Last weekend I got punched in the face. Twice. Karate practice has been a great source for insights and life lessons. In one of my recent posts I wrote about changing the kata and the mindset as a company re-positions itself in the market. Today I want to tell you about the lessons I learned over the weekend.
A major part of the SKA practice includes winter and summer special training events. Special training is a long weekend of intense training that pushes you to the edge of your abilities and usually your toughest opponent is you. No, I didn't punch myself.
One of the benefits of special training is to practice and face karatekas from other dojos. In sanbon-kumite (three strikes sparring) I faced another black belt. Both of us ranked as nidan. Quick estimation - I am a head taller than him, at least 10 years older than him and he has a well groomed big mustache. We bowed, and before I managed to move in, his fist found my chin. Since I was working on getting-in (irimi) I decided to try getting-in again and stretched myself tall so his fist would need to travel longer to its destination. He moved, I moved, and his fist found my nose. No worries - only blood, nothing broken. Sanbon-kumite is a three continuous strikes engagement, my opponent managed to hit me and cause pain. Yet, he didn't knocked me out and I was able to navigate successfully his other two consecutive strikes and counter attack. One of the seniors that observed the engagement commented: "try to block." I didn't want to change my internal goal for the practice, but I didn't want to get hit in the face for the third time. So, I adapted my internal goals to meet the threat.
Lessons for the insurance companies:
- Don't under estimate InsurTech startups. Some of them are hipsters that can respond to your customers faster and better than you can.
- Playing "big company" against a small startup may draw blood, from you.
- Most of the time the startup has only the first punch to play with.
- Adjust your internal objectives and incentives to support your external goals.
- Adjust your modus operandi base on the external threat. If you need to block, block! It doesn't matter that blocking is a simple technique and less elegant than Irimi.
- Think M&A
Lessons for InsurTech startups:
- Be fast!
- Have a long reach than perceived.
- Create an awesome diversion. Grow a mustache if you can pull it off.
- Hit where it hurts.
- Think M&A