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  • 1. Second Quarter 2007 Volume 34, Number 2
  • 2. The Nolan Newsletter People, Process, TechnologyTable of Contents Making Sense of Shifting Priorities..............................................2 Lgt C m r A t n R tikn i s a e , co – e n i h, a i h g Business Requirements.....................................................................3 K y t G o t i Tdy SfMa e.......... eso rw h n oa’ ot r t.........6 s k .......... .......... Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery, Even in B n i – uD e IL a tS ces..........9 akn B t ost edo ucs ........... g ?.......... .......... 2007 Efciency Ratio Performance Benchmarking Study......11 Retiring Losses................................................................................12 Client Spotlight: Managing Cost of Care Improves Insured Result and Business Protability..................................14 Spring Cleaning...It Helps to Prepare!....................................16 How Many Piano Tuners Are There in Chicago?...................17 A Call to Action................................................................................20 D nt ogth “ep ”n ep , rcs ad o’F ret Pol i Pol Poes n e e e , Technology.............................................................................22 Quality Healthcare: What Is It and How Do We Know?..........24 Information Technology: Enabler or Obstacle?........................27 Nolan Events.....................................................................................28Vol. 34 No. 2 Second Quarter 2007
  • 3. Steve M. Callahan, CLU, ChFC, FLMI/M Senior Consultant steve_callahan@renolan.com Recently, while browsing through some old executive training materials from a Fortune 100 company, I came across courses that had been used to train management on techniques of effective leadership. As I reflected on the applicability of the various techniques, my eyes wandered casually over to the packaging or, more specifically, its name: Leadership in Action. What a great phrase to express actionable lessons for succeeding as a leader. Being a little bored at the time (it was the weekend) and faced with an overactive imagination fresh from some implementation challenges, I mentally morphed the well-designed name into a representation of what, at least to me, seemed to be a growing issue i t a’ogn aosIw s s p t nio—sy tatt e n o y rai t n.t a a i l r si d s zi m e a t n a if ,a s k out one space, and there you go: Leadership Inaction. After the chuckle brought on by the wordplay, the reality of how more organizations have found a way to neutralize the effectiveness of their leaders sunk in. Whether in the arena of corporate ethics, strategy setting, or even at the operational level of individual and t m m ngm n nm ru ea p so “ ae h i co” ea aae et u e s xm l f l dr i n t n , o e e sp ai came to mind, many of them attributable not to mistakes of action but failures to act, such as: • Unaddressed and long-standing personnel problems that suck the motivation out of other employees • Dormant or dying product lines ignored despite their drain on resources • Arduous project approval processes that act as constraining lters instead of enablers • Rapidly growing staff functions that count, price, design, consult,  or audit business lines that are unable to cut le, operational expenses enough to cover the more expensive staff roles • De-layered organizations with an overabundance of management meetings, leaving front-line staff effectively on their own20
  • 4. • Antiquated transactional systems left in place while the appeal of custom-developed web portal, e-commerce, and self-service solutions are pursued These are only a few examples that came to mind as I contemplatedthe debilitating conditions that many businesses inadvertentlyinternalize today. How many do you recognize? One of the many challenges we face as leaders is to identify thiscultural leadership inaction that contaminates our effectiveness, andthen to take action to eradicate all traces of it. Consider supply anddemand curves from economics, where equilibrium is achieved bysliding along the curves until they cross, until a significant economicevent causes an entire curve to shift position. Similarly, leadershiphas reached a sub-optimal point in its effectiveness, requiring a shiftto the next level in order to enable continued growth and profitability.Make no mistake: the deterioration in leadership effectiveness iscosting our industry every day. T dy l dr a m r i om d cm e n m t a d ad oa’ e e r oe n r e, o pt t o vt , n s a s e f e, i etechnologically supported than any preceding generation, makingthis needed transition neither an issue of ability nor incentive. What isneeded are wake-up calls, yanking the covers off these organizationalencumbrances, putting them under the blinding light of day so thataction can take the place of inaction and strategic intent replacehabit. Finding these covers can be as simple as taking a fresh, unbiasedlook at exactly where your profits are coming from, what theunderlying value propositions are, and how opportunity costs arebeing allocated. Once the encumbrances are identified, the process ofcr co ir avl es—ee fn R sasr , o wlhv or t n se t e ay vn u. ets e yu i ae ei li y ud lthe minds and hearts of your front-line staff supporting the removalof these burdens, enabling your company to re-engage in focused andprofitable endeavors. Wi t t m n,n wta a i i ndo T e e m ri t h i i ad i n fr n o t“ h R - e n h an d h fm g E ggNeed for Speed” i usdn u fsqa enw lt o 20, t d cs iorit ur r e s tr f 07l s e r- t ee em c s wta utf mS aepa :B trhe huso so e l e i qo r hkser “ eet e ort on o h eo e t r ot n m ntt leh a i eo a . a u o t” 21

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