AIG Is Laying Out Life Lessons for the Future of Its Workforce

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Education prepares us for much of what to expect when we enter the adult world. From groundings in math, English, science, and languages, to developing the social skills which will help us build strong relationships in our lives, school is arguably where our real-life experiences begin.

However, there is much we don't learn from school which many think we should. Nobody ever taught us how to file a tax return or negotiate a good mortgage deal, and there were no classes on human rights or how to sort reliable information from bad. Similarly, there were no lessons which laid out how to act within the workforce, or how to get the most out of any teams you might end up leading.

It's this last point which AIG wanted to address with seven solid lessons on how to run and operate within a successful team.

#1 Speak Up for Yourself and Others

When working in a team, one of the core principles which will dictate its success is how those within it treat one another. Does your team have a culture of fairness and equality, or are there people in it who would rather bully their way to the top of the pile? If your answer is the latter, then the team is likely to perform badly as morale suffers and people become reluctant to collaborate.

It's crucial that people are given the encouragement and space to speak up for themselves and others. This will build a strong foundation of fairness within the team, so those who would disrupt its harmony will be aware that they're likely to be called out.

#2 Don't Shy Away from Risk

Anything worth achieving in this world involves a certain amount of risk. You risked rejection when you applied for your job, and you risk failure every time you take on a fresh challenge or try something new.

However, it's crucial to success that you never let risk dissuade you from taking up a challenge. Of course, once you've appropriately assessed the risk, it's fine to decide that its relationship with potential reward makes the idea inviable - after all, that's how banks decide whether to grant a loan or credit card to an applicant - but the fear of risk alone shouldn't be enough to kill an idea before it's been given a chance to breathe.

If an idea seems risky, ask yourself if anything can be done to mitigate it. Maybe there are extra skills or personnel you can acquire which will better equip you to meet the challenge. If nobody was willing to take risks, no business would ever get off the ground.

#3 Embrace Diversity

We've covered the benefits of diversity to great extent in other articles in this series. But, in summary, diversity should never be seen as a simple box-ticking exercise or marketing angle. A diverse team means diverse ideas - people from different backgrounds will bring a range of life experiences and ideas to the table from which your team can only benefit.

#4 Never Rest on Your Laurels

No matter how successful your business is and how much experience you've gained over the years, never think you cannot learn something new.

You should always be taking a good honest look at yourself and identifying those areas in which you can improve. If you recently completed a project which you found particularly challenging, you should ask yourself what skills you were lacking which made it seem so difficult. Then, see if you can arrange a training day for you and your team, so when similar projects come up in the future, you'll all be better equipped to handle it.

#5 Network

When it comes to business, you can never know too many people. You should always be looking for opportunities to network and meet new faces to see if and how they could slot into your operations.

It might be that a new employee could plug a skill gap in your team, or a contact could serve as a link between you and that hot client you're desperate to land. Whatever the reason, make sure you're always out meeting new people and adding to your contact list.

#6 Seek Mentors

This ties into #4 and #5, but always be on the lookout for people from which you can learn. The great thing about our constantly-connected world is that you don't necessarily have to have ever met these people face to face.

Discover the key influencers in your industry and consume their content as much as possible — whether they write post blogs, host video seminars, give talks in person, or just tweet an awful lot. Following these influential figures will enable you to glean new insights and perform better in your role.

#7 Take Responsibility

Great team members celebrate their successes, sure, but they also take responsibility for their mistakes. Never shy away from admitting you got it wrong when that's the case. People will respect you for your honesty and integrity, and you will establish yourself as a professional who isn't going to throw a colleague under the bus to save face. This helps you build one of the most important characteristics a successful team requires - trust.

Final Thoughts

"Remember that the way you treat others is the way others will perceive and treat you," said Global Chief Operating Officer for Investments at AIG, Elaine Rocha. "The measure of someone's success is not their job, their career, or their title, it's the impact they have on the people and the culture of their workplace and in turn, the impact they have on society."

You can hear AIG Life & Retirement's Head of Talent Acquisition, Cecilia Lee, speak at HR Financial Services 2019, taking place this October at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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