If you didn’t catch it, my book was recently released! You can grab it on Amazon here.
is an American financial services company founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1857.
Two years later, Wisconsin suffered its first catastrophic train accident. The train hit an ox and ran off the track, killing 14 passengers, including 2 Northwestern policyholders.
Together, their claims totaled $3,500. Unfortunately, the company had only $ 2,000 in assets. That was a tough situation for the company president, Samuel Daggett and Northwestern’s trustees.
Should they limit the settlement to each family or have the company go into debt to make up the difference? And who’s going to loan money to a two-year-old company that’s now technically insolvent anyway?
Mr. Daggett and the trustees did what they knew they had to do. They personally borrowed enough money to make up the difference, waived the usual 90-day settlement period, and promptly paid the claims in full.
This story has become legend at Northwestern, and its employees still tell it today. Anytime Northwestern claims adjusters are in the difficult position of having to choose between doing the right thing for the policyholder and doing the profitable thing for the company, all they have to do is remember this story.
Stories can do way more to affect company culture than any handbook or manual ever could. Stories have a way of impacting us at a deep level, and they can serve as important ways to teach your employees how to act in certain situations as well as what your company stands for.
The next time you encounter or hear of an interesting story within your organization, find a way to capture it, so it can be shared and repeated. Stories are far more impactful to an organization’s culture and values than any company handbook could ever be.
🍺 to a great week ahead!