she took a look at what we had started, and then she began on this journey to build the employee resource groups, and do a lot of other things around diversity and inclusion. So, so, to me, that put us on a path, an Employee Resource Groups were really the company, putting their money, where their mouth is, so to speak. Each of those resource groups have one, or more executive sponsors. So, again, there's a connection between the leadership level, and then the more grassroots feel of the employee resource groups.

So, those are self directed, but, at the same time, there's some infrastructure given to them, so that they can no perform communications, and do some of the things that run across all of the groups. And even those are going to evolve to where, you know, we need allies, to represent all of those groups, not just men as allies to women, then can be allies for all the other groups, as well.

That's excellent. You know, in your career you have seeing the ebbs and flows of culture, and you describe several of those in your presentation, which is fascinating perspectives, I think.

And Shana Schwartz has a question here for you.

And she asks, you know, if you're one person trying to make a difference in the culture of my organization, um, is it hopeless? Helpless? Can I make a difference? And what advice do you have for someone like me who would like to see changes in my company culture?

Yeah, to me, I'm gonna go back to what I said about us as individuals.

I think doing that self reflection and deciding, you know, this is one advice I give to new people who I'm mentoring, and they're, they're brand new in their career, is you need to decide what your personal boundaries are.

That isn't to say, you're going to, you know, break any rules or not go along with what your manager needs you to do, but you need to set personal boundaries as to how much you're going to give to the company, where you're going to draw the line on behavior, or other things. Even, you know, your work-life balance. We have some people that have worked themselves to death, and, you know, for to what end they end, it ends up manifesting as health issues and then they're missing work and all of those things.

So they had to double back and themselves and say, Is this really how I want to live?

And put some, some markers in the, you know, in the ground of What your boundaries really are. So I'm going back to you know that individual self reflection, deciding what's important to you and also looking at, you know, your own core values and then the goal is to go out and live those every single day.

So, what you would do is just stay steadfast to your own boundaries and look at, know that how you interact with other people.

You can decide what that behavioral interaction looks like. Others may be modeling a different behavior or less beneficial behavior, but you can model and be the best that you want to be and then that will help seed and set the expectations for others.

So, well, you know, you're in a huge company and you're this one individual.

It's not hopeless.

I think you can create that with your team, you can create that with your customers or clients or your vendors, whoever you happen to be working with.

You know, when I was an underwriter, I had the blessing of working in the state of Montana as my underwriting field.

I work with independent agents across that whole state, but to a person, you know, when I got to go and travel and visit those agents, they welcomed me with a hug and part of that is just Montana, and part of that is I wanted to build the same personal connection that I just described with what I built with my team.

I wanted to build that with my agents so that I knew them as people, and I cared about them, and I was I'm doing my best to serve them.

And, of course, you'd work through some challenging things.

So, you know, that's just part of how I, how I operated in my career. And when at the end of the day, I feel like I did the best I could. And I made a difference in the way that I could, that's all, that's all you can do.

This is some powerful advice you, just you just the dispense there in terms of individuals' positions.

And with their, the personal core values, the personal boundaries are so critical. I think this is very wise, directions you have given there.

Would you also agree that sometimes people feel trapped because they realize they seem to forget, that they're filled with options in their lives.

Meaning that, in a large company, like your company, you know, often how we perceive the culture of the company often is derived from our relationships of our immediate supervisor. And, and maybe sometimes just going somewhere else in the company, will completely change our perspectives. And people are also free to walk out the front door and go work for something else to do something else.

Why? Why do you think people, if you start feeling so trapped overtime?

Yeah. It really comes down to two things, and I'm trying to get the lighting out of the way here. It comes down to two things.

one is, sometimes we lose sight of what it is we really want, and so you're trapped by what you don't want. And so you're you haven't defined what it is your next steps, if you have a clear picture of what you want to do, or at least some semblance of what you want to do.

Screenshot (4)Then it takes courage. So that courage is to go to your manager and say look, this is what I'm after.

This is what floats my boat. This is where I want to grow and learn new skills.

And as such, you're taking control.

So I think people have more power than they know and they have more influence than they than they can admit. And by doing that it takes, it does take a lot of courage. You have to be a, you know, willing to speak up for yourself and moments where you either observe someone else being described discriminated against or being treated poorly, and that takes courage as well.

But, you know, very few times would people after taking that risk be penalized in any way, because most people would recognize that that's the right thing to do.

So that trapped feeling really stems, you know, again, from not having a clear vision of where it is you want to go and not taking it into your own hands and shaping.

Know what it is you want Ive been in moments where I could see a new opportunity for myself and it aligned with the business needs in the in the company.

And when we were able to do that, I created a proposal. And it was accepted. So, what I did was take charge, and I defined the role that I wanted, and I defined the department, and what I wanted, but also that it aligned with, you know what, I was taught to be some gaps or business needs in the organization. So it's a fine balance. You can't just say, oh, I want to do this all day long and, and just become a podcaster and my current job while that might be fun. It's not, you know, what the business need necessarily is.

So, that's something that you have to to really be educated on. What's going on strategically with the business.

And stay informed. Learn about other parts of the company, learn about what's going on, so that you can either ride that train, or become part of the solution, and you might see a gap that no one else sees.

So, building those connections and sort of filling in the dots, if you will, are really great ways to, you know, continue to add value in your workplace. And you'll get recognized. That's simply what I can add, is, you know, there might be others who have a more showy showy output, and they get recognized for it. That's great. But if they got there and they displayed behaviors and along the route that were, you know, not very helpful or not a team player, then from that perspective.

You know, that's great that they got rewarded, but at the same time, everybody knows that that's not the best way to do it.

Cindy, thank you so much for all your insights, all your advice, transparency, authenticity. We really appreciate that tremendous session on the important, the importance of culture, the journey of culture that you have being on through your career, and we're very much appreciate you taking the time to share this with our global audience today.

You're welcome. Thank you. Just say it was very wonderful experience. So, thanks for having me and have a great rest of your day.

Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was Cindy ..., the Director of Global Business Services for Global Surety at.

Liberty Mutual Insurance. So, we are going to change gears in our last session.

In our last session, we're gonna go from transactional financial insurance services to the grind off operations and manufacturing. So, we're gonna be going deeper in one of the leading global organizations for manufacturing and operations. And I'll be welcoming the Senior Director of Operations Solutions for J Bill. And we're gonna talk about how to prioritize customer needs and expectations in this. And how does JBL uses intelligent business process management to get this done in a tough manufacturing environment. And, you know, as we know, the practitioners and leaders of excellence and innovation, know this very well. There are some significant differences between transactional processes and manufacturing processes, so we're gonna dive deeper into manufacturing now, because we have covered a lot of the items related to transactional. So, let's go deeper into manufacturing processes now, and we're gonna do this with a with a true expert and leader in this field.

When ... will be here with us at the top of the hour, you do not want to miss this session, and, in the meantime, if you have any comments or suggestions or questions, make sure to check the posts, the LinkedIn posts that we have. You can look under, my name is Joseph Paris, and he's going to be one of the feature posts there. And any questions, comments, you know, congratulations to the speakers on on their deliveries. Please go ahead and make your comments there. And several of our speakers go back to that posting. And I will do, I will be updating that posting myself later on today and tomorrow. So, for now, we'll close this session. I'll see you back up at the top of the hour. Thank you.


About the Author

more - 2021-03-08T181723.523-2Cindy Shaw,
Director, Global Business Services, Global Surety,
Liberty Mutual Global Surety.

With 29 years working for a Fortune 100 Global Financial Service Company, Cindy Shaw, has a passion for global operational excellence, strategic transformations, growth enablement and mentoring.

She leads two shared service teams within Global Risks division of Liberty Mutual Global Surety.

The Program Services Team (PMO) enables achievement of strategic objectives through consulting and facilitation; specializing in process design, program & project management and change management. They have rich experience in new country office start-ups and acquisition integrations.

The Global Service Center brings expert knowledge and service excellence for seamless surety bond placements around the world. They support underwriters and liaise with fronting company partners to enable Global Surety’s cross-border growth.

Cindy’s industry designations include: Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter, Chartered Insurance Operations Professional and Master in Change Management and Consulting.

Cindy has a deep drive for building culture, coaching high-performing teams, mentoring, and the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


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