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The Lead: Disrupting the Auto Insurance Industry, U.S. Woman Wins NY Marathon

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Disrupting the Auto Insurance Industry

In the past it was difficult to compare auto insurance quotes, because you had to check different websites and re-enter your information each time. The startup EverQuote is changing that with their comparison shopping marketplace that helps their customers find lower prices. EverQuote was featured in the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies for 2017.

Our View: One of the keys to surviving disruption is developing a disruption of your own. Examples of this include Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer and Apple’s iPod, iTunes, iPad, and iPhone. Sometimes disruption is more of a process than a single event that rolls out slowly and incompletely. For example, over a century after the invention of air transport, cargo ships still traverse the globe. With the many ways disruption can unfold, it is important to identify your relative advantages in comparison to your disrupter’s business model and understand what conditions could help or hinder your disrupter from impacting your current advantages in the future. Further Reading

First U.S. Woman to Win New York Marathon Since 1977

Last Sunday Shalane Flanagan became the first U.S. woman since 1977 to win the New York City Marathon. She beat the three-time former winner Mary Keitany of Kenya by a minute and finished in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds. Flanagan shared, “these are the moments we dream of as athletes. This is going to feel good for a really long time.”

Our View: Preparation and diligent training allows athletes to take advantage of opportune moments. Business leaders must prepare for opportunities as well, because organizations suffer when leaders aren’t ready to seize opportunity. Leaders must align their actions with their goals and have the resources ready for opportunities in every realm, including opportunities created through innovation, disruptive trends, customers, and macroeconomics. Further Reading

Hearing Technology Company Eargo Raised Series C Funding

The direct-to-consumer hearing technology company Eargo is working to revolutionize the hearing technology market. They have created the world’s smallest and arguably, most comfortable rechargeable hearing aid. They raised $45 million in Series C Funding. Eargo hopes to decrease the stigma associated with hearing loss, as 80% of the 48 million Americans currently experiencing hearing loss do not purchase a hearing device.

Our View: From the abstract notion of believing in their product to the practical preparation of doing their homework, there’s a lot leaders can do to attract funding for their organization. Travel site Hipmunk’s founder advises other leaders that they must make sure they’re filling a real need before raising significant funding and also demonstrate how engaged users are with their product. When seeking investment, leaders of startups should optimize for what they really want, not just valuation. Further Reading

EpiPen Failures

EpiPens contain the hormone epinephrine and are used to lessen allergic reactions that can sometimes kill. When EpiPens do not deploy correctly, they are ineffective. According to reports by patients and physicians made to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the failures of the lifesaving EpiPen device have been cited in seven deaths and the hospitalization of 35 people this year.

Our View: Leaders must have a role in the quality management of their organization’s products or services regardless of whether or not they provide a lifesaving utility. Establish a shared vision with common values throughout your organization. Act as a role model to inspire employees to engage in quality management initiatives based on a common mission. Further Reading

The Impending Departure of the Smart Speaker

While in the short-term sales of the smart speaker will continue to rise, the device’s (such as the Amazon Echo) days are numbered. The tech giants who manufacture these devices are not worried because the value in these smart speakers are not the hardware, but rather the digital assistant, which can be built into essentially any device.

Our View: Business leaders should take a systems approach and always be looking at the “big picture” during all phases of product development. This ensures that their business can meet the needs of the market that truly drive growth. Further Reading

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