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“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody is not thinking.”

George S. Patton

I watched this 3.5 minute Ted Talk the other day, and it got me thinking about groupthink. The premise was on how to start a movement. Still, my thought is that movement, when followed blindly and unquestioned, leads people to follow an idea blindly and not question the group’s underlying assumptions.

The definition of groupthink as defined by the Cambridge dictionary is this:

the process in which bad decisions are made by group because its members do not want to express opinionssuggest new ideas, etc. that others may disagree with:

Most of us thought the product wouldn’t sell, but nobody told the boss – that’s the danger of groupthink.

In essence, a set of assumptions, best practices, and language are adopted by the group and unquestioned moving forward based on the fact that the group perpetuates these things through its discourse, speech, and actions.

Groupthink can be dangerous enough within a small group or a company. Still, when it expands to an industry, such as insurance, real issues, such as commoditization and distrust by those outside the industry, can quickly become a reality.

The insurance industry, like many others, drink their Kool-Aid. They read each other’s papers and social media feeds, attend each other’s conferences, listen to the same speakers repeatedly, and utilize the talents they know from inside the industry to market themselves outside the industry.

This insularization is dangerous at best, and it is not a practice that only exists within insurance.

Many industries are the same.

By only listening and talking to those within their industry, they are unaware of the things they are unaware of.

They do not attend conferences or read materials from outside their industry and, therefore, are not exposed to different ideas, different points of view, and other ways of solving similar challenges.

Like other industries, insurance must wake up and expose themselves to a different language, ways of thinking, communication methods, and customer experience if it wants to evolve. To stop being deemed a necessary commodity but rather as a value add service worth paying for by their clientele.

Too many people in insurance will not look at marketing, public relations, or branding firms that are not entrenched in the insurance industry.


The argument I get over and over again is that those outside the industry “do not understand us and our needs.”

This is a ridiculous statement. Are you communicating to yourselves, or are you communicating to people who do not speak your language, believe what you do, and have different wants, needs, and desires?

I would say YES!

Communication is not about you and how wonderful you are. It is about enabling others to trust you and believe that your solution solves the issues they currently have better than your competition’s solution.

How are you supposed to gain their trust and differentiate yourself from your competition when you look, sound, and messaging feels like everyone else around you?

Those who succeed in any industry do so because they realize that they do not think, act, or react like others within their industry.  They act like themselves and do what is necessary to build relationships with those they can genuinely help. That is innovative thinking and cannot be solved through insurance’s current groupthink model.

I urge those who want to be different, stand out, and be seen as valuable to take the time to go to your clients’ conferences, listen to how they speak, what concerns them, and tailor your communication accordingly.

I urge you to stop using the same vendors as your competition and look for people who can help you tell your story in an authentic and meaningful way that resonates with your clients.

I urge you not to think that just because your competitors and industry partners think and act a certain way, you should as well.

To move forward and thrive in the new economy will take vision. Communicating more effectively, a strong understanding of purpose, culture, brand, and, most importantly, unabashed leadership is willing to set a distinct course and make sure that those on their teams understand and believe in the new direction.

It is argued who should be attributed with this quote, but it is the one I will leave you with:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


Here is wishing everyone health, safety, and long-term success.

Connect with Ben HERE to discuss how to provide your people with the skills and mindset they need to lead teams effectively into the new normal.


About Ben Baker

Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset … your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify, and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Retain Employees Through Leadership. The author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the IHEART Radio syndicated show, he writes extensively on leadership, brand, and internal communication strategy.

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