Godfrey Kioi is Managing Director at Heritage Insurance Kenya.
I’m usually up at 4.30am. I go to the gym four times a week. My days are usually varied. My comfort zone is to be in the office, but my job dictates that I need to be in the market. I am challenging myself to spend more time talking and listening to customers unless I’m in meetings.
I am an accountant. That means I am quite comfortable to sit with a calculator and excel spreadsheets and not have to speak to people. When it became clear that my role was going to change — that was more than twelve years ago — I had to reckon with having to speak my mind, having to stand up and share my ideas in front of and with people, and speak for the brand I work for. I went on a journey — and I am still on that journey — of changing from an accountant comfortable in front of a spreadsheet to being comfortable in front of people and articulating my ideas. The biggest accomplishment for me has been rebranding myself.
My leadership style is open. I am present, engaged, lead by example, and also demanding. I have been fortunate to have bosses, including my current boss, who have modelled the peinciple of leading by example. They wouldn’t ask me to do things they are not prepared to do. I have the same mentality. Leadership is about having followers; you can’t be a leader without followers. What that means is it isn’t about you, it’s about us and where we are going. I don’t always see myself as a leader. Sometimes I allow others to lead because they are better than me in some areas.
I love the sense of expectation that comes with what I do. When I was growing in my career and something needed to be done, I would think it was someone else’s duty. Today, I don’t have the luxury of looking around, expecting somebody else to do it. If something has to be done, I don’t have to be the doer necessarily, but I have to enable it to happen and champion that happening. The opportunity to ignite actions is exciting.
One of the challenges we face as an industry is mistrust. We need many happy stories about insurance companies meeting the promises they made to help change the narrative. Fraud is the main reason to blame: we don’t know who to trust and who not to, therefore we require all manner of documents and investigations before we pay. All these things slow the process down and take away credibility from insurance. Technology will be one of the factors to help build trust. Heritage Insurance recently launched Auto Correct motor insurance powered by telematics technology, a method of capturing and processing driving data. The product captures and transmits a driver’s driving behaviour and profile (these include speed, location, distance travelled and how they accelerate and brake). This insurance policy makes the claims process faster, helps reduce fraud, premium costs and accidents on the road and reward good driving.
I’ve received a lot of career advice over the years but the one that made a lot of sense is the need to see the bigger picture and aspire for more than just what I have. That helped me when I made the jump from accountancy to life operations and moving to the next level and to the next. You need to have a learning attitude every day and admit that you don’t know everything and that is okay. The important thing is to know where to get help when you need it. The best career advice I’d give is, be good at what you’re doing and make it a habit. If you make it a habit, you’ll become excellent at it and people reward excellence.
My children are off to university so my spouse and I are adjusting to an empty nest. Saturdays are now my time — I will catch up with work where I can or will see friends. I’m currently reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. In it I’m learning that is your habits define you and if you do things consistently, you become an expert. Also, you can form new habits if you want to. I’m part of a group that is involved in redefining the school I went to, help it back to its feet and allow others to enjoy the benefits that we enjoyed. On Sundays, I go to church and later spend time with my spouse.
Source: Sunday Magazine