Why I joined the Ninety team
Just after Easter, in the middle of the pandemic, I joined Ninety as Client Partner for Europe.
I wanted to share the three factors that drove my decision to join Ninety after 11 years of running my own businesses.
My hope is that there are lessons for other organizations to consider as they redefine themselves for the post-Covid world.
Factor 1 – Purpose
Ninety is a consultancy that helps insurance companies become more innovative. From the profits of this work they give 90% to the effort to solve global poverty. When I started and grew my first consultancy, Matter, we had a hugely talented team. My business partner and I shared a very solid vision for the work we wanted to do and we built a fantastic portfolio of clients. We missed just one critical ingredient. We had no purpose, other than to make money. Before I talk about the emotional journey of joining a purpose-driven organization, I want to talk about the practicalities of purpose. Practically, I see five benefits of building your business on a purpose:
- Decisions are made simple.
- Purpose attracts the clients you want to work with.
- Purpose attracts the team you want to build.
- Culture is built around a solid core.
- It’s like having a bulletproof jacket.
Each of these subjects deserve their own exploration, but that’s not something I’m going to dwell on here. Instead I want to highlight just how beneficial purpose is to core business. Having run a consultancy without this core purpose, I see the practical benefits to both my role and the leadership of the company. As a potential employee, there is, of course, also an emotional journey tied into purpose and, as I weighed up the pros and cons of continuing on my own as a consultant versus joining Ninety, the fact that they give away 90% of their profits in and of itself is good, but it wasn’t the main draw. The main draw was the reflection of that common purpose in the team.
Factor 2 – People
At the first lunch I had with Ninety, we started talking about fermentation, mushrooms and permaculture. We also talked chickens, Blockchain and, of course, insurance. I felt that these were my people. The team that Ninety has built is full to the brim, not just of talent; it was ethos, energy and openness combined that brought the organisation literally to life. This is most likely a combination of having that purpose to engage potential team members and very pragmatic, diligent and thoughtful recruiting. Something I experienced first-hand. As I grow the team for our European business, I look forward to building on the playful and energised culture we have as a team already.
Factor 3 – Insurance
It turns out, I’m an insurance geek! Because:
It’s a people business.
I’ve always liked solving complex and challenging problems and that is exactly what you get in the world of insurance. Perhaps that is because it is an industry built to reflect the problems the real-world faces. If there is a spike in cyber-crime, there is a need for new products to insure against cyber-crime. If there is a pandemic, there needs to be innovation to insure against it.
Of course, because all the risks being insured for are in the future, the whole industry is built around a future-focused mindset combined with a strong aversion to risk. As an innovator, I look forward to showing how best-in-class innovation is so well-matched to this mindset.