Handling Change in Insurance Agencies: Kubler Ross Change Curve Denial and Frustration
All week long we’re focusing on the topic of handling change in insurance agencies. We find that while change is necessary and can be important for an agency’s survival, many times agencies resist implementing change, because they can’t push through the discomfort that change brings. You’ve probably been in this situation before: there’s a change in your agency’s processes, but no one ends up following it, and everyone returns to their old habits. We can’t grow if we don’t embrace change.
“All too often we find that agencies back away from change because they go through the discomfort and as opposed to pushing through to get to that integration we stop dead in our tracks.”
In order to become experts at handling change in insurance agencies, we can look to what’s called the Change Curve. It outlines the typical responses to change, and shows us that the first two phases are denial and frustration.
When change is first implemented in an agency, usually the first response is “why.” Why does this have to happen? Why do Virtual Assistants need to do my quotes? Why are we changing the system when the status quo is fine? These are all ideas that can come up. In order to tackle this denial, the best thing leadership can do is communicate extensively. By communicating and setting expectations, you’re setting up your people for success, and giving them the tools they need to work through the denial stage.
After experiencing denial, many employees might experience frustration when handling change in insurance agencies. People sometimes think adopting change is like a lightswitch, and it can happen in an instant. But in reality, people need time to adjust to change. It might be frustrating if you’re slower at first, or if you’re clumsier, but it’s important to remember that we’re learning, and we need to give ourselves some grace. In order to combat this frustration, leadership can be sure to communicate wins, in order to show employees you’re not only putting out fires.
The bottom line is that with change comes disruption, and there might be some hiccups along the way. But by watching, listening, and supporting your employees, you can help them work through these phases of change, without retreating from the changes themselves.
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