12:38 PM

Constructive dissatisfaction


In this blog, American Family Chair and CEO Jack Salzwedel talks about the concept of "constructive dissatisfaction," a constant desire to make things better.

As I enter the final six months as American Family Insurance CEO, I’ve been reflecting on the past 38 years. It’s gotten me thinking about the many coaches, mentors and colleagues who helped me learn so many things about being a leader.

You’ve likely heard me talk about the importance of gratitude, optimism and belief in leadership. It’s the idea that gratitude leads to optimism, and optimism fuels belief, and belief inspires and empowers our innovation and action. Incorporating those principles into our daily lives can have a multiplying effect – on ourselves and others. We continue to seek what’s next.

For me, there is also a constant desire to make things better. It’s an irritation or gnawing almost that pushes to improve things. This concept is called constructive dissatisfaction and, when paired with gratitude, optimism and belief, is not negative or pessimistic. It’s not chronic dissatisfaction, which is often filled with complaints, criticisms and inaction, as Dan Rockwell notes.

Constructive dissatisfaction is an authentic desire to make things better, fueled by an optimism for what’s possible.

When we strive to be better for ourselves, each other and those we serve, constructive dissatisfaction pairs well with other leadership principles we talk about: taking risks and having a bias for action; finding (and using) your voice; and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

You can see examples of constructive dissatisfaction in action across our enterprise today. In fact, the past decade is filled with times where we’ve been collectively irritated by things we wanted to improve.

Go to Jack's LinkedIn page to read the entire post. 

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About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 232 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500.