Merlin Law Group - November 2019

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Execute Strategy and Kill Stagnancy 3 Tips for Every Business Leader

“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed ... Execution is worth millions.” –Steve Jobs Anyone can take this advice to heart, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Ideas are easy, but no one becomes successful because they had a great idea. Success comes from putting that idea into action. Being able to execute a plan is a skill every business leader needs. Here are three steps to help you improve your execution. 1. Ditch Perfection Have you ever watched a behind-the-scenes featurette of your favorite movie? Some of the most successful films were all but unrecognizable in their early phases. In fact, a lot of early concepts are terrible. Look up the original designs for Woody in “Toy Story” to see for yourself. Fortunately, rather than wait for the perfect script, creators executed their visions and make changes as needed. Putting off action in favor of creating the perfect plan or strategy leads to stagnant business. Successful people know that plans take many shapes before they reach their final form. Don’t jump into something without a clear plan, but don’t be afraid to define your strategy as you go.

There’s a reason audiences won’t be flocking to theaters to watch the latest galactic adventures of Luke Starkiller this December. 2. Be Methodical While you shouldn’t wait for the perfect plan, you shouldn’t be flying in blind, either. You can be too energetic about execution. Make sure everyone involved in a plan knows their responsibilities. Confusion will torpedo any strategy faster than you can say, “Who was in charge of this?” The Harvard Business Review states, “Having the discipline to organize people, assemble resources, and then generate a plan that others can commit to will collectively improve execution.” 3. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate We’re not saying you should micromanage your team, but you do need to be checking in on a regular basis to evaluate progress on your plan. Schedule monthly or quarterly meetings to go over the strategy. This is where you look for any changes that need to be made and refine the strategy. A smart strategy feels reassuring, but learning to execute a plan is the only way to make progress. The best business plan in the world is worthless if you never follow through.

From the Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog Arson of Vacant House: Covered Fire Loss or Excluded Vandalism?

In a recent case,1 a federal appeals court addressed the issue of whether fire damage to a vacant dwelling from an arsonist was considered distinct from vandalism, so as to not implicate an exclusion within a homeowner’s insurance policy. In that case, Wells Fargo Bank owned an insurance policy for an abandoned house that an arsonist set ablaze. The insured sued its insurer after the insurer refused to indemnify the insured for the loss, relying on a policy provision exclusion for damage caused by “vandalism or malicious mischief” after the property had been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days. While the terms “vandalism” and “malicious mischief” were not defined by the policy, the insurer determined the arson fell within the exclusion and urged the court that the usually accepted meanings of the words used suggested that arson should qualify as vandalism. After reviewing different definitions of the words from different sources, however, the court noted the difficulty in deciding the case on words alone. Consequently, the court searched the policy for connotative clues. In doing so, it noted that the policy’s personal property coverage section listed fire loss separately from loss caused by vandalism or malicious mischief. The court then looked toward the policy’s arson-reward provision2 for what it thought was the

decisive bit of context. There, the policy’s sole reference to arson indicated that arson was at least sometimes, if not always, considered a fire loss.

Ultimately, the court found that without clear language excluding loss caused by fire resulting from vandalism, and in light of other indications in the policy, arson could be considered a fire loss (not vandalism). It could not say the policy unambiguously permitted the insurer to deny coverage for arson under the vandalism exclusion. Therefore, because the policy was ambiguous with respect to whether this particular arson was a covered or excluded loss, the court had to resolve the ambiguity in favor of the insured. 1 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Allstate Ins. Co ., Case No. 18-4206, 2019 WL 3960614 (6th Cir. Aug. 22, 2019). 2 The policy’s arson-reward provision provided that the insurer will pay “for information leading to an arson conviction in connection with a fire loss to property covered under Section I of this policy.” (Emphasis added)

Article by Paul LaSalle (Sept. 14, 2019). For more informative articles like this one, visit

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