Often times we label people who are resistant to change as stuck in the past, outdated or stubborn. The reality is that everyone is resistant to change. Change equals fear and fear is a roadblock to innovation and progress.
I think for me change has become easier to deal with because after nearly 15 years in the corporate world I had become used to it. It just became the norm. Things changed, people changed and new technology replaced old outdated technology. Please don't take this to mean that I like change. I am after all human and we humans aren't wired that way. We like comfortable safe environments, not obscure, undefined and sometimes perilous environments. What I have learned to do is embrace change and understand that if you want to move forward, advance and be more successful you have to change.
The most recent example I can think of that represents the importance of change is the Kodak company. Kodak was started in 1888 and in 2012 they filed for bankruptcy. The killer of Kodak? Digital technology. Even though Kodak developed the very first digital camera in 1975 and had a leg up on the competition, the fear of the change from print to digital photography kept them from becoming what could have been the dominant force in this emerging market. By the time the mid 90's rolled around they were playing catch up and the market had simply outrun them. In 2014 they emerged from bankruptcy and sold most their digital technology patents. Guess who bought them…… Samsung, Google, Apple etc. the list of tech dominators goes on.
Regardless of the industry we are in we must recognize that change is inevitable. Some changes may not be a giant killer like the shift from print to digital but that doesn't make them any less important. In our industry the changes in the personal lines business are happening quickly. Consumers now have access to multiple quotes from multiple companies at the click of a button. That doesn't make an educated insurance agent any less important, but it does change the way we need to market our products. By now the personal lines changes are already old news. Agencies that have failed to adapt to this new way of selling are already feeling the pain. Many believe that we will see a similar shift in commercial lines. We are already seeing it on small commercial, but how long will it be before a multi-million dollar account buys their insurance on-line from a virtual broker?
Reflecting back on my past blogs I realize that I have placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of recognizing the contributions of those that have come before us. Those contributions were often the result of embracing change. The leaders in our business were some of the greatest innovators and still are. The challenge we are faced with today is change and innovation that moves at a much faster pace. Keeping up with those changes and innovations requires more time and attention than it ever has in the history of our business. While change can be scary I would encourage everyone to recognize that it is essential for the survival of our business. We must continue to adapt and progress if we want to build on the success of those that came before us.