Where Do Heroes Come From?

James A Schlueter

January 30, 2022

Heroes are great. They set the bar high, and they make things happen. When they do their thing, most of us stand back and watch in awe. But, who are these people? Where do they come from? What makes them so unique?

Overall, they tend to be just everyday people that share a common mission with their group. However, when the group gets mired down and can't seem to push forward, the hero rises to show the way forward. A hero is a person who sees an opportunity and can somehow cut through the various sources of resistance. The hero does what's necessary to reach the goal. As often as not, their efforts come with a certain amount of personal risk and occasionally personal cost.

Claim organizations today are struggling with the complexities of aging infrastructures, siloed management systems, disconnected data, and an inability to scale to the demands of their markets. Add to those issues the new pressures created by COVID and the great resignation. Let's face it; there's real trouble brewing in River City. These issues are increasingly landing on the C-Suite's priority list.

Subsequently, businesses have launched new multi-disciplinary teams with great names like the strategic innovation team, center for tech evolution, the digital transformation team with high hopes and great expectations. Unfortunately, they tend to be quickly battered on the rocks of culture, history, and finance. It's funny that people tend to want change, provided it's not in their department or from their budget. In a flash, politics takes root. Progress runs up against an insurmountable wall of resistance as disruption and disintegration eat away at the momentum.

Heroes, however, possess an ability to synthesize the many issues getting twisted into the digital tornado. They can refocus on the common and critical manageable threads and restore a sense of unity and forward momentum. Heroes realize that pushing grandiose technologies and expensive products present more of a threat than a solution to many of the stakeholders. Subsequently, heroes will reframe the mission to more hands-on issues that bring it home. For example, "how can we enable the frontline professionals to become more productive and feel more successful in their jobs?"

Time and again, we’ve witnessed how reframing the mission from a technology and innovation discussion to one of empowerment can dramatically change the dynamics of the process.

The hero creates a far less threatening atmosphere, and the team's productivity escalates. They shift the topic from assessing issues that most stakeholders have little education or experience with to areas where each stakeholder has direct experiences and opinions. Most of the team can now rattle off a list of things that need to change in a single breath. Spend ten minutes with any of your current frontline folks, and you'll likely get an earful of ways time is wasted pushing paper, looking things up, filing reports, entering items multiple times, flipping between numerous software products, etc.

By clarifying the business strategy and objectives to issues common to every stakeholder, these heroes enable an iterative project management process to evolve. Of course, they still have to deal with cultural issues that present as blockages. However, these tend to be issues relating to fear of change. The benefit of such blockages is they tend to be easily identifiable and concrete. Such problems are understandable. Effective change management leadership can resolve them. Whereas, launching a team to address amorphous characterless concepts of innovation and technology aimed at changing the way the stakeholders have worked for years is giving failure a stakeholder seat at your table.

There’s no doubt that technology will be an important component of the solutions needed to get a step ahead of our changing world. But technology is a tool, not a solution.

Technology is little more than a lubricant enabling a more effective and efficient workflow process. The solutions that will effectively address problems facing today's claim organizations need to be owned by the frontline operational teams. Successful transitions will require technology configurations that present as non-threatening tools to eliminate redundant, repetitive, and routine tasks and decisions. The transitions need to seamlessly integrate various support tools that augment the decision capabilities of your team. As a result, the eventual solutions will more likely be constellations of several diverse components rather than any single product - much to the angst of many vendors.

If the tools are integrated correctly, they will become an active part of the user's day, and remain virtually invisible to the user.

Doing it correctly involves integrating the strategy and tactical tools within the day-to-day operations. This process greatly improves the odds of long-term success by building internal support and buy-in to the process. The process involves operationalizing the ideas from the strategy development sessions as a reality. Finally, the day-to-day management must continue through a process supporting successive evolutions. The process leads to an ongoing improvement process recognizing needs change and new ideas arise from direct user experiences.

We've been fortunate to have worked with many corporate heroes on such projects going on 15 years now. Working with these heroes has been very enlightening. We've learned that while the industry's core functions are relatively standard, every organization has its interpretation and preferred methodology arrived at over years of practice. It's a little like dancing the tango. You've got to be fluid in this business or you'll fall flat. Delivering systems that integrate disparate software and data systems, automate critical but routine tasks and decisions, and enable seamless interactions between multi-disciplinary teams on a single platform, are essential to serving the claim industry today. However, failure to account for cultural issues will sow the seeds that will cripple a project over the long term.

First, our strategies eliminate the menial tasks and decisions better managed by automation. Second, they integrate various technology applications that can support the decision requirements of the frontline user Our strategies further our goal to create systems that support the needs of the human teams such that they can maximize their skillsets and enjoy a more productive, rewarding, and satisfying work experience It's really just that simple Everything else is just flash and sizzle.

The advances in workflow management that we have pioneered stem from the commonalities of many real-life situations. Our success stems from recognizing that technology is a lubricant, not the solution. Long-term solutions come from working with people doing their actual jobs, understanding their requirements, creating less complicated workflows, and integrating decision assistance tools where and when they benefit the user. It's interesting that as complex as BaseLine's tools are, they are relatively inexpensive, easy to implement, and non-disruptive.

Bottomline, we can help your heroes drive your success.

We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issues you are facing. The old ways of doing business are rapidly becoming untenable. We can help you sharpen your edge, cut through the nonsense, and move your company forward.

To learn more, give our CRO, Don Adams, a call at: 224-543-6251

Alternatively, you may visit our website at

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