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Hiscox UK

We’ve always believed in the value of learning through case studies.

Besides proudly sharing some of the stories of our clients, case studies often provide clarity by example, the “Aha!” moment, as the reader suddenly understands how the approach that aided success for one business could be applied to their own.

One such example we’re delighted to share is that of the leadership team at Hiscox UK Direct, as they took the brave steps towards creating their 5 year vision for the business.

The Challenge

You might already know Hiscox as the successful and innovative insurance company. Kate Markham, who leads the UK’s Direct business, wanted to work with her leadership team to create an over-arching vision – and from that, establish a single unifying goal that they could work towards.

In essence, they wanted to create their ‘Crazy goal’.

Why a Crazy goal for a business that, by most measures, is thriving?

It certainly wasn’t for lack of multiple SMART goals in this tightly run business. However, the team were keen to find an ambitious and stretching goal for the next 5 years of growth.

The challenge Kate put to her leadership team was to create that vision, building on the strength of the business, resulting in one unifying Crazy goal.

The Process

The specifics of the process are different for each client we work with – but they share a common framework, much of which we used with the Hiscox UK Direct team:

  • Preparation and research – Tom Barry & Sarah Winckless of WIMTBGF? interview every member of the leadership team to understand each person’s perspective.
  • Launch dinner – Ben Hunt-Davis spoke of the process that his Olympic Gold crew developed to create their Crazy goal, and explored initial options with the leadership team to find their own Crazy goal.
  • Full day intensive workshops to crystallise and define a Hiscox UK Direct Crazy goal; to explore and share ‘what’s in it for me?’ as well as to map out key actions to take after the session.

What do we commit to in this Setting Business Goals Process?
  • Defining Vision, goals and objectives – we facilitate a process to define and agree the key elements of its implementation.
  • We prepare a leadership team to communicate a clear and compelling plan to the rest of their organisation.
  • We help crystallise and answer key questions about the next stage of growth for that organisation, and, if required, we help the wider team play their part in making the boat go faster in the months and years ahead.

The results


Who better to talk about the outcomes, than the client herself?

We wanted to create a vision that we could all get behind – we knew that was key if this process was to bring real benefit to our business.

I wanted an outcome where we were clear about the longer term aspirations of the organisation, so that we could challenge everything we did, by asking our own version of the “Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?” question.

Kate Markham, Managing Director, Hiscox UK Direct

Managing expectations

The preparation by the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? team was thorough, and ultimately what drove the process to a successful outcome. The time spent with the leadership team in interviews before the group session proved a springboard for a really productive process.

Tom also managed our expectations well – he made it clear we would hit a ‘Brick Wall’ at some point in the proceedings – which we did! At one point during the morning, it did feel like we were getting nowhere – but, suddenly, as Tom had promised, it started to come together that afternoon.

Kate Markham, Managing Director, Hiscox UK Direct

Measuring Progress


For me, it’s been interesting and illuminating to see how the process of crystallising our vision and articulating our Crazy goal has developed.

As a team, we are working out how it will apply to every element of our business. We’re committing to our Crazy goal more strongly as each day goes by, as we see how to drive our day to day operations with that vision in mind.

We have a planned programme of testing and challenging the goal between now and July, when it will be launched to our organisation as a whole, and rolled out throughout the business. Once we launch this to the organisation in July, we will establish ways in which we will measure progress towards our goal, from the bottom up.

In terms of style of delivery – Tom & Ben make a strong pairing, with each complementing the qualities of the other. For us, and our leadership culture, it really worked.

I had high expectations of the Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? programme – I’m pleased to say they’ve been exceeded.

Kate Markham, Managing Director, Hiscox UK Direct

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