Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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Here are some reminders to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions. These are compiled from the thousands of inquiries I get via this column and in my consulting work every week of the year. Last year was tumultuous in a number of ways. It is helpful to take stock and think about where you want to put your focus in 2018.
Here are five considerations for your advisory firm:
- Have a plan. No matter what you are doing – large or small – be clear about your desired outcomes. Define success in qualitative and quantitative terms. Do this as the leader of the firm and with team members to get engagement and commitment. Without a clear goal and clearly defined success, you will head in the direction you desire. To avoid midcourse corrections, be specific at the outset about where you want to end up.
- Focus on teambuilding. Human beings are complicated creatures and won’t always cooperate in the way you might expect. To avoid distractions from people who don’t get along or are in outward conflict with one another, put time and energy into formalizing teambuilding. This can be done via an organized offsite or internal meetings. Don’t leave the steps to chance. Be thoughtful about what you want to accomplish (see recommendation #1 above) and lay out a clear path to success so everyone knows what to expect. If you want people to prepare something in advance, make sure you let them know what to think about, or bring.
- Revise or enhance your vision and mission and communicate it broadly. Because 2017 was an interesting year from a number of vantage points, many advisory firms spent the year focusing on client servicing, merging or acquiring new firms, seeking organic growth – all good and worthwhile goals. Often times in focusing on day-to-day issues, your firm loses sight of the overall “what are we here for?” message. Your team needs something to rally around, and to make your goals meaningful (see recommendation #1 again) you have to have a reason for being, and a set of guiding principles. This can be a great activity to include in a teambuilding session (see recommendation #2) so that everyone has input. Minimally make sure the vision and mission is communicated and is understood and that each person in the firm knows where they fit within it.
- Define your client experience. You probably have very satisfied clients, as do most of the advisors we know, but do you have a clearly defined set of servicing standards that everyone on your team knows and can communicate? Paint a picture of what happens to a client once they become part of your firm. What steps do you take? What does it feel like for the client? How do clients think about the experience? What repeatable communications can they expect? Defining this is helpful to “re-sell” with existing clients and can be a boost to referrals. It also helps in the sales process when you can outline for someone what they will experience once they are a part of your firm. You may know it well, but often times everyone can’t communicate it. That’s the key.
Read the full article here by Beverly Flaxington.