Given the breadth of contacts we have in our work in the financial services industry, we are afforded the opportunity to encounter some of the best bankers, advisors, market leaders and executive leaders in the industry. Recently, we thought it worthwhile to connect some of the best in these roles with each other, believing that doing so might serve to help each one of them further enhance their effectiveness.
Over the last few weeks, I have been a witness to an email conversation between a small group of best-in-class market leaders, each of whom I would consider Purpose-Driven, Servant Leaders who have a high degree of credibility both with those who report to them and those to whom they report.
This conversation started with one of the leaders asking the group:
How do you balance building the business with focusing on doing what is right for your clients and your teams?
This is a question we hear often and represents an issue with which we see many advisors and leaders struggling, particularly given the trends in our industry and the drive to differentiate. While our answer to this question at Greene Consulting is that the two definitely go hand-in-hand and collectively lead to most effectively growing the business, we thought you would appreciate this dialogue and find some value in reading it, whether you are a market leader, an executive leader or a Front-Line advisor.
I am sure there will be more said among this group, but here is the dialogue this group has had thus far on this topic.
This is the first role that I’ve had that doesn’t have a direct production component and I’m curious how other leaders deal with the natural progression towards numbers on a spreadsheet and revenue on reports versus human lives that we are impacting.
I am certainly looking forward to hearing other ideas around this and other topics from this group and learning more from each of you!
I certainly share the deep conviction that doing things the right way will have great long-term results…but also can say that even if they don’t, I’m still going to do them that way…even if it costs me my job. There are some things I won’t compromise on no matter the cost. I bet we all share that deep conviction at some level which allows us the freedom to do what we do the way we do them.
So, if we agree that doing things the right way is the only way that we operate, how do you prepare budgets and goals with that in mind? How do you lead towards a profit goal in light of our deep convictions? How do you talk with shareholders about the profit they can expect or talk with the CEO about the revenue your division makes?
My previous tendency was to say, it falls where it falls…I keep doing what’s right and the results are what the results are. My goal is to be a great advisor and the result of that will be revenue, but revenue isn’t the goal. As I’ve moved away from production and into leadership over the past six years, I’ve kept true to that mentality and philosophy, but always felt like there was an authentic way to incorporate both doing things the right way and the connection to a revenue goal, but haven’t seen many leaders effectively do that.
From your responses, it’s helped me have deeper conviction that I’m not the only one trying to shape the industry and that we need to continue to have confidence in our convictions.
Thank each of you for the thoughtful responses. If you have additional insight to add, I welcome it.
My approach, therefore, has evolved. The result has to be an increase in productivity and profitability for this to be sustainable over the long run. I often describe that what differentiates my approach has to be the quality of the team we hire and retain, the way we are organized around our clients, and the intentional focus on the client experience we deliver. It is not the investment returns or the rates we offer that differentiate us, as they are commodities. This strategy will lead to long-term high levels of production and profitability. The reality is that key decision-makers need to hear and see this compared to only hearing about doing the right thing and making impact.
So glad to be a part of this group as there is definitely a place in a Wealth Leader’s long-term development for peer groups and benchmarking. This is healthy and will make an impact not only on the individuals, but also on the industry. A few years ago, I heard someone say that, “if you’re not learning and growing, you’re dying”. And I want to keep living! I’m sure I will learn and grow by being engaged [with this group].
Ultimately, we can best hit those metrics and our numbers if we are true to our Purpose and Promise and do EVERYTHING with the client’s best interests in mind. The metrics will actually be better than they would be if we were simply pitching product or merely focused on meeting our goals. But with this, as the market leader, it is imperative – both for the good of the client AND the company we work for – that we equip our advisors and guide them to the greatest success, which is not just “doing what is right for the client”, but challenging them to develop the knowledge and skills they need to best engage clients according to our Promise and ensuring they are well-prepared and intentional about every single prospect and client engagement.
If you feel compelled to add to this conversation, feel free to send comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
At Greene Consulting, our purpose is to help financial services providers design better experiences, develop better people, and thereby deliver better results. For more detail or insight on how we help advisors and firms in this area of the Client Experience, or any other issues related to the Client Experience being delivered, contact us at 404-324-4600 or email Rick Swygman at email@example.com.