Time is the ultimate equalizer, and an important topic for financial advisors to consider when looking at their practice management. According to a recent study, the 2014 FPA Time Management and Productivity Study, only 13% of advisors feel as though they are in control of their time, while 3/4 advisors work more than 40 hours a week, and a more than a third are working 50+ hours a week.
The study further breaks down what it considers to be the greatest factors in giving advisors this feeling of control, which all goes back to ensuring that the business is being run with a plan in mind. Because, as the study reports, those who are more in control of their time actually achieve more within less time—with 50 more client meetings, 10 more prospect meetings, and 5 more center of influence meetings per year—simply because they are being more focused with that time. Working toward a plan will achieve this.
The responsibility of running a team throws an entirely different spin on time management, however, because now you have multiple schedules to take into account and multiple personalities to consider. In an effort to take a closer look at exactly how to do this, let’s break down the different types of productivity according to this study:
Strategic Productivity: Strategic productivity is about being able to look into the future and have a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish professionally, for whom, and in what way. This is essentially driven by the “plan” for your business, in whatever shape that takes. The article suggests taking specific time out for planning and putting thought into your business or, as we call it at ClientWise, working ON your business. This will ultimately help you prioritize your time based on what you want to achieve.
For teams: We recommend using a portion of your weekly meetings to discuss the vision of your business as a team. Do exercises that help articulate and remind you of your vision statement and your larger future goals so these are top of mind each week. It’s important to see how these larger goals are connected to the individual goals of your team members as well, because tying these closely into the business will lead to greater commitment and investment for your team members, and help them manage their time more effectively.
Structural Productivity: Structural productivity is really about process and looking at the different elements that drive your business, workflows, etc. to understand what works and what doesn’t. At ClientWise we do an exercise called “Keep, Stop, Start,” which our advisor clients use to determine which processes are working for their business and which processes are not by determining what they need to keep doing, what they need to stop doing, and what they need to start doing.
For teams: Do this exercise as a group. Get your team together and collectively assess what processes (repeated daily, weekly, or monthly activities) that are working in your business and which processes aren’t. Also, which ones need to be implemented to track or follow the progress of something crucial to your strategic productivity? Only once you’ve determined all the processes can you delegate them accordingly to your team members. This will also give them the opportunity to understand how these team tasks and future goals fit into their agenda for their own goals and help them begin to understand how to build their personal productivity around them.
Personal Productivity: You can really only focus on your personal day-to-day and weekly productivity if you have a clear idea of your strategic and structural efforts, as outlined above. You have to have the strategic focus, then the proper structural report, and then finally build your personal productivity around that.
For teams: While this personal productivity piece might not seem to apply to teams, it is actually a very important component of what keeps teams in line and everyone pulling their own weight. In fact, we recommend your team members take the time to share what their personal productivity efforts look like with each other. This will build camaraderie, provide another opportunity to see where individual team efforts align, and help your team share tactics around productivity, organization, and time management.
The idea here is to bring your time management efforts to the table to determine whether it’s a lack of focus, rather than a lack of time that is holding your team back. In fact, doing these exercises in many cases can help determine your focus, which will help determine your structure, and eventually your personal productivity. This is often more readily achieved through coaching, where partnership with an outside entity can provide you with some additional perspective and accountability.
Coaching Question from this Article:
- Does your team have a clear, collective idea of the vision they are working toward as a team and the goals that define this?
- What processes does your team have in place and are these in alignment with your greater vision?
- Imagine attempting to plan your personal daily schedule around processes that are clear, repeatable, and scalable. Imagine the time that might afford you to do other things.