My husband, two kids, and I are currently in the early stages of transitioning from our home in Iowa to a new home in Kansas. The decision to relocate wasn’t an easy one – Iowa is home. However, as we recently realigned so that the office in Lenexa, Kansas become the AgriSompo headquarters, it became clear that this was the right move. Still, it has put my family pretty far outside of our comfort zones. In fact, I am typing this from the front seat of my car as I wait for my 13-year-old daughter who is participating in an “ID session” with a potential new soccer team. She was pretty unsure of herself as she headed onto the field, but she put her game face on and from where I sit now, it looks like she doing just fine. I like to remind people that when we get out of our comfort zones, that’s when we build character, grow in new and different ways, and gain confidence. Sometimes, when you are close to the situation like me as the mom of a girl who is scared and unsure, it isn’t easy to push yourself or push others around you. But I know the outcome is likely worth the push.
From the early days of AgriSompo, one of the biggest pushes towards our new culture was to develop a regional structure for running the business. With the size, scale, and spread of our crop insurance book, our goal in regionalization was to put the service close to the customer. Today, AgriSompo North America business is separated into six regions, based on the types of crops and resulting business that exists in each grouping of states: the Upper Midwest, Midwest, Great Lakes, Southeast, Southwest, and the West.
Each of our regions is led by a Regional Vice President (RVP) whose role is to oversee all of the business and people aspects of the region. While our RVPs vary in their backgrounds and experience, they all bring unique and important aspects to their business and teams. From the time that we announced our regions, we have consistently been focused how we can increase the RVPs' engagement, involvement, and decision making to truly run the business from a regional perspective.
As Chief Operating Officer of AgriSompo North America, one of my biggest goals is to continue to advance our decentralized structure and enhance our operations by making sure the RVPs have the information and insight they need to effectively manage the business. This includes decision making, a drive toward customer service, building and sustaining teams, and generally focusing on all aspects of the business.
With this focus we held our first quarterly leadership meeting with the Executive Team and the Regional Vice Presidents at our corporate headquarters in Lenexa, KS, the week of April 10, and we saw a significant step forward as our regions have continued to grow and develop. During that meeting we discussed nearly every aspect of the company, from Accounting and Finance to Analytics and Actuarial. Additionally, each region had the opportunity to share an overview of their business. Lastly, but in my opinion most importantly, the RVPs had the opportunity to learn and understand new and important aspects of running their regions from a financial perspective.
Our leadership meetings were a week of stretching ourselves and those around us. They were a week of growing individually, together as a leadership team and broadly as AgriSompo. A strong team is the core of a strong company. I am so proud of the leadership team we have at AgriSompo – it is respectful, honest, smart, diverse, and maybe most importantly, we care about the work we do, who we do it for, and making sure we do it right. As we continue to grow our new culture as AgriSompo, the ongoing change pushes most of us outside of our comfort zones. Next time you find yourself outside of your comfort zone, know you are in good company and we will all grow stronger for it.
What are you going to do today to get outside of your comfort zone? How can you push your teammates to get outside of theirs? As I continue to watch my 13-year-old do it tonight out on the pitch, I know we all have it in us!