Innovation and Empathy with Phil Anderson COO of Legal & General

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If you’re looking for the benchmark in empathetic leaders, look no further than Phil Anderson. Our guest today is COO of Legal and General who chats with our host Pat Lynes on a wide set of topics across transformation, agile and innovation.

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While we try not to talk about covid too much, but the way Phil and his team navigated an incredible flurry of changes both digitally and personally is to be admired. Naturally, Phil heaped praise on his team rather than himself- but it’s clear that his calming influence was a major factor in its success.

To boot, Pat and Phil dive into how Phil manages his energy as an incredibly busy executive, as well as his scaling ambition for L&G.

All this to look forward to, so please enjoy the show.

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  • Looks after Business Transformation, Technology, Strategy and Operating Model.
  • Last 6 months taken on operational resilience

3.30 – Journey into Change? 

  • Started in retail management with Sainsbury’s and Tesco
  • Operational Management at BT
  • Evolved into a change agent naturally
  • Reached out to L&G and the rest is history

6.37 – The beating heart of L&G

  • Make money to reinvest in society and the community for the greater good
  • Starts with the CEO and filters down through the business
  • Culture – we can’t achieve anything if we don’t look after our people
  • Create a climate where people can thrive here

9.51 – Inclusive Capitalism

  • Rooted in our DNA
  • Doing well by doing good

11.26 – Going through a transformation in a pandemic

  • Transformation vision was disrupted – protecting, scaling and transforming 
  • Facing into a shortage of digital skills
  • When it hit the fan, our ability to innovate was phenomenal 🔥
  • Lesson learnt – early on the leadership conversations  weren’t quick enough

19.55 – Did it embed a more agile and efficient business?

  • We can run our business from home
  • Nothing gets pace going like a crisis
  • It wasn’t textbook change management, but we made it work
  • Careful to exhaust our people during such rapid change
  • Decision-making speed at board level is now the standard
  • It has brought our people closer together and their families
  • Human-centered change and looking after each other
  • L&G is very relationship-centric
  • What are the ingredients to successful change? People

22.58 – What would you do differently if you had your time back?

  • Focusing on the threat earlier
  • We weren’t strict enough on slowing down other activities
  • Should have supported our busiest teams better

24.36 – What is your most innovative initiative or project?

  • Digital workplace programme that sparked journey to agile working
  • Business has fundamentally changed to digital/remote working
  • What you needed to do > where you need to be

26.50 – Innovation at L&G

  • The value of innovation – how it applies to everyone
  • As long as you’re solving problems and finding different ways of doing things
  • Apple iPad example – people didn’t know they needed it yet
  • Doesn’t have to be disruptive innovation – which is more inclusive
  • L&G’s ambition is to do group wide innovation
  • Doesn’t come from C-Suite – its customer facing roles

31.23 – Encouraging Innovation 

  • Support and empower people
  • ‘Empowering people’ needs to be more specific
  • Elon Musk – ‘if its a bad meeting, just walk out’ 

33.20 – How do you manage your energy as a leader?

  • I commit to 10,000 steps per day
  • Fake commute – walk along the seafront before work
  • Nobody can book over my lunchtime
  • Strict with devices – outlook off the front screen and alerts off
  • Weekends are sacrosanct
  • Good network of people to bounce ideas off
  • Internet fasting
  • Do what works for you and don’t beat yourself up

40.19 – Future for Phil and L&G

  • Continue to scale our ambition
  • We are good at talking about climate change, but are we acting on it?
  • Want to leave behind a world that is better, sustainable and inclusive

42.21 – Advice on leading transformation

  • Connect the dots with your people
  • Walk a mile in their shoes
  • Selling the ambition and get buy-in


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Pat Col Circle Down
Written by Pat Lynes
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