Change management and anti-fragility

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The financial planning landscape is constantly changing. Every time the landscape shifts, we need to shift with it, which can be tedious. It would be nice to stand still for a few years and focus on the underlying objective of financial planning, giving clients quality financial advice.

However, in an ever-shifting landscape, the worst thing you can do right now is to stand still. Not only will this expose your vulnerabilities it also compromises your ability to pivot when necessary. A sound change management plan can help you build an anti-fragile and agile business.

Change management, at its core, is a systematic approach to organisational change. There are numerous best practice models for managing change and a long list of change management principles you could consider when planning your strategy. So, where does one start? Your approach will depend on the complexity of the change, but there are well-known principles you can use to get started.



Understand its impact. The first stage is understanding its impact on your business and the people. How will it affect the way you approach work? Will you need to change your workflows? Will the change align with your existing technology systems? What would be the impact on your business’s value chain if you didn’t make the change?

Plan it. Once you’ve considered all the critical factors in stage one, you need to plan your approach. Will you need external expertise? How will you ensure that your team is willing to accept the change even if it impacts their job significantly? Who in your business is best suited to help you drive the change?

Execute it. The implementation stage often seems like the most significant stage, but if you’ve taken the time to plan out stages one and two, this is just pushing the GO button and monitoring progress. In our experience, momentum and communication are key factors at this stage. You want your team to rally behind this change, and communication is the best tool you could use to keep everyone engaged. Ensure that your team is aware of the progress and impact on their roles.

Talk, talk, talk. Your back-office team needs to know what is happening, especially once the change is implemented. One of the most common complaints we hear is, “no one told me this was happening.” Be transparent and honest. If the change is going to impact someone’s role negatively, tell them. Change is embraced by some and loathed by others, and you’ll likely have people in both camps. Personal feelings are difficult to change, and the best thing you can do at this stage is to validate any concerns they have, offer support, and stay authentic. The change won’t suit everybody, but you can certainly ensure that everyone is well-informed, well-supported, and well-trained.

We can only assume that the Quality Advice Review will impact how financial practices will operate in the future. One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to build a framework around change so you can manage it effectively and efficiently.

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