Developing Your Advice Team – #1

Ten years ago I ran a workshop on the topic of “Developing Your Team” (or some topic like that) for a group of about 20 advisers in Queensland all from a large national financial planning group.

It was a disaster.

I took the view (stupidly in retrospect) and built the workshop thinking that the audience wanted to develop the careers and jobs of their team members. No, I was wrong as I didn’t do my due diligence properly.

The audience really wanted to know how could they as principals could have a better business life and get rid of the tasks they hated doing but couldn’t find anyone who could do things as well as they could.

They were hoping my workshop would provide the ‘tips’ and ‘pointers’ to motivate their small staff teams (they all had approximately one or two people working with them) and where to find motivated staff who would support them. My suggestions and models to motivate their teams and advance their careers were met with.

“What da ya mean? These guys are always just going to be admin types, they don’t want careers”

“Right! Sorry, I must be in the wrong industry“.

As with most disaster’s it turned out to be a pivotal point for me and my thinking.

From that day, I avoided taking on work where I didn’t feel I could, or wanted to work.

To most of those participants, staff were a means to an ends and the ‘ends’ were solely the ‘end’ goals of the owners. I figured, and still think, that if your end goals are purely about getting you to your objectives as the principal, then trying to build a great team helping others to achieve their careers is like trying to go sailing without a sail.

I’m not saying that you can’t achieve a good return if your objectives are all about you, I just saying I don’t believe that is the basis for growing a great advice business, where results are achieved without dependency on any one person, where clients are engaging with the firm, not just an individual. The individual expert model certainly thrives in financial planning, insurnace, accounting and law, but I don’t believe it’s a model to build a sustainable, valuable, on-going business.

More than ever, clients are seeking confidence and certainty from a group of people that are in sync:

  • with their needs,
  • with their desired outcomes,
  • with their financial backgrounds and personalities,
  • with the best possible financial path forward.

Yes, one person can do this to a degree, but when the relationship, knowledge, and process is so tied up in one individual, their on-going success will be their biggest challenge as their time becomes more limited, as their demands increase, and their support teams can only look on like spectators at a football game centred around one player.

Advice firms of the future need to get as many players on the football field to not only support the principal, but to add value to the client whilst building value in the careers of all players.

Do you agree? What do you think?

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