Mar 112012

For many years I wrote the CEO’s remarks at the monthly officer lunches and the annual off-site leadership meeting. This was from the officer lunch in July 2007.


Officer Lunch


  • Today’s meeting marks a very special milestone. As you saw from last week’s e-mail, we have completed our new shared vision, which we’re calling the Strategic and Guiding Principles. (1 minute)
  • The SMT was deeply involved in every aspect of developing this vision, from inception to revision to finalization. (:30)
  • All of you have played key roles as well, by providing us with your comments and feedback in the officer sessions and throughout the entire process. (1:00)
    • SMT members who facilitated those meetings reported how well-prepared, thoughtful and passionate you were about being a part of developing the SGP.
  • I want to thank you – deeply – for your help, input and support. (:10)
  • We listened intently to what you had to say and your feedback has been incorporated into the final version. (:15)
  • I’d like to share with you a few highlights and details (10:00)
    • Briefly review document:
    • Why we developed SGP
    • What the SGP is meant to be
      • Shared vision/roadmap for the next 3-5 years?
      • Way we’ll transform the company into a consumer-focused organization?
      • Other?
    • What’s in each section and why (using PowerPoint)
    • “Reinvent”
      • I’ve been talking for months about our aspiration to reinvent protection and retirement for consumers, describing the need to push further and harder, and citing examples from other industries.
      • I’m not going to define reinvention for us. I think it’s critical that you be a part of that journey and discovery process. We will work together to determine how we reinvent protection and retirement for consumers.
      • Going forward, it will change as consumer tastes and needs change.
    • “Focus ruthlessly”
      • There was a lot of dialogue about the word “ruthless,” and whether it was consistent with our caring culture.
      • In the end we decided to keep it in, as a powerful symbol of how serious we are about focusing our resources on the few things that will have the greatest impact on our customers.
    • Enterprise
      • Note that this document requires us to take an enterprise-wide view of our responsibilities and actions. The goal is to “grow the value of our company” as a whole, as opposed to any one business unit or department. Our vision is to “reinvent protection and retirement for the consumer.” That’s going to take the combined, integrated and significant efforts of everyone here, working across boundaries and outside silos.
  • Why I’m so pleased/passionate with the final product, and the vision: it gives us a common platform from which to “take a stand” to transform protection & retirement (1:00)
    • What will change as a result; how we’ll operationalize it (2:00)
    • What happens next? (2:00)
  • (If time) Point out one or two examples of how people or groups are already living the SGP. Paint a picture that we’re already on the path; make it real for people.
  • I want to ask George, Jim and Ric to come up and spend a few minutes talking about how they view the significance of the SGP and how they see it working not only within but across their business units.

George, Jim and Ric Panel (10 – 15 minutes)

Engagement (5 minutes)

  • I wanted to come back for a few minutes to talk about engagement. What do we mean by engagement? Isn’t everyone already “engaged”?
  • What it means to me: everyone is fully, passionate and completely “in the game.”
  • Spend a few minutes on your vision of engagement.
  • People are the most important part of what we do. Having a high-performing organization is critical to our success and a highly engaged workforce is the way we get there. But here’s the million-dollar question: what would it take to get this level of engagement across the enterprise?
  • And that’s where I’d like your ideas.

Officer Dialogue (2:00)

  • We’ve established an online dialogue mechanism that will be e-mailed to you this afternoon and available on Leader 2 Leader, the officer web site, to collect and share your best ideas on employee engagement. It’s a simple tool with just one basic question: What would it take to get this level of engagement across the organization?
  • Over the next week, I’m asking each of you to share at least one idea. What can we do to bring this level of engagement to life at Allstate?
  • Your best ideas on employee engagement will be posted on L2L so we can learn from each other and collaborate as we move forward.
  • Instructions and details will be e-mailed to you shortly after the meeting. Please, take the time to share at least one thought so we can be sure to make these outstanding ideas come to life.

SMT (if time)

  • There’s at least one story I’d like to share with you around the meaning of engagement. It comes from Mick McCabe:
  • Mick McCabe tells “coach story” (:60)
  • (If time) Call on other SMT members (Cathy Brune? Steve Sorenson? Mike Roche?) [If we use SMT members, we’ll need to alert them in advance]

Introduce Joe Tripodi (1:00)

  • In keeping with the passion and commitment we’ve been talking about today, we have a very special guest joining us now. And to welcome him here, I’d like to ask Joe Tripodi to come up.

Joe and Dennis (10:00)

Conclusion (5:00)

  • Thanks Dennis for joining us today.
  • For the benefit of any officer who was not here today, or who would like to hear some of this discussion again, we will be posting an audio file of this meeting on Leader 2 Leader starting tomorrow.
  • We are also making available a new feature on L2L, called “Bookshelf.” It contains extensive summaries of thousands of executive books. The instructions are simple and right online. I encourage you to go to L2L and explore this learning tool. It can help you evaluate many great business techniques and ideas that can be very valuable as we live out the ideals and goals of the SGP.
  • So what happens next? This summer SMT members are leading four work streams – on customer focus, enterprise risk and reward, engagement and accountability.
  • At Leadership Conference in September (less than three months away) we’ll have a chance to hear about their progress – and what’s next in terms of rolling out the SGP to the workforce, for which you’ll be very involved.
  • Thanks everyone for a remarkably productive and valuable process helping to produce our Shared Vision.
  • I know it’s going to help us drive Allstate to new heights of growth, accomplishment and customer focus.

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