In 2001, Guidewire’s founders saw an opportunity to solve a major problem facing most, if not all, property and casualty insurers. Here’s the problem: The legacy software these insurers used was decades old, cumbersome and inflexible.Accordingly, the team established and began building guide wireGuidewire is a user-friendly cloud platform that helps insurers attract customers, innovate products and services, and grow their businesses more efficiently and faster.
After a decade of rapid construction and growth, Guidewire went public in 2012. Since then, the company has continued its rapid growth trajectory. Currently, there are over 3200 employees in his company, including 400 leaders. Their offices have expanded beyond their original headquarters in San Mateo, California, with offices in Europe, Australia and Asia, for a total of 21 offices.
With this kind of growth, it’s difficult to build a system of leadership development and learning to keep pace or, ideally, stay two steps ahead. As the company enters a new stage of growth, Wendy KleinfeldtKleinfeldt is Guidewire’s new Global Head of Learning and Organizational Development. The idea behind her new role is to first design Guidewire’s enterprise learning strategy. Second, Kleinfeldt’s role is fun, employee-driven, and performed with scalable solutions that meet the growing needs of the business.
In this interview, Kleinfeldt shared four key insights about her work and strategy.
1. Long game: curiosity + growth mindset = culture of learning
Kleinfeldt sees curiosity and a growth mindset as essential ingredients for establishing a culture of learning.
Curiosity. A common misconception behind learning is that learning should always be formal, deliberate, and time consuming.. no surprise then Employees tend to be quick to say, “I don’t have time to learn.” Kleinfeldt pointed out that sparking curiosity and creating learning in the moment is the antidote to this “not enough time” problem. “If you think about it, employees are actually learning throughout a given day,” she said. “For example, employees ask colleagues for advice on projects, use Google to learn how to perform specific tasks, read expert posts on social media, and watch Netflix documentaries for entertainment. There are even times.” Employees clearly have time. All they need is a spark of curiosity and a delivery method that fits their workflow.
Growth Mindset: Kleinfeldt also plans to foster a growth mindset as part of the Guidewire culture. She intends to do so by creating an environment where learning is shared, fun, and conducive to growth. This means providing employees with transparency into Guidewire’s definition of success and making growth and upskilling opportunities clear and accessible.
2. Creating a leadership framework that drives culture
Another important way Kleinfeldt aims to build a culture of learning is by putting together a leadership framework. This framework serves as a rubric that defines what it means to be a Guidewire leader and what behaviors and practices are expected. This framework also includes a set of corporate values and capabilities at its foundation.
Establishing consistent representations, definitions, and expectations of good leadership helps Guidewire determine how to recruit, develop, and promote leaders. This benefits Guidewire in several important ways. First, leaders are often the deciding factor in whether people leave or stay, helping to engage and retain talent. Second, it helps leaders articulate how they adapt to an ever-changing environment. As Guidewire evolves, leaders are expected to not only drive the business, but guide people through transformation and stay agile to market conditions.
The process of building a leadership framework can be complicated, but Kleinfeldt also emphasizes “scrap,” starting with a simplified approach and iterating along the way. This approach involves starting with existing corporate values and principles to extrapolate expected behavior. She also collects input from various stakeholders across the business and HR teams.
3. How Grassroots Learning Models Can Help You Gain Momentum Despite Busy Schedules
One of the biggest challenges Kleinfeldt and her team face is common in fast-growing companies. It’s the feeling of “I need to develop and upskill now” and the feeling of “I don’t have time”. Instead of forcing an environment of large programs and many formal events, her response was to build a more grassroots academic practice. will do so. Then use their enthusiasm and momentum to drive continuous learning behavior.
For example, Kleinfeldt has created two programs consisting of bi-monthly webinars that can be scaled to all employees and managers worldwide. Employees can vote on topics they want to participate in, and they can even volunteer to speak. Interest and participation grew rapidly, and a variety of topics were readily available. Professional and leadership development topics such as inclusive hiring practices, how to lead like a coach, how to own a career, and unique topics such as managing neurodiverse team members.
4. Adopt a learning consultant mindset
What is Kleinfeldt’s advice to leadership development professionals like her? The most important action I took was building strong relationships. In her role, Kleinfeldt plays a thought leader, strategist, and consultant. To be successful, she couldn’t just walk in and execute a rigid plan right away. I focused on asking questions over.
For example, when Kleinfeldt first joined Guidewire, she assumed responsibility for the existing global leadership development program for senior leaders. She took a closer look at the program and considered the potential for optimizing it for greater business impact. First, she clarified the purpose and purpose of the program. What was the business problem the program was intended to solve, and did the design provide the right level of solution?
Through a series of data gathering activities, including surveys, focus groups, and conversations with other leaders and HR business partners, Kleinfeldt gained insight into how the program performed and which components added the most value. . So far, the most-liked activity involved a simulation of running Guidewire as an executive for several days. Dive deep into the practice of emotional intelligence over two days. and one-on-one coaching sessions.
The company’s primary need was to build a strong bench of leaders who act as coaches, develop teams, and drive purpose. This helped inform the focus of the program. LEADERSHIP INSIGHTS AND FEEDBACK Based on his data, Kleinfeldt was then able to redesign the learning experience to align with key leadership behaviors, while still revising the past efforts that went into building the program. respected.
Lessons for your organization
So here’s what we can learn from Kleinfeldt:
1. Set big long-term goals (such as building a culture of learning) and plan around those goals.
2. Move slowly in the short term, move fast in the long term: Sometimes you need to move slowly to be able to move quickly in the future. If you’re looking to scale your solution for a growing company, check out the essential HR processes and systems that support your workforce.
3. Simple, grassroots, employee-driven learning goes a long way in sparking interest and engagement.
4. Become a learning consultant. Take the time to build relationships and partnerships across your organization.
Kevin Kruse is the founder and CEO of lead x, a platform that scales and maintains leadership habits through micro-coaching and behavioral nudging.Kevin too new york times best-selling author of great leaders have no rules, 15 Time Management Secrets Successful People Know, When Employee Engagement 2.0.
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