Watch Part 1 of our four-part series and learn how to Ditch The Drama During Annual Enrollment with these Reality-Based Leadership Tips.
All of us in the HR/benefits industry know that AE brings a sense of excitement and maybe just a little bit of anxiety. Sometimes, during Annual Enrollment, it feels like there is a year’s worth of pressure all built up into this one season.
With AE comes challenges and unpredictability. So, how do you get yourself and your team ready to rise and meet every challenge that you will face in the coming months, even those you may not be 100 percent prepared for? And, on top of that, how will you sustain positive energy throughout the entire AE season?
In her keynote presentation at our Vision events earlier this year, Cy Wakeman explained the four components of personal accountability. They are Commitment, Resilience, Ownership and Continuous Learning. Together, these four elements will empower your teams to meet every challenge and overcome any obstacle that stands in their way.
In this video and blogging series I’m going to walk through all four of these qualities, but in this first video, we will focus on Commitment.
Personal Accountability starts with Commitment, and that commitment needs to be made at the individual level. As a leader, you must understand that it’s not enough to get your whole team together and ask for a group commitment. Group commitments fall apart when the team encounters obstacles. Team members often start pointing fingers at each other, complaining about who’s not working hard enough, and finding fault with everyone else.
As a leader, you must speak with each member of your team about the challenges that lie ahead and about expectations for their performance. These conversations should lead to each team member making a personal commitment to success during annual enrollment.
These individual resolutions actually help the team to stick together during tough times. As each person is thinking about their own performance, and how it compares to what they said they would do, there’s a lot less room for finger-pointing and scape-goating. Instead, the team draws together to help each other keep their commitments.
As you meet with each member of your team and secure their commitment to the success of your Annual Enrollment, the nature of the commitment must be clear. It’s not enough to only commit to making a reasonable effort. What we need is a commitment to owning the results.
When leaders give out assignments, but never ask for the team member to commit to completing the work, then by default people assume that they are committing to making a reasonable effort. If the assignment doesn’t get done, as long as they can say they made a reasonable effort to succeed, then they don’t need to feel bad about missing the deadline; they can let themselves off the hook because they met their obligation to try to get it done.
Committing to owning the result is different. With this commitment, the task either gets done or it doesn’t and there’s no letting yourself off the hook because of extenuating circumstances. You are committing to find a way to overcome every obstacle, leverage all your resources, getting teammates to help, work extra hours; do what it takes to deliver on your commitment.
Right now, we are at the start of our most challenging season – our industry’s ‘Super Bowl’. We know that there are going to be obstacles, crises, emergencies, unexpected tasks, out-of-nowhere requests, I can’t believe that just happened problems. As a leader, you need to keep your eye on the big picture of Annual Enrollment as it unfolds. Everyone has a plan going into AE, but as that plan meets reality it can start to come apart. The plan will need to evolve, because reality is going to win that battle.
So now, at the very start of the season, make sure that you and your team members are committing to success in the big picture, not just committing to implementing the plan. If the commitment is only to implementing the plan, then when the plan changes, as it will, the team may balk at being asked to do something different or something more. But when they have committed to the larger goal of a successful AE, then they will know that implementing a revised plan is just part of the agreement.
When a person commits to something bold like achieving success at Annual Enrollment, and they agree that they won’t use extenuating circumstances to excuse themselves if they fail; then they better get resilient.
In our next segment, we’ll talk about how to get resilient and why it is one of the four crucial elements in finding success at Annual Enrollment.
Until then, go have those ‘personal commitment’ conversations with your team members so that everyone is invested in achieving AE success.
Thanks for watching the first chapter in our Ditch the Annual Enrollment Drama video series. Watch Part 2 here.
Don’t want to wait? Download the full Ditch the Annual Enrollment Drama Guide Below!