Reflecting on Change

Headshot of Eugene Elias

Eugene Elias Jr., COO and Founding Partner

February 18, 2021

2020 was the year of permanent change. All of us have been affected by this change, sometimes monumental and other times small and minor. We had to figure out so much with so little time or support.

Our lives were turned sideways, upside down, backward and forward. We had to support elderly parents remotely, attend wakes via Zoom, help our children learn remotely, cancel holidays, make masks for front-line workers, send or not send children to college, take up new activities all while maintaining our livelihoods.

To say it has been a lot is an understatement. To quote another famous thinker, Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

What I have found so incredible over the last twelve months is our ability to adapt and push forward. Our resiliency has been truly remarkable. In the face of so much adversity, many people rose to the occasion and triumphed over the odds.

We are creative, thoughtful and compassionate people. We continuously strive for the best and persevere to achieve our goals — even with the vast swirl of change happening around us.

Step back and re-think

Change may impact our plan, but it doesn’t have to derail us from our goal. What it forces us to do is step back and re-think the strategy and approach of achieving our goals. As a firm, we had to step back and re-think our plans and approaches to our goals throughout 2020.

From the very inception of Atria, our goal and mission have been to develop a true and lasting partnership with each of you — the financial professionals we serve. This partnership is what matters most to us. We strive to listen and understand your needs, be responsive to them and deliver on our commitments. We are an extension of you and your team in serving your clients or members.

Everything we do is focused on ensuring you have choices and solutions that can meet your practice’s or program’s growing needs and best serve your clients’ and members’ growing and complex needs. We do this by staying connected with you.

Adapt to keep connections strong

2020 uprooted our approach and plans to connect. We could no longer host our wonderful in-person conferences where we got to know one another and strengthened relationships. No more getting in a car or jumping on a plane to visit with you in person. Our regional events evaporated.

All of these essential connection points dried up in weeks. We had to adapt and utilize what’s available to ensure our connections stayed strong — and you knew we were here.

We changed formats to have monthly updates from senior management, launched additional Client Appreciation Events, brought in more speakers, launched a virtual conference and much more.

At the same time, we figured out how to best continue to serve and support you while 90% of our staff worked remotely. Phone systems had to be replaced, call routing reconfigured, new service tools implemented and new staff trained and onboarded.

“There is nothing permanent except change.”
– Heraclitus

Be agile, nimble and committed

While the outreach and support models were critical, we never lost sight of where we needed to bring this business. It would have been easier to put our strategic initiatives on hold and wait out this pandemic, but that was never an option.

The changes we are making to the operating platforms are essential to our long-term survivability. Those that aren’t making these types of capital and resource investments will not survive. We have to be nimble and agile in everything we do as the pace of change is so rapid and the expectations have changed so dramatically.

Without the inherent agility of the operating platform, an inability to change becomes a liability. We need to be responsive to your needs and quickly develop solutions that streamline your processes, help you digitally connect with clients and members, provide more transparency into your data, be in step with the regulators, diversify your product selection and more.

We have been going through a monumental transformation in our platforms to ensure we are equipping you with all of these tools and solutions from Clear1, texting, new account opening, reporting, Contour, compliance tools, Unio, financial planning and more. We have been relentless in delivering new tools, solutions and capabilities throughout 2020 because standing still was not an option.

Look forward and move forward

The amount of change has been substantial in our lives. As we all know, change can be hard. In our professional lives, change comes with a whole host of real issues from being different, things not working, additional time commitments that you don’t have and others. But I always ask myself, what’s the alternative? What matters most is our willingness to adapt to the change and look forward.

As I look forward to a new beginning, I see an incredible opportunity before us. We have changed and adapted to this new environment. We are succeeding and moving forward. We are learning new ways of doing business and, most importantly, learning to do it well.

I have heard countless stories of how new tools are making it easier to connect with clients and members, new processes are making it easier to do business and new products are creating better solutions for them. We are doing this together. The partnership we have built changes everything.

I want to truly thank you for that partnership. Here is to our incredible success in the year ahead.