Insurance & Technology


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November 2014 3 T here still may be debates over whether or not IT matters, but there's no disputing that leadership matters. This critical con- cept can influence everything that is important to business success, including productivity, compliance, customer service, sales, and mo- rale. Strong leadership can help make the most of limited staff, budget, and time resources; weak leadership can squander the most gener- ous funding and resources. Leader, of course, is not synon- ymous with executive. There are many top executives who are ex- perienced and capable, but not ef- fective leaders. True leadership re- quires a number of characteristics, not just professional competency but also abilities that are less tan- gible, such as an ability to inspire or a keen sense of future risks and opportunities. Leadership author- ity Roxi Bahar Hewertson identi- fies four core tenets of leadership in her book Lead Like It Matters ... Because It Does. These are: Personal mastery ("your purpose, values and vision, how you affect others, your style, preferences, strengths and challenges"), inter- personal mastery ("excellent communication and people management skills that engage, motivate, and inspire employees"), team mas- tery ("harness the power of group dynamics to build stronger, more productive teams"), and culture and systems mastery ("you need to know, not guess or project, what the cul- ture really is and how it actually affects your people and overarching business results"). The foundation for these capabilities com- bines confidence and humility, passion and rationality, vision and focus. With all these de- mands, it shouldn't be surprising that leader- ship sometimes is hard to identify in unsettled industries such as financial services. But fortu- nately for the insurance industry, we're seeing it all come together in many carriers' IT organiza- tions, where opportunities around digital chan- nels, analytics and data, and emerging competi- tive challenges are spurring some of the most aggressive and innovative initiatives on record. It's exemplified by Insurance & Technology's 2014 Elite 8 honorees — eight insurance tech- nology executives who are redefining the role of IT (and IT leadership) at their organizations. In addition to the profiles in this digital issue, they will be honored at I&T's 2014 Executive Summit, "The Agile Insurer: Speed, Insight, Engagement," Nov. 9-11, at The St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami. These talented individuals are forging new paths for insurance CIOs that combine profi- ciency at some of the long-standing require- ments of the job — project management and delivery and vendor management, for ex- ample — with emerging imperatives around mobility, data mastery, and organizational agility. Additionally, the Elite 8 executives bring multidisciplinary backgrounds to their jobs, enabling them to draw not only on com- puter science knowledge but also on fields such as music and the military to identify best practices and strategies for replicable success. Leadership may be an elusive concept, but it's something I&T 's 2014 Elite 8 honorees have aced. Congratulations! p Previous Table of Contents Next Previous Table of Contents Next Katherine Burger, Editorial Director @kathyburger FromTheEditor The Once And Future Insurance IT Leader DOWNLOAD PDF

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