Unleashing Potential: Transforming Businesses with Strategic Leadership

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    Trust Your Instincts in Projecting Sales

    Prudential capitalized a new business to sell an innovative product that I had been responsible for developing. The product was developed for a new market that arose because of new accounting rules adopted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and I was asked to be the CEO for that new business.

    My boss asked me to project sales for the first three years. I asked him how I was supposed to do that, given that it was a completely new product being sold into a completely new market and given that there were no comparable statistics which could be used to make an informed guess about the future. His answer was “tough, you have to make the sales projections.” So, I threw together some numbers off the top of my head: “best,” “worst,” and “probable” sales projected out three years.

    Four years later, he asked me to pull out the projections to see how we did. After freaking out a bit, I pulled them out. To my amazement, our sales had been roughly the same as my “probable” projected sales.

    The lesson was that a person who has intimate familiarity with a new product and a new market probably can make a good estimate of likely success.

    Never Say Never

    There have been a couple of times when I have been told that “it’s impossible.” Both of those times, upon consideration, I felt that achieving the objective was possible. It would just take a little bit of effort.

    The first such incident involved one of those “truths” in the life insurance industry that no one questioned. My answer was one of my favorites: “Yes, but ….” In this case, the “but” was all we had to do was change state law. And getting state governments to change the law would only require that we explain the public policy justifications for supporting the change that we wanted.

    We had good public policy justifications, we went to the legislators who could implement the legislative changes, they found our explanations persuasive, and they enacted the legislation that we wanted. The prospective client was thrilled and rewarded us by awarding the business to us rather than one of our competitors.

    The second such incident involved a regulatory hurdle rather than a legislative hurdle. We wanted one state insurance department to approve an innovative investment-oriented product that they had ruled in an Insurance Bulletin that they would not approve for sale.

    We explained that their Bulletin was appropriate in the retail market but that our product would be sold only to sophisticated institutions who were advised by many professionals – lawyers, accountants, financial executives, and investment personnel. The insurance department concurred in our assessment and approved the product for sales limited to that institutional market.

    The point is that anything can be done if there are sound reasons for doing it without adverse exposure to inappropriate risk. The further point is that the answer to a question should never be “it can’t be done,” but rather the answer should be “yes, but there are hurdles to overcome before achieving your objectives.”

    The Time to Ask Questions

    I have been impressed by the questions new employees ask that might not be asked for fear of appearing to be stupid. They ask questions that can be profound and those of us who have “been around for a while” would not have thought about asking.

    There are no stupid questions when new to a job.

    Dare to Make Mistakes

    I often told my staff that we needed to take every step necessary to obsolete our current products. Only by doing so with constant improvement could we keep the competition trailing behind us. Achieving that objective would require the risk of failure and making mistakes.

    Mistakes are a sign of pushing boundaries beyond what is generally considered satisfactory. They are opportunities for learning. That said, making the same mistake twice is unacceptable. Making the same mistake a third time should be grounds for termination.

    Perfection Usually is Too Expensive

    I have believed that perfection is unnecessary except in cases where it is essential to the mission (as in the case of making sure that the airframe of an aircraft has zero chance of failure with normal usage).

    Perfection is truly expensive in the general scheme of things. Ninety to ninety-five percent perfection is good enough. The cost of that last ten to five percent cannot be tolerated from a financial perspective for anyone who wants to survive in a competitive marketplace.


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    Charles Morgan
    Charles Morgan
    Charles C. Morgan is a seasoned professional known for his diverse expertise and extensive background, rendering him an indispensable asset to any organization. Grounded in the timeless words of James Madison, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary," Charles is deeply committed to governance. His specialties encompass nonprofit organization implementation, administration, legal compliance, risk management controls, and financial integrity. Demonstrating his leadership prowess, Charles serves as the Founder, Member of the Board, General Counsel, Treasurer, Webmaster, and Editor of The Hungerford World Tree Quarterly Newsletter for The Hungerford Family Foundation, Inc. (THFFI), steering the success of this Florida nonprofit corporation since 2014. Additionally, he is the Founder and Principal of HessMorganHouse, LLC (HMH Consulting), a consultancy focusing on life insurance for Fortune 1,000 companies, insurance firms, brokers, and law practices since 2005. Charles's illustrious career includes founding and leading PruBenefit Funding, where he transformed the company into a premier group life insurance business for Fortune 1,000 Companies and banks, growing assets from zero to $14 billion by 2005. With a robust foundation in community leadership, Charles has served on the Governing Body of West Windsor Township, NJ, and the Ashford Village Homeowners Association in Houston, TX. He is also an esteemed author and holds multiple licenses and certifications across various states. Charles's academic achievements include an MBA from Pepperdine University, a JD from Vanderbilt University School of Law, and a BA from Wesleyan University. Recognized with prestigious awards and honors, Charles epitomizes outstanding leadership and unwavering dedication to peace, equality, and fairness. His tireless commitment to research and community service has garnered widespread acclaim, solidifying his status as a distinguished professional with an exemplary track record.