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Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done by Ron Ashkenas

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THREE

Reducing Product Proliferation

WHAT IF YOUR PRODUCTS WERE inhibiting your growth instead of driving it? That’s what Paul van de Geijn faced when he took over the global life insurance business of Zurich Financial Service in 2003. At the time, Zurich’s life insurance business generated $20 billion in gross written premiums and was a key business line around the world. However, the growth rate was only about 1 percent and the industry was becoming more and more crowded with competitors. Moreover, Zurich’s sales were mostly through distributors (agents), many of whom also sold other companies’ products. So unless Zurich Global Life Insurance’s products were more attractive than the competitors’, the distributors would not give Zurich priority, ...

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