Consumer Insurance - Q2 2019


“At Risk”

You struggle to align to the customer, market and also across your internal business functions.


As a result you likely…

•Focus on reactionary approaches to solve market and internal problems, but lack the ability to truly align around answers

•Struggle to find a market and internal purpose that binds the organization’s thinking and talents and therefor are subject to  continuous drift

•Have people that are invested in functional identities and who pour their time, energy and focus into just keeping up

Based on your survey responses, your organization or line of business is challenged in finding a way to set goals, strategies and tactics. As a result your companies approach to customer, market and internal challenges is disconnected from the reality of those situations – You neither sense nor respond with enough acumen to establish norms key to your long term growth and success.

Learning More About my Diagnosis

Your company or line of business has been diagnosed as At Risk, which means you struggle to sense and respond consistently and with success to both external market and internal challenges. As a result you are not currently designed, at the business or operating levels, to create sustained success.

The reasons for this diagnosis can be legion, but it is typically due to a lack of alignment between those who lead and influence the business strategy and the tactics. Purpose and reasoning are often disconnected leading to counter productive results, which satisfy neither the customers or employees. As a result, the company likely lives in a constantly reactive mode yet struggles to get anything of lasting value accomplished in a timely manner.


Deeper signs of an at risk status include market pushes without measures, employee retention challenges, frequent re-organizations or none at all even when changes in business models are required. In short, the company is not sensing or responding to its internal or external market environment with success or speed.


It is very likely that the existing lines of business are living on the success of aging products or services, which is leaving them vulnerable to competition let alone disruption.

Your Answers: Summary

1. We create, test and validate hypotheses to make business strategy and investment decisions, because we know market success requires challenging our assumptions. Somewhat agree – We do this often enough to fuel some successful business decisions.

2. We are heavily invested in iterating on external market plays and internal improvements, because we are more about maximizing external customer opportunities than getting things checked off a list. Somewhat disagree – We do this sometimes but not enough to see its value.

3. Our function’s authority, talents and interests are wholly invested in building competitive advantages for our external customers, and as a result we have given up functionally insular self-preservation tactics for open and transparent collaboration. Somewhat agree – We sometimes willingly cede our authority for better customer objectives.

4. We relentlessly gather external customer and market data before and after the launch of a product or service and use it to validate the initial idea and/or further investment, while also using it as a source for generating new ideas. Somewhat agree – We sometimes willingly cede our authority for better customer objectives.

5. People are willing to put themselves and their ideas second when someone of equal or lower position within the organization has a better idea, and quickly find ways to support it for the growth and improvement of the organization. Somewhat disagree – We do this sometimes but do not actively encourage the behavior or take timely action.

6. It’s typical that both leadership and the product development team, i.e. everyone who has a hand in strategy and product development, has meaningful ‘idea shaping’ experience with the target external customer(s) and not just the solution. Somewhat disagree – We do this sometimes get selected business and technology leaders close to the customer, but delivery team only get anecdotal impressions of the results.

Key Weaknesses – By Survey Question Answered:

Question #2, #5, #6

#2. This means that  Market-Minded Collaboration is less important than Top-Down Communication. The symptoms are:

  • You do not gather customer and market data and collaborate across business functions and scientifically comb through results, so that you are able to generate and test the best investment ideas with your customers.

  • When you form ideas for internal improvements, products or services you do not collaborate with customers or internal partners to determine the idea’s purpose, fit and value to make focused decisions on what needs to be done vs. what can be done.  

  • Leaders and others are often unwilling to abandon their ideas when customer testing or the results from an unsuccessful market launch proves otherwise.  

#5. This means that  Calibrated Business Capabilities is less important than Integrated Business Functions. The symptoms are:

  • You are far more interested in preserving our business function’s authority than you are in creating aligned and well balanced business capabilities.

  • When you realign across business functions you do not enable better calibrated business capabilities, because you do not drive and measure the customer outcomes.   

  • A vast majority of people are not personally invested in the design of your organization, for the growth of customer minded collaboration and calibration, and are unwilling to personally lead change from their seat when the time comes.

#6. This means that a Human-Centric Organization is less important than a Self-Preserving Organization The symptoms are:

  • You are not focused on using customer and market opportunities to intentionally seed experiences that grow our people and their understanding of the market, even through growing people we grow your ability to innovate and make a deeper market impact.

  • When you promote individuals you don’t reward top performers who were able to anchor their success in bringing people together through the reduction of departmental self-interest.

  • People are not willing to put themselves and their ideas second when someone of equal or lower position in the organization has a better idea.   


All of the challenges captured within this Built to Compete Quadrant™ report can be turned around with greater alignment, but they are the types of issues which are going to lead to further degeneration if not addressed. The typical result of this degeneration is the risk of falling out of rhythm with the customer and market.

This can come in the form of external disruption or a self-inflicted internal disruption, if the state of the company or line of business’s response capability regresses. In most cases this ultimately impacts a company’s sense capability, as it becomes a greater struggle to stay ahead or catch up to existing / rising competition.

With our consultation, your organization can implement a strategy to become pivot-enabled and, therefore, adhere to the tenets of the Agile Business Manifesto.

Please contact me directly to answer your questions.

Contact Bill Walton, Principal  C: 917.439.3271  E:

Contact Bill Walton, Principal

C: 917.439.3271