We made a change, a smooth transition. Change doesn’t always have to be rough or scary. In many cases, changes to your plan can be very good.
The problem is, change often comes with expectations around limitations of what we, as advisors, can do and how we do it. These expectations can get in the way of important adjustments that can make a big difference to your business and your people.
While making small adjustments to your plan slowly over time can be easier, there are times when the roll out needs to happen quickly. Recently, we had a client who required just that — a change in plan with a tight deadline.
A smooth transition
Our client was appreciative of what we were able to do in such a short time period and more importantly how smooth the transition was.
“So I just want to say if I could, thanks to everyone involved because yes, there was no time to get this rolled out. But it did get rolled out. And Sandy and Jim, any of the questions I’m shooting you guys now. I don’t consider problems, so to speak I just think it’s a natural, their natural questions based on the transition or maybe just questions that would come up during the normal course of a year anyway. So I’ve enjoyed working with all of you and I look forward to the future because it has been the smoothest sailing for me, and I think Micheal can agree, in a long time.”
- Philip LaRocco, MBA. Director of Human Resources at The Floating Hospital.
Transforming your plan at a fast pace can be done, but discussing expectations, and setting a realistic timeline, on both sides, is crucial. By keeping communications open, we were able to accomplish a successful change in benefits and you can too.
Set clear expectations
The process needs to be approached in a logical way, with these important questions addressed in the beginning:
- How is the change presented and what are the expectations?
- What is a realistic timeline for deployment?
- What are the options for mitigating any potential challenges?
For example, if the plan is coming in late in the game, in the third or fourth quarter we can get access to the information needed early, but some necessary data may come in later. Small events and interruptions like that can occur along the way, but as long as the expectations are addressed, transparent, and managed, you can make the change much smoother.
That means anticipating potential problems (such as employee questions or concerns), and preparing solutions and responses. This way, everyone knows these problems could come, but you have answers already.
Everyone should be on the same page.
Oddly, this means being slightly disappointed up front. Surprise disappointment is more painful for everyone involved. When we set realistic expectations, discuss the reality of the situation and create solutions in advance, we can streamline the process.
Just like checking the weather forecast before going to a baseball game. If the forecast suggests rain, you have your poncho. If you don’t have the poncho and get rained on, the entire experience changes.
If everyone is on the same page and communication remains open, the process of changing your plan swiftly, or slowly over time, can be successful. In our client’s case, we were able to successfully roll out the new plan efficiently, under a tight deadline.
Change doesn’t have to be scary. Change can be good, as long as you know what to expect, and have solutions for what you don’t.