You Are the Succession Plan


You Are the Succession Plan 

By: Dr. Bradley W. Gronke, Talent Acquisition and Development Manager for Gallagher Bassett

Insurance opportunities are vast with over 400,000 positions needed to be filled by 2020(1). Many of these careers have been and will be filled by youthful individuals that are hungry to make an impact economically, socially, and organizationally. We as an industry need to focus on these areas in order to attract and retain talent in a lean marketplace. The unemployment rate nationally is at 4.0%(2). Essentially, everyone that wants a job has a job but how many are fulfilling their why(3)? How many of these individuals are passionate about the role they have? So many individuals wake up every day that are employed and say, “I have to go to work.” Instead, wouldn’t it be great if those same individuals could wake up and say, “I get to go to work.” Serving in the claims industry for nearly twenty years I have heard both of these statements from co-workers, employees, and managers. We need to address the desires of the intellectually bright, energetic, and motivated young executives of tomorrow, today!

Many talented young professionals are already starting their own businesses in high school or even earlier(4). These amazing people, much like the individuals earning RISE awards, want to make an economic impact. They want to see our economy grow. They realize that the results of these efforts will ensure that they are developing a solid living legacy. Many professionals new to the insurance industry already have a solid foundational knowledge of business structure, root-cause analysis, and return-on-investment modeling. Professionals already possessing those skills allow organizations to focus on deep dives to technical aspects of roles. It also allows for exploration of an organizations culture in a more expedited time line then previously was ever imaginable. The value that is contributed by an individual to an organization needs to be felt. We need to ensure that they are aware of how they are making an impact and where they fit into the economic success of the organization.

The leaders of tomorrow need to focus on the changing structure of organizations. Many of these organizations are now flat and executives are more accessible than ever before(7). The circular relationship between a leader and followers is foundational for flat organizations to thrive. The partner-follower is one that will passionately pursue the vision of the leader(8). These followers will also leverage their intelligent disobedience to ensure that the organization moves from good to great(9),(10). There is a distinct difference between leaders and managers. Leaders inspire, motivate, and drive others to success. Managers ensure that tasks are completed within given boundaries so that goals can be achieved. Each role, leader and manager, is important to an organizations overall success. The most exciting news of this most recent generation of young professionals is that there are more and more leadership talents and study to develop skills. Leadership is essential to organizations moving from good to great but the foundation of that leadership is the follower. Leaders must be willing and have the capacity to understand their followers if the organization is to succeed.

The RISE awards highlight young professionals that are the succession plan for our industry. We as current leaders need to take notice. We need to ensure that our businesses are supplying engaging opportunities for growth economically, socially, and organizationally to these young professionals. When we ensure that our industry is achieving the steps necessary to support its own movement from good to great we will be laying the foundation for the young insurance professionals of today to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Dr. Bradley W. Gronke currently serves as a Talent Acquisition and Development Manager for Gallagher Bassett. Dr. Gronke’s responsibilities include recruitment, training, development, engagement, and retention of 700 employees across 23 offices. He is a results driven, motivational claims leader with 17 years’ experience. He has obtained degrees including a master of science in social justice, master of business administration in organizational behavior, and a doctorate of education in leadership. He is constantly striving for excellence through action research that is practitioner based. Dr. Gronke holds the professional designations of AIC, AIS, AIM, and SCLA while currently pursuing his CPCU. Dr. Gronke serves on the faculty at Benedictine University as an adjunct lecturer. He has volunteered since 1999 as an emergency medical technician. He holds numerous instructor and practitioner certifications in first response. Dr. Gronke’s why is to impact society in perpetuity by sharing the study of followership with others.

1.) Ruquet, M. E. (April 17, 2013). Insurance industry crisis: 400,000 positions to fill by 2020. Property and Casualty 360.
2.) Bureau of Labor Statistics. (July 6, 2018). The employment situation-June 2018 (USDL-18-1110). Washington, DC.
3.) Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York, N.Y.: Portfolio.
4.) Stach, L., & Winn Miller, Mary. (2014). Why high school students can start companies. Under 30 CEO.
5.) Gallagher, R. (May, 1984). The Gallagher way.
6.) Bourque, A. (March 29, 2016). Are millennials the most generous generation?. Entrepreneur.
7.) Vaccaro, A. (January 29, 2014). How do you lead in a flat organization?: Companies that eliminate formal hierarchies must also transform the role of their senior leadership. Inc.
8.) Chaleff, I. (2009). The courageous follower: Standing up to & for our leaders. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
9.) Chaleff, I. (2015). Intelligent disobedience: Doing right when what you’re told to do is wrong. Oakland: Berrett-Koehler.
10.) Collins, J. (2009). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap…and others don’t. London: Random House.
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