Meet the executives who are leading innovation in the employee benefits industry in our Executive Spotlight series.
How do you advocate for innovation in an industry that isn't used to change?
I always remind others that we can do it how we have always and get the same answer, or we can do it differently and improve. If we can have an open mind and not get stuck in "this is the way we’ve always done it," we’ll continue to push boundaries on what is possible and grow together in the process.
One area where I find it critical to focus is change management. It's important to remember that any change, no matter the size or even if it's for the better, can be emotional. So, I recommend starting by asking open-ended questions to understand the call to action for the change. For example:
- What things drive you crazy that you wish you could change?
- Where are you and your team wasting time and energy?
- Where can you create efficiencies and lower costs?
- What can we do to deliver the best customer experience?
When leaders and teams can honestly answer these questions, their responses usually show them that innovation and change are the best ways to get them where they want to be.
During one large-scale transformation, I asked my team to focus on what they’d like their work to feel like; their daily tasks, working with customers and partners, and so on. Their answers highlighted how the team wanted things to 'feel' better, which had to do with preconceptions about the people they worked with. We spent time working on personal accountability and reinforcing how everyone comes to work wanting to do a great job. The magic began when the team stopped worrying about how the change would happen and focused on how the change would feel. Those who were afraid started believing that it was possible.
When innovation and change are in progress, it usually starts with a half-baked plan; the rest we flush out and solve together as a team. As a leader, I hold myself accountable and encourage others to call out what's not working, suggest alternatives for solutions, and re-imagine what is possible. Along the way, I believe it’s important to celebrate the successes and opportunities as a team. Together we can drive change and grow into the best version of who we want to be.
About Jennifer Doty
Jennifer is the VP of Partnerships at ThreeFlow. She has 20 years of experience in the industry, most recently at MetLife, leading teams in Group Benefits and Operations driving transformation of products, processes, and engagement models while driving significant growth in the business. When she’s not collaborating with brokers and carriers, she loves paddleboarding on the lake and singing blues, jazz, and rock music.