At Konsileo, from day one we have always said that we would be: unique, a disruptor, a challenger, and all that good stuff that most start-ups say… One thing that founder and CEO John Warburton has made clear from the beginning is that insurance broking is one of the most noble professions, and the organisational structure of broking firms has got to change for the good of the employees or the industry will lose great people who are not engaged with their employers.
So, what does make us different?
At the core, it is our culture and the organisational structure that supports it.
There is a reason why our branding centres around a ‘teal’ colour. Our culture is built on the principles written in Frederic Laloux’s ‘Reinventing Organizations’. With deep context on organisational evolution, Laloux explains how each stage built on the previous, with ever improving processes and breakthroughs emerging.
So, without going into a full explanation of every management paradigm and evolutionary stage from the book, let’s get back to the point – why has Konsileo taken on these principles and what has the journey been like as we have grown as an organisation?
The core breakthroughs of Teal are:
- Evolutionary purpose
And how do we relate this to the insurance industry I hear you say?
Many brokers (account executives, client account managers, whatever your job title is, you are looking after clients and advising on risk in one way or another…) don’t quite realise, that they are at the heart of the UK economy. Keeping businesses running, protecting them should the worst happen, and giving sound advice that in turn will help those businesses take more risks to grow and flourish in a challenging and uncertain economic landscape.
In 2018 Konsileo published a report with PKF Littlejohn and the CII around the Future of Commercial Insurance Broking, where a lot of the research behind it confirmed that businesses need to take risks to enable growth, and of course, for them to feel more comfortable and confident in taking risks, they need the right risk advisor and insurance broker on their side.
With the current corporate norm in some traditional broking firms, there are some employees who are not able to fully engage with their clients, some being moved away from a stable and loyal relationship that has been built over some years; or maybe their employers are so controlling that the broker is not able to approach and manage the risk in a way which they see fit.
This is where Konsileo has a different perspective.
Our main priority is to create a place where experienced client-facing brokers can thrive.
- Through self-management: our employees have autonomy and accountability to build their client base on their own terms, using their expertise as an anchor, but with team members around them to lean on for advice or coaching where needed. Our brokers work remotely across the UK and set their own working hours, choose whether they work from home, from an office, or from anywhere with Wi-Fi – as long as they get the job done, we do not micro-manage. Broking employees at Konsileo create their own working structure that helps them reach success, be that independently or with other team members local or across the country.
- Wholeness: This one always takes a while for people to adapt to… Even early in the interview stage, we want to get to know our team as people, not just as cogs in a machine or numbers. Working remotely is hard, so understanding our team members as real people, and feeling comfortable opening up to us is really important so that we can help guide and coach our brokers to success. Forget the corporate mask that is put on before you leave the house, and instead feel comfortable and confident in yourself, your abilities and your vulnerabilities. Nobody is perfect.
- Evolutionary purpose: As mentioned earlier – insurance broking is one of the most noble professions keeping the world spinning, businesses running (and growing!), and this message should be shouted from the rooftops until it really is seen that way! Our broker employees are heroes in our eyes, and we believe in them; their expertise, their concern for their clients’ wellbeing, and in their drive to be successful. Without our amazing team of professional brokers, we would not be able to fulfil our dreams of changing how people perceive insurance broking today.
The road has been tough, as with any growing company there will always be challenges and this way of working and culture will not be perfect for everyone. We understand that now and have learnt some tough lessons along our journey.
So, as we have grown what are some of the core processes we have put in place to support our Teal culture?
- Our recruitment strategy has evolved, rather than recruiting people one by one, we hire in cohorts. We aim to get 6-8 people starting on or around the same date, so that they can all attend an offsite induction for 3 days where we go deep into the culture, sharing knowledge and ideas, and of course getting to know each other and building trust-based relationships.
- Brokers are accountable to their own plans and actions. Meaning we don’t prescribe KPIs and targets to individuals, but they build their own plans based on their strengths, life goals and long-term ambitions.
- Coaches, not line-managers. Our most experienced brokers are nominated as coaches, and help their coachees work through any challenges, come to solutions and keep them accountable to their responsibilities not only for their own plans but to the wider team. Even the coaches need coaching, and this process has already helped boost motivation and accountability across the team.
This is just the beginning. There will always be more to do as we have ambitious growth targets as an organisation, not only in the UK but to take Konsileo worldwide and adapt in different geographies, but always staying true to ourselves and the principles we have worked so hard to keep at the core of our Teal culture.
We want to hear from you!
What is your initial reaction to this article? Are you in a company with self-managing teams? Share your experiences with us! Do you want to find out more or are just curious to talk with us? Get in touch…
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