We often hear how Henry Engelhardt, Founder and CEO emeritus, has inspired many people: both inside and outside the Admiral Group - whether that is from working with him closely, or from simply hearing one of his many memorable speeches. So, we wanted to share a small insight from a recent talk he gave at INSEAD in May 2020.
"Admiral is moving into the future. Next year, Milena Mondini, will take up the reins of Admiral when she becomes CEO. It will be the first time in our history that we won’t be run by one of our founders. As we transition to this new era, we are looking for the next generation of leaders, business builders, and managers. We need people who are bright, hungry, intelligent, and decent. That’s why we keep coming back to recruit MBAs from some of the best business schools in the world. Milena needs the strongest people she can find to take Admiral to the next level. There are no barriers to what Admiral can achieve. There are no blinkers on what businesses we achieve it in.
For those of you, who see Admiral as an Insurance company, I say: that's what we mostly do now. But the future? Who knows?
We’re looking for people who can be great leaders, managers, business people, and people. We don’t really care what industry you’ve come from. In fact, in many regards, knowing little or nothing about insurance can be an advantage.
Whatever your experience, we’re looking for people who can take nothing and make something; we’re looking for people who make teams better; we’re looking for people who can inspire and motivate those around them; we’re looking for people who can grow into being great leaders. Why not you?
So, what does it take to be a great leader and manager?
One – make great decisions. This involves gathering and interrogating data. Two different skills, both very important. It involves teamwork – the buck stops with all of us, not any single individual. The team, the team, the team. And, ultimately, it involves decisiveness. To make a great decision you must make a decision!
Two – be great with people. This means understanding some of our simple philosophies, like "If people like what they do, they’ll do it better" – so we go out of our way to create a culture where people really like their jobs. It means understanding how important you are to the people you manage. Understanding how important little things, like saying good morning or goodnight, are. It means being a great communicator.
Three – be creative. This means you have to do things differently to succeed. Something has to be different; either the offer to your customers, your product design, the way you manage the process, the way you get more energy from your people…something. Great managers are very creative: they push others to see opportunities and ideas that would normally get buried in a corporation.
If you can be great at those three things you can be a great leader. But there’s no formula. It’s not a recipe. If it was, we’d all just read it and become great leaders. It takes a lot of hard work. A lot of thought. And there is one special ingredient that is different in everyone’s recipe: you. We’re all different from each other and that means we all bring something special to the party.
I went to a good high school and did well, but not top of my class. I went to a good but not exclusive university. Again, I did well, but not top of my class. A few years later, I completed my MBA at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools. I didn’t make the Dean’s List. What I’m trying to say is that I am not, by any means, extraordinary. So, if I can achieve what I’ve achieved, so can you!"