Leadership and life insurance
By Steven Kobrin
Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF
A pop quiz for you!
What do these things have in common: A popular television show; a major religious holiday; and life insurance? They all share a theme of “responsible leadership.”
Let’s talk about the TV show first. In my home, “Undercover Boss” is a favorite show. Each week, the chief executive of a different major corporation goes “undercover,” playing the role of an entry-level worker in his own company. His mission is to experience what life is like for his "front line" employees, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of corporate policies. This show is fascinating.
Can you imagine the CEO of a restaurant chain trying to assemble hamburgers quickly and efficiently on a long assembly line? Or the COO of a waste disposal company riding a garbage truck and cleaning portable toilets? What a humbling and informative experience.
Their executive decisions directly impact the quality of work life for thousands of employees, in many locations, over a wide geographic area. Yet, for the most part, they spend their own lives surrounded only by a small group of fellow executives, developing policies that are implemented top-down.
The "top" has lost touch with the "down."
They know it. And they deserve credit for doing something about it. By becoming wiser about what life is really like in their company, they can advocate specific corporate policies that will improve morale, productivity, and the bottom line.
This is an example of good leadership.
Good leadership is also a theme of Rosh Hashanah, which is a major Jewish holiday at this time of year. The birthday of the world is celebrated. As such, not only Jewish people, but all of humanity needs to pause and reevaluate.
According to the Jewish faith, God runs the world in a just and compassionate way. He gives us an ideal model for assessing how well we are leading our lives — our "corporation" if you will. Each “department” is visited. The health and welfare of our families, our community, and our nation must be of paramount importance. The quality of our relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers must be strong. We look at all these areas of life and determine the extent to which we can be proud of how we conduct "business."
It occurs to me that this process is very similar to the adventure of a corporate boss going undercover. In essence, we take a trip inside ourselves — especially to those areas we typically don’t see — to see what needs improvement. We take responsibility for leading our own lives.
The purchase of life insurance is one of those unexplored areas of our lives. Life insurance often takes a back seat as we too often get caught up in more pressing areas of finance such as health insurance, retirement planning, wealth accumulation, and so on. We tend to focus on meeting our needs with our money.
Notice all the emphasis on "we" and "our"? What happened to everyone else? You know, the people who have become dependent on us?
Life insurance recognizes that the “kingdoms” people establish for themselves persist beyond their own lives. Life goes on for our spouses and children after they suffer the tragedy of losing us. The employees, executives, and vendors of our businesses need to get paid and conduct business even if we are not present to meet our obligations. The houses of worship, health organizations, military associations, and other charities to which we contribute will still need funds when we are no longer alive to help them.
Life insurance makes sure that money will be there for all the operations of your life. Those people that are on the front line need you to take care of them. Responsible leadership calls for sufficient life insurance coverage to do so.