The Marsh & McLennan (MMC) Rising Professionals Forum undoubtedly claimed a spot on the highlight reel of my time so far at Haggie Partners. This was my first opportunity to attend an insurance conference and it was exciting to be sitting among a sea of young professionals, dressed in business attire, all within my age demographic. There was a feeling of newness and inspiration in the air and the thought that the future of the insurance market will soon be in the hands of my generation made each presentation that much more intriguing.
My favourite talk may have been the most basic, but it was a great way to kick off day two of the conference as it opened the audience’s minds and set a good precedent for the rest of the day. It was a talk by Peter Hearn, president and chief executive officer of Guy Carpenter (the reinsurance broking arm of MMC). He spoke about future proofing and the importance of mindset. He prefaced his main points stating that future proofing is incredibly important due to the rapid growth of technology and the drastic difference between the generation entering the workforce now and the generation that is nearing retirement. He said that the narrative of most companies is changing, and it is our job to flow with the transformations and mould ourselves to the inevitable truth that a new way of thinking has come.
The most effective way to surrender to this change is to focus on mindset, and to be open to tweaking how you perceive and approach situations. A book by Carol Dweck, titled Mindset – Changing the Way You think to Fulfil Your Potential discusses the topic of the fixed versus the growth mindset and how the growth mindset is what everyone should be working towards. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities are simply fixed traits that cannot be changed. In a growth mindset, people thrive on challenge and see failure as an opportunity for growth. Hearn quoted this book numerous times during his talk, and wholeheartedly supported the growth mindset and emphasised how it is so important for people working in insurance or business to adopt this new way of thinking.
A fixed mindset leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to avoid challenges and give up easily. It also causes one to see effort as fruitless, ignore useful negative feedback and feel threatened by the success of others. On the other hand, a growth mindset leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to embrace challenges. It also enhances persistence in the face of setbacks and promotes one to learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. The growth mindset is all about staying open and accepting criticism as a positive tool meant to guide you in your growth and a way for you to constantly better yourself.
Embracing the growth mindset is crucial for any individual because it helps generate creativity and enhance personal drive. A large portion of the older generation has been conditioned to stick with a fixed mindset, but this has caused the corporate world to become stagnant and the truth has been revealed that the way people were working before did not make them happy. Work takes up a massive amount of our lives, so why not have fun with it, think differently, put your own spin on an idea or a business venture? Why not view life as a journey centred around growth and the aim to become a better version of yourself every day? The world is evolving quickly, therefore our minds need to as well. This new movement is something to get excited about, and it will bring forth a completely new set of possibilities for insurance and the corporate world.