Medicare Annual Election Period. AEP for short. Three simple letters that, to thousands in the industry, means “go time.” It also means summer months filled with long days, nights and weekends in final preparation and execution of campaigns and mailings to be ready on D-Day: October 15.
So how do you survive crunch time when family and friends are on extended vacations, lounging at the pool or picnicking by the lake?
In the book Flawless Execution, former Air Force fighter pilot, James Murphy describes the process the U.S. military uses to prepare for every mission. Simply put, it’s an ongoing cycle: Plan, Brief, Execute, Debrief and Win. When it comes to managing a Medicare plan, at any time of the year you will always be in at least one part of this cycle. Today, it’s all about execution.
Here are seven tips to help you survive the last weeks before AEP begins:
- Prep your team.
Be sure your team is well briefed on the campaign requirements and expectations, and that they have the tools and resources to pull off the work flawlessly.
- Trust but verify.
Once tasks or projects have been delegated to the right people, trust them to keep the work moving, but have a solid process in place for your team to regularly report on status and escalating issues.
- Be flexible.
Everything may not go perfectly according to Plan A, so you should also have a Plan B and sometimes even a Plan C in mind. If your fundamental processes are sound, contingency plans should be minimal. Just knowing you have a backup plan in place can bring peace of mind.
- Stay sane.
On the personal side, take some downtime whenever you can. Sometimes just stepping off line for an evening or taking an impromptu day off can be rejuvenating. Watch for fatigue of your team and encourage them to enjoy some downtime, too.
- Be kind.
The process can be grueling, so remember to keep your wits and sense of humor. You’re dependent on a lot of other people and teams, so treat everyone with kindness and they’ll be more inclined to go the extra mile for you. Together, you can all win.
- Know your partner.
By all means, you should be working with an agency that is a fully committed, knowledgeable and nimble partner. There’s just something reassuring knowing your agency team is as invested in your success as you.
- Keep process records.
Encourage your team and all partners to keep a detailed list throughout the season of things that are going right and things that could go better. Put a meeting on the calendar now for a future debrief meeting that will help ensure an even smoother process next year!
Here’s wishing you a successful enrollment period!