Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

Is Resistance Strangling Your Business? | Business Tips for Insurance Agents

Published on September 29, 2016

Can you adapt easily? Let’s look at our phones as examples:

I have many friends who are always marking their calendars for the next iPhone release date or operating system update. But I have a handful of others, of varying ages, who cling their flip phones and lament when they finally die because they are then forced to upgrade to something that came out in the last decade.

Or maybe you’re like me, and you ride the middle of that wave. You won’t upgrade your phone until it starts to sputter, or you run out of room, and you won’t upgrade your IOS until one of your apps work anymore and you finally make the time to do so. You don’t bemoan the change, you just want to let others check it out first and make sure it’s all well and good before you buy in.

Change is hard for some of us, and for others it comes more naturally like something they crave. Whatever category you fall into, the reality is, if you’re in business, you have to learn how to change and adapt with the times — meaning market place changes, technology changes, customer needs changes, and changes to the way you and your team do business.

I know, life is hard.

Like the phone examples before though, there is a huge difference in having a conservative approach to the changes in these areas (to see if they’ll stick, for example), and outright resisting change altogether. If you do the latter, you, and your business’s success and ability to remain relevant will die.

Rick Maurer, and organizational consultant and author of “Beyond the Wall of Resistance,” notes in an article at Small Business Computing that workforce resistance causes almost 70 percent of organizational change to fail. That means you, and the people you work with, could be what stands between you and continued success and growth in your industry. You can fight that though with these helpful steps that help identify and overcome the barriers to adapting in a changing world:

Step 1: Identify resistance

Blatant criticism is an obvious sign of resistance. However, the other side of that coin is the easy yes, and while more subtle, it’s no less dangerous. Employees or managers who agree quickly may not have thought things through thoroughly, whether out of a desire to be seen as cooperative or to avoid giving offense. Either way, they might not really understand what they’ve agreed to, and that quick yes can quickly turn into a protracted, passive-aggressive no.

Take the time to explain your thinking, and make that sure everyone understands the full scope of the changes and why they’re necessary.

Step 2: Identify the reasons

Employees resist change for three basic reasons. In order of severity: they don’t get it, they don’t like it, or they don’t like you. Look for someone on your team who’s harboring at least one of these perspectives anytime you have a project, processes or other business initiative that’s stalled.

Step 3: Fix it

If they don’t get it, you need to find a new way to deliver your message. Repeating yourself won’t help; they heard you the first time. Instead, try a different approach or provide additional education or training.

If you or your team members don’t like something and find yourself resisting some aspect of change, chances are something about it is frightening or uncomfortable. Look for the logical information that addresses those fears or concerns, and proceed accordingly.

If someone is still resisting your leadership as you try to lead the change, you may get pushback that boils down to a matter of trust. If they don’t trust your leadership in the change, that may be another issue you have to dig into to discover the reasons for this. But ultimately, if you can address their fears and concerns, and you have their trust, with these steps you should be able to lead your team (or yourself) in the new direction as you adapt and stay relevant.

Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a California wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets for personal lines insurance and commercial lines insurance in California and surrounding areas.