As a financial advisor leading a team, or even a small staff, your responsibilities are often more like those of a CEO leading a company rather than those of a high producing advisor. Thinking like a CEO assumes two things that we’ve found can be challenging for busy financial advisors to tackle along with their responsibilities as producers. The first is that you clearly understand the different areas of focus that go into being a CEO, and the second is that you understand how to share this knowledge with your team members so that they can become effective partners in co-creating the goals and vision of your organization.
We’ve worked closely with top financial advisory teams, including Barron’s ranked teams, and narrowed it down to the following crucial skillsets:
Relational: Often overlooked by advisors, these skills can seemingly have the least impact on your business, when they can actually have the most! Your relational skills, elements we cover in our Certified Financial Services Coach Training Program™ encapsulate the relationship building elements of your practice. Using the same tactics our coaches use in their sessions with clients, this program helps financial advisors harness powerful communication tools that enhance their management skills with their teams and their relationships with clients and centers of influence. Relational skills have a lasting impact on your potential referral business.
Business Management: These skills are related to the practice management aspects of your business, which are encapsulated in our Professional Advisory Model (PAM)™, or 7 part roadmap for practice management growth. These include everything from client acquisition and client engagement, to organizing and defining the processes that ensure your business runs smoothly even when you aren’t there. It also covers team development and processes for referrals, and all the other elements outside of finance that impact the success of your business.
Leadership: A strong leader can make the difference in determining whether the members of your team work as a cohesive group toward goals that are co-created and a vision that is co-authored by everyone one involved. We refer to this as Total Team Leadership™, when a leader and team engage in the exchange of leadership among themselves in a manner that evokes meaningful contribution from every team member, showcases the strengths of each, and advances consistent and effective group decision making. This creates greater consistency and cohesiveness across the group to save time and ensure goals are met.
Technical: The technical skills of your business are directly related to what makes you a professional within the industry and a specialist within your particular area of focus. For some advisors, this becomes the driving force behind their professional development. Financial advisors, especially team leaders, need to consider how these specific goals align with their overall vision of their team, and the goals that have been co-created by their team, and how obtaining these designations will impact the experience of their ideal client.
While pursuing designations like your CFA or ChFC are important, they will do very little for advisors who aren’t maximizing the current relationships they have with clients by sharpening their relational skills and running their team with the most efficient processes possible, to fully utilize the benefit of that credential.
We’ve found that advisors who are most successful at managing this varied skillset don’t do it alone, because they have the ability to apply these skillsets in a way that speaks specifically to the needs of their team, and then effectively pass that knowledge onto their team. This requires an ability to readily gain knowledge and adapt it as a Journey Learner. At ClientWise, we define Journey Learners as professionals who grow through acquiring knowledge, and then applying, evaluating, and reapplying what they’ve learned to their unique situation and experience. Their careful consideration of what they learn in terms of its application as well as its value, means they are much more likely to gain a richer context, and be able to pass that deep understanding of what they’ve learned along to their team members.
Being a CEO requires constant attention to your learning and the ability to be selective in understanding what knowledge applies to your team. As an executive coaching company, we are constantly helping busy leaders balance these objectives through coaching and workshops.
Coaching Questions from this Article:
- What more could you be doing in your business to create a balance between the four skillsets listed above?
- Are you fully considering the relational skills you’ve established beyond simply maintaining consistent communication with your clients and team? What questions are you asking them? How are you effectively engaging them with the language you use and the relationships you develop?
- How jointly established is the partnership you have with your team? Could you do more to involve your team members in co-creating and co-authoring goals and vision as it applies to Total Team Leadership™?
- To what extent are you considering how the knowledge you gain relates specifically to your team, and consistently applying and reassessing that knowledge to fit your particular situation?