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A Different Kind of New Year’s Resolution
As we turn the page on 2018 and everyone steels themselves to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions to get healthy, make more money, or master a new skill, I’m setting a different kind of goal for myself in 2019. In an effort to understand and possibly make a difference in the increasingly divided country we find ourselves in, I’mmaking an effort to reach across the aisle and meet some folks outside of my own narrow field of experience. As a naturally introverted, somewhat reserved kind of guy, this is about as far outside my comfort zone as I can get — but in this day and age, it feels more important than ever. Over the past few years, we’ve watched as our communities pulled to the polar ends of political and personal discourse. In a world of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter quips, respect has gone by the wayside. Everyone has gotten so presumptuous and opinionated —myself included! — that there’s little room for us to actually listen to one another. When it feels like we’re on different planets altogether, the idea of common ground can seem REACHING ACROSS THE AISLE IN 2019
friends of friends, or people from the church across town, I’m hoping to sit down and honestly communicate, and thereby start a relationship. I’m hoping to discover that some of the folks who seem to be locked into an entirely different worldview can, in actuality, share many of my core values and beliefs, even if we continue to disagree on how to put them into practice in the real world. If not, that’s okay too — at least we’ll probably understand one another a little bit better than we did before. Even writing this, putting it out into the world, is making me nervous. Now this isn’t just an idea I’ve been toying with, it’s an actual pledge I’ve just put into print. Who knows how it’s actually going to go, but I’m confident that this discomfort is just the precursor to growth. My military experience proved to me that Americans have way more in common with each other than most of us realize. Nobody cared where you came from, what you looked like, or what political beliefs you subscribed to. When it came right down to it, we were all Americans, and we needed to work together or we couldn’t accomplish our mission. That message of cooperation and community may be one of the only ways we can make it through this complicated moment in history, to come together and forge a path forward that helps everyone in this great country live better lives.
impossible. And yet, we all have to figure out a way to live alongside one another, to forge a path forward in the midst of these contemptuous times. In the wake of this, I’ve been awakened to the uncomfortable fact that by and large, I, like probably a lot of Americans, live in my own social bubble. Very few, if any, of my friends live outside of my political, financial, and racial demographic. Entrenched in this environment, it’s no wonder that I struggle to understand and see things from an “opposing” perspective. With this in mind, I’ve done some self-reflection, looking for a way that I could try to understand the overwhelming complexity of the modern world. And though it is a tiny thing, it seems to me that, as individuals, the best thing we can do is to sit down and start a real dialogue, where we truly listen with the goal of understanding. So, I’mmaking a pact with myself to engage with the people who have a significantly different perspective than mine. Whether it’s my neighbors,
... it seems to me that, as individuals, the best thing we can do is to sit down and start a real dialogue, where we truly listen with the goal of understanding.”
President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs for Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1
A Vital Force in the Younger Generation of Account Managers
Have you started marketing to Generation Z yet? You should be. The oldest members of this generation — usually defined as people born during the mid- 1990s to early 2000s — are starting to enter the workforce. By 2020, around 40 percent of consumer buying power will come fromGen Z. Companies need to think about how to reach them— preferably without making the same mistakes they made when marketing to millennials. Gen Z grew up in an internet-focused world, but that doesn’t mean you can reach them through Facebook or email. Younger social media users gravitate to video-based platforms like YouTube or TikTok. On these apps, content feels more “real” because it is made by users for users. This preference shapes their buying habits. A survey from Business Insider found that only 49 percent of Gen Zers shop online once a month, a steep decline from the 74 percent of millennials who regularly make online purchases. Fifty-eight percent of the Gen Zers surveyed said they preferred brick-and-mortar shopping because they “wanted to see and feel the product.” There have been countless embarrassing attempts to get “on the level” with millennials, from a pizza company misunderstanding a trending hashtag about domestic violence to a presidential campaign asking people to use emojis to describe how they feel about student loan debt. These disasters produced major backlash because they were inappropriate, condescending, and insincere. Stay true to your brand persona and think twice before you approve an ad that riffs on a popular meme or claims your product is a “big mood.” Many of the mistakes companies made when marketing to millennials came from trying to market to “Millennials” — in other words, they relied on stereotypes to plan campaigns. Don’t make the same mistake with the 61 million Gen Zers about to enter the workforce. As president and founder of Red Fan Communications, Kathleen Lucente, puts it, “It’s more about understanding a set of behaviors, communication preferences, spending habits, brand affinities, and loyalties. Using terms like ‘millennial’ or ‘Gen Z’ might be easy, but they shouldn’t be applied to marketing when there are myriad other ways to understand behavior.” Marketers need to up their game when it comes to reaching this next generation — a generation who spent years watching companies clumsily attempt to connect with their millennial parents or siblings. Gen Z can spot insincere or manipulative marketing a mile away. Market to Gen Z Without Repeating Past Mistakes LearnWhere Your Audience Is At, andWhy Don’t Be ‘Hip’ RememberThat ‘Gen Z’ Isn’t a Demographic
Many of our team members at Risk Services/Insurica have been in the business for decades, while others are just beginning to help our clients secure their futures for the long haul. But while our assistant account manager, Aubrey Simpkins, may be relatively “new” at only 7 years with the company, what she lacks in years of experience she makes up for in passion, attention to detail, and a genuine interest in safeguarding the well-being of her clients. “What I do is all about helping people,” she says. “Basically, it comes down to protecting their jobs, protecting their livelihoods.” She knows that when running a business, you run a lot of risk. With that in mind, she says, “It’s my job to help them not worry about anything extra.” Aubrey started at Risk Services/Insurica as a receptionist, chatting with clients and making sure they were connected with whoever could best serve their needs. But she soon began to gain an interest in the larger workings of the industry and wanted to get her insurance license. After about two years, she became an account service specialist and hasn’t looked back since. “I think my experience at the front desk helped me to better understand the needs of the people we serve,” she says. “By now, many of our clients and I are on a first-name basis.” When coupled with the mentorship of some of our seasoned experts on staff, she’s become an invaluable resource to our company and the many folks she works with every day. Outside of the office, Aubrey is an avid reader, especially of the science fiction and fantasy genres. Though she’s busy, she tries to get out and travel as often as she can. Recently, she just returned from Chicago, and though she loved her time there, she jokes that she “wouldn’t have survived the cold.” At any rate, we’re glad she’s stuck with us and continued to grow her skills. As a member of the new guard of account managers, she’s part of a promising future for our company. We can’t wait to see all the great things she accomplishes in the coming years.
2 • www.insurica.com • Specialized Insurance Programs for Specialized Industries.
The 3 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats to Your Business
Phishing If employee negligence is the main security gap in your organization, phishing is the tactic by which criminals most commonly exploit it. By sending emails masquerading as a trusted entity — an IT expert within your company or a service professional working on one of your accounts — hackers can convince users to click through links that install ransomware or other malicious software into your system. Phishing emails can be extremely convincing even to the savvy, but learning to recognize them is an essential piece of any security strategy. Hacking Of course, many cybercriminals still swear by tried-and-true, brute- force tactics, searching for vulnerabilities in your network by which they can punch through. Oftentimes, this will be some opening left by a software update you forgot to download, a patch you installed just a few days too late. All hackers need is a single entry point that lacks the robust security needed to keep them at bay, and they’re in. With this in mind, it’s essential to protect the entirety of your “attack surface” with the most up-to-date, powerful protection you can afford. Sudoku
Today, businesses large and small are being targeted and breached by cybercriminals at an unprecedented rate. A new, high-profile breach hits the news week after week, while nearly half of all small businesses suffer an attack in one form or another. Despite this, most business owners are potentially uninformed and under-prepared for a digital strike. Don’t be one of them. Start by reading up on these three common sources of data breaches, and safeguard your company against disaster. Human Error The wolves at your door may be scary, but ultimately, the No. 1 threat to your livelihood is your own employees. According to a 2017 study by Ponemon and Keeper Security, 54 percent of IT professionals say that careless workers are the prime source of cybersecurity incidents. Bad passwords, irresponsible clicks, or company laptops boosted from your local Starbucks can quickly invite a crisis into your business. That’s why you need comprehensive security protocols and training for everyone dealing with precious data.
Have a Laugh!
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INSIDE This Issue Brad Johnson Reaches Across the Aisle for 2019 page 1 Generation Z Is Coming — Are You Ready? Meet Aubrey Simpkins page 2 The 3 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats to Your Business Sudoku page 3
The Philosophy of Bill Walsh page 4
‘The Score Takes Care of Itself’ Bill Walsh on What It Means to Be a Leader
properly and whose pants may soon fall down.” For long-term success, you have to have a game plan.
The term “game changer” gets tossed around so much these days that it no longer seems to hold enough weight to describe a legendary coach like Bill Walsh. But how do you describe someone who quite literally changed the way football is played on the highest level? It takes incredible willpower to defy conventional wisdom and turn a struggling team into a powerhouse.
For Walsh, preparation for leadership begins by bracing yourself for the worst. A mantra repeated throughout the book is “expect defeat.” In business and in football, losses are just a fact of life; how you prepare for and respond to these crises will determine your team’s success. But the most valuable element of leadership in Walsh’s eyes is how you treat the members of your team. You need to have the courage to let them know you believe in them. Using simple but earnest positive reinforcement, this legendary coach turned the 49ers into an incredible team, and the benefits show. Segments of the book contain anecdotes and reflections from players such as Joe Montana and Randy Cross, whose deep admiration for their former leader speak volumes. “The Score Takes Care of Itself” was published posthumously. Walsh’s son, Craig, did much of the legwork to piece this definitive portrait together. What we are left with is a truly insightful read from one of the most innovative, inspiring minds in sports history. It will be a long time before a book like this comes around again.
In Walsh’s memoir on leadership, “The Score Takes Care of Itself,” he explores the philosophy that guided him through his coaching career and led him to success. Working with award-winning author Steve Jamison, the two distill Walsh’s decades of experience into a comprehensive guide that can be used by coaches and CEOs alike. One theme throughout the book is the idea that sound fundamentals trump instincts. As Walsh aptly puts it, “Hearing someone described as being able to ‘fly by the seat of his pants’ always suggests to me a leader who hasn’t prepared
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