Change is really hard. But change is also inevitable—and necessary to stay competitive. The best way to adapt to a changing environment is to change right along with it. At your brokerage, this might involve hiring people with new valuable skills, tailoring your continuing education, or implementing new brokerage technology.
After deciding it’s time to change your tech stack, you need to prepare. Management experts recognize that one of the top reasons change plans fail is insufficient preparation. In fact, the planning process is as important as the execution. Change management is a well-studied discipline, and the steps for successful change plans are well documented. Below are five steps you should take to lay the foundation for change and ensure your brokerage is prepared (with apologies to renowned scholar John Kotter of Harvard University):
To get your team excited about change, you need to make a compelling case. What is the current situation, what is the expected outcome, how are you planning on getting there, and what will happen if you don’t? For example, “We currently lose 20% of our leads due to slow agent response times, so we’re going to invest in a tool to reduce lost leads to 5%, otherwise our business won’t grow.”
Going into the unknown is scary, and it’s impossible for just one person to know exactly what technology your brokerage needs. To investigate your potential paths forward, form a task force with as many stakeholders as possible: brokers, marketers, admins, agents, accountants, assistants, and more. The more diverse your pool of voices, the more easily you’ll find a solution that will solve the right combination of challenges.
Be proactive about clearing as many obstacles as you can. This might include making sure your team has the time they need to train or transfer essential data, or anticipating potential issues before they happen. Simply reacting to problems as they arise will discourage your team and lower their morale. Helping them blaze a new trail together will do the opposite.
Change isn’t a light switch, it’s a ladder. You won’t wake up one day with a new brokerage and team; you’ll work each day to help them adapt to their new technology. Every single member of your team needs to have a sense of ownership over the success of the process and receive encouragement for the steps that move them in the right direction. This means celebrating the small victories, like throwing a company lunch when the team reaches a certain milestone or handing out gift cards for popular retailers for reaching predetermined goals.
As your brokerage gets used to its new solutions, the small wins will become more frequent and turn into big wins. Keep the momentum going! There will be bumps in the road, but if you’re prepared, they won’t completely derail the change process. Eventually, you will get to your destination: full implementation and adoption. Your team won’t know how they ever managed to do it any other way, and any difficulties they encountered will all be in the rear-view mirror.