Scottsdale Insurance Company began to look at its operation late in 2002 with an eye on the future and what it would take to continue its leadership position in the excess and surplus lines market.

Executive Summary

It has been 13 years since business consultant Jim Collins analyzed the successful transformations of companies ranging from Kimberly-Clark to Wells Fargo in his business book, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don't." Here Michael D. Miller, the president and chief operating officer of Scottsdale Insurance Company, explains how he and his predecessor, Max Williamson applied the concepts, designed for companies in all types of industries, to a specialty property/casualty insurance company.

At that time, the book “Good to Great” came out, and significantly influenced the president. Here are some of the concepts from the book that had an impact on the company.

Good is the Enemy of Great

Scottsdale has been a success story for many years. Many associates would say that we are a very good operation, so to improve the overall operation and our approach to the market, we had to overcome the belief that we were good enough. (Editor’s Note: Scottsdale’s leaders refers to employees as associates.)

We spent a lot of time talking about where we were, including our past successes and failures, and what we could do to make ourselves better. But the first step was to make sure we all understood that the concept of good being the enemy of great applied to us at that time. We needed to make sure we all understood that we had room to improve.

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