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2017 December Mag.

December 1, 2017

Louise Perrin on creating high performance teams!


An inspirational and motivational leader with a record of delivering and executing best-in-class strategies for large-scale, enterprise change, Louise Perrin is known for driving increased sales and profitability in challenging markets by consistently creating and sustaining high performing teams. She leverages her extensive background in leadership, change management and strategic planning to turnaround underperforming markets, develop individuals, and champion change through teamwork.

She credits the books The Leader’s Compass: A Personal Leadership Philosophy Is Your Key to Success and The One Thing with helping her solidify her leadership philosophy (add link) and finding the one thing that would make everything else simpler or unnecessary. Ultimately, that one thing became her purpose and her passion as a leader:  To create an environment where everyone feels valued, understands how they add value, and where each of us becomes mutually invested in one another’s success and we individually and collectively achieve beyond what we thought possible. 

By providing a clear vision, effectively communicating her strategic intent, aligning people and resources, and creating an environment of collaboration and shared learning that inspires and values individuals, Louise has enabled every member of her teams to achieve their personal and professional visions of success. She is a change agent who consistently entertains risk while embracing new challenges and opportunities, and cut her leadership teeth by leading in ambiguous environments.

Currently a Senior Vice President with State Farm Insurance Companies, Louise began her career as an agent in 1985 and in a few short years, began advancing through multiple levels of leadership.  Always looking for ways to add value, she developed strategies and tools that enabled State Farm Insurance Companies to profitably grow its market share in a variety of markets. Her accomplishments include turning around performance and delivering sustainable growth and profits in difficult markets by development of positive emotional cultures driven through conversational leadership, clarity on the vision and expectations, and creating an environment of collaboration, accountability and trust.

In addition to developing others, Louise is a continual learner. She received a BA in Business Administration from Rutgers University and her MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business. She says the executive MBA program was a “powerful experience” that “changed the way I fundamentally think and make decisions, especially how I help people manage and thrive through ambiguity.”

Louise embraces the importance of giving back and continues to volunteer and serve local and national organizations including: Board of Trustees, National Louis University; Board of Directors, National Black MBA Association; Board of Overseers, Rutgers University Foundation, and Board of Advisors, LISC, Chicago. She previously sat on the following boards: Board of Directors, State Farm Indemnity Company; Vice Chair Board of Directors, American Red Cross of Southeast Wisconsin; Board of Directors, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music; Board of Directors, Milwaukee Ballet, and Board of Directors, Friends of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Capturing her significant learnings in journals has been a hallmark of Louise’s leadership journey and she plans to publish a series of three books on leadership to “pay forward what I’ve had the privilege to learn.” And one of those significant learnings is “if you have the right people beside you, you can do anything.”

Personal Leadership Philosophy Louise Perrin, MBA, LUTCF Senior Vice President, State Farm Insurance Companies

What Leadership Means to Me:  I believe…

• Leaders serve others and not themselves. They have a fundamental respect for and value the talents and welfare of each individual.

• Leadership is about seeking and accepting responsibility, assuming personal accountability for actions and results without excuses.

• Leaders provide a clear vision, strategic intent and purpose, and create an environment that inspires individuals and teams to achieve beyond what they thought possible.

Personal Values:  I value…

• People above all else. I am committed to helping people achieve their personal and professional visions of success. I work to identify what people need and broker the resources to get it to them.

• Continuous learning. Risk taking is part of learning. Learning can be accelerated through failure and can only occur when there is a willingness to be vulnerable.

• Integrity. I keep my promises.

• Intellectual curiosity and a growth mindset. Curiosity sets the stage for learning. A growth mindset stretches you to learn something new.

• Resiliency. We operate in fluid environments and must be adaptable and resilient through challenge and change.

Guiding Principles:  I recognize…

• Our greatest resource is our people and must always work in the best interests of our customers, organization and associates. Every individual must understand the expectations of the customer, the vision and strategic intent of the market area, how they add value, what is expected of them, how they are performing, and how their performance impacts the team.

• Our success is dependent on trusting one another. If we are mutually invested in one another’s success and help each other accomplish their personal and professional visions of success, then we develop trust in one another.

• Learning is the most effective response to any challenge and change. Shared learning and collaboration uses the wisdom in the room to accelerate individual and team capability and capacity to respond to challenges and change. A player that makes a team great is far more valuable than a great player.

• Healthy dialogue and early dissent ensures quality decision making. Having a different perspective and not offering it up for discussion impedes team progress, minimizes the quality of the outcome, and diminishes the effectiveness of execution.

• We speak with one voice. Once a decision is agreed upon, each of us is responsible to explain the thinking that led to the decision.

• The quality of the professional relationship produces the desired results. Conversational Leadership should be used in all interactions. EOM, Key Leadership Behaviors, Remarkable and MACL-T (mission, assets, challenges, landscape and time) drive execution and accountability.

• Standing still is falling back. Consistent progress must be made toward achieving objectives, and moving the enterprise and market area towards their desired future state.

What You Can Expect of Me:  I will…

• Respect and work in the best interest of the customer, the organization, and those with whom I work. Know and care for all team members; and provide consistent development, results and performance feedback.

• Provide clear, candid, honest and compassionate conversations; keep the main thing the main thing; and initiate and sustain the creative tension needed to produce change in myself and others. • Honor my commitments and obligations to design, teach and steward and be transparent in my actions.

• Eliminate barriers; provide resources; and inspect/assess, re-inspect/reassess and re-design operational work practices as needed. 2

• Have a bias toward action and results. Hold high expectations of myself; roll up my sleeves and do what it takes (DWITs – grit: perseverance, passion for a goal, set aside immediate gain for a long term goal) to win and achieve results; never ask anyone to do what I am not willing to do myself; and never make excuses.

• Provide safe space; listen when asked or needed with compassion, and without judgment; be a thinking partner without reservation; provide consistent coaching and development; and consistently increase my personal practical knowledge (PPK).

• Collaborate through team learning environments, avoid defensive responses, and be vulnerable and authentic

What I Expect of Others:  I expect you to…

• Work in the best interest of the customer and organization. Respect and honor the people you lead. Know them and care for them; and provide consistent development, results and performance feedback.

• Have a bias toward action and results. DWITs (grit) to win and achieve results; take calculated risks as needed to achieve results; reveal failures as they occur so everyone can learn; and provide your best understanding of the truth at all times.

• Produce change in yourself and others through creative tension; and constant improvement in your individual and team’s PPK.

• Manage your calendars and actions to reflect a focus on the main things.

• Collaborate through team learning environments; create safe space; avoid defensive responses; be vulnerable and authentic; hold yourself accountable; and drive accountability down to the people you lead.

Non-Negotiables: Must always….

• Honor, respect and demonstrate loyalty to the organization, individuals and the team. Trust is the glue that holds a team together.

• Be mutually invested in one another’s success, and celebrate the success of others as it provides shared learning for the team. Everyone’s success is measured by the team’s success and should be the highest purpose for which we all strive.

• Accept responsibility. Judgment and blame is unacceptable and cannot be a part of leadership.

• Provide consistent and honest feedback on direct reports’ performance (Key Leadership Behaviors and Leadership Performance Results). Every team member has the right to know if they are meeting expectations and how to improve their performance.

• Design meetings as opportunities for learning. Conversational Leadership, EOM, Remarkable, Key Leadership Behaviors and the MACL-T (mission, assets, challenges, landscape and time) process must be practiced by all members.

• Ask for help when needed and come ready with viable solutions and recommendations. Take action as needed, without being asked. Recognizing and acting quickly is what is needed and expected.

• Be prepared, seek, and provide quality feedback. Lacking the context or understanding of a situation, the facts, or alternatives diminishes the quality of the outcome, slows the pace of the team and prevents you from actively contributing to the team’s success.

Personal Idiosyncrasies:  I love….

• The pursuit of excellence. Becoming is better than being. Improvement is a constant state of mind and I expect others to put forth the optimal effort to get the job done, maximize the opportunity and their potential.

• Challenges and “playing above the bar”. I view challenges as opportunities for learning. Therefore, I tend to have low tolerance for those who are afraid to challenge their mental models, take risks, and try new and different ideas.

My Commitment: I believe and am committed to personal excellence in all things. I am committed to helping everyone I lead, including myself, accomplish their personal and professional visions of success.

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