Leading change in complex organizations and industries doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth every ounce of effort you commit. We sought to change the insurance industry in Ontario by being the first Canadian brokerage with a fully online car and home insurance experience, which we are proud to have brought to market in the Fall of 2017.
The seamless process we have now started out as an idea to interrupt and revolutionize the way Ontarians could buy insurance. Getting from concept to a finished consumer offering took a lot of skilled and effective teamwork.
Leading Change in Complex Organizations Begins with a Road Map
Whenever one starts on a new road in business, whether it be with new practices, processes or products, the single most important thing for leaders to remember is communication. It is not enough to give an inaugural speech to the company and then let everyone figure out how things will work in their own silos. Communication must happen regularly and clearly with all members of an organization.
Leading change in complex organizations requires new solutions, new partnerships, and new interactions—all of which require open and consistent communication, led by example from the top downward. As long as the leader shares the road map regularly, no one will be caught off guard by any detours or stops that might happen along the way (such as delayed product launches, customer service challenges, or technological setbacks).
Passengers only start to panic when they don’t know where the driver is taking them.
Focus On The End Goal And Jump In To Help
Make sure those around you know what is and what isn’t worth their focus during times of change, and alert them (in advance) of possible roadblocks so they can prepare and make provisions to deal with them as they arise.
Let your employees see you getting down into the trenches to deal with problems as they arise. As with any start-up, sometimes it’s all hands on deck, regardless of title or department—but leading from the front inspires change in individual team members better than a memo or pep talk ever will.
Manage Expectations In A Timely Way
Change is the one certainty in both life and business. Some people thrive on change, loving the new challenges it brings, while others find it threatening to the old order where they have found stability and comfort. Leading change in complex organizations is no easy feat, but we still need to get ahead of that change all the same.
Listening closely to the needs of employees, any skilled leader can manage the expectations of even the most distraught coworkers by addressing their concerns quickly—or putting together a plan of action, at the very least.
At the end of the day, what we’ve accomplished so far at aha insurance is a result of a dedicated team that understands where it’s going, equipped with a compass to keep everyone facing the next destination of change.