In today's fast-paced and digital world, agents must develop business operations and adopt technology to meet consumer expectations. Nevertheless, adopting the latest innovation goes hand in hand with big changes—and that can be difficult.
To successfully implement change, an effective change management strategy is important. To start, ask yourself, “Why am I making this investment and change?" and, “What are my top goals and requirements for this transition?"
Once you've set your purpose, you can move on to these seven steps to complete a successful software implementation:
1) Gain executive buy-in. Your leadership, including top executives, even if they're not involved in the project activity day-to-day, must be on board and supportive of the implementation. This empowers the team to effectively lead, make decisions and be empathetic to other staff.
2) Identify your core team. Your core implementation team is key. Choose a diverse group of individuals who have different strengths and can work as a team. Individuals will need to be detail-oriented without losing sight of the bigger picture.
3) Set your priorities. You should focus on the features and functionality that will make doing business with partners and insureds easier, create a better working environment for your staff and set you apart in the market. However, realize that not everything can be done right away. Prioritize what is most important for your organization so you can create a timeline for what you are going to implement and when.
4) Have a solid training plan. The transition will be easier if you prepare your staff to be effective upon activation of the new software solution. This means your staff should be able to perform their regular daily tasks at activation.
5) Hold staff accountable to learn. Your staff will need to complete the training plan you outline, so make sure to put accountability parameters in place. This could be formal management performance reviews or peer-to-peer accountability.
We've seen organizations create healthy competitions so that the team members hold each other accountable and don't let the team down.
6) Communicate, communicate, communicate. Remind staff what's it in for them and what you need them to do to get there. Also, make sure you keep all of your communication positive.
7) Maintain focus. Continue to reorient your team around your agency's priorities. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing," says Stephen Covey in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."
In too many organizations, change has resulted in a significant amount of waste and anguish. Useful change tends to be associated with a multi-step process that empowers and motivates your team. It requires dedication and must be driven by high-quality leadership who demonstrate their commitment to its success.
Organizations that manage their change efforts well have been rewarded with improved competitive standings and have positioned themselves for a successful future.
Adam Syed Hussain is vice president of customer success at Indio Technologies.