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Imagination: A Critical Tool for Business Growth

By Ray Sclafani | January 20, 2017

 how financial advisors find clientsIn general, entrepreneurs are successful because they can see a future that nobody else sees, and imagine things that others simply can’t bring themselves to envision. How many of us twenty years ago could have imagined carrying around a device with more than 120 million times the power of the guidance computer that successfully landed and returned Apollo 11? Yet today, nearly two billion of us worldwide are doing precisely that with our smartphones.

As you enter the New Year with a clear vision of what’s possible for your practice, remember that what you as an entrepreneur see as achievable, others on your team may see as impossible, or be unable to imagine how to bring about the realization of that vision. That’s because most leaders have constructed their teams with really good task-focused workers – individuals who are highly adept at getting the job done. The difference with imagination is that it requires a new way of inspirational thinking that can help your team look at every challenge through a prism of: 

  • The power of technology
  • Re-engineering processes to generate efficiency
  • Potential for adding new capabilities
  • Always striving to expand capacity

wealth management advisorsIt’s through modeling these behaviors that you as an entrepreneur are in the best position to motivate and lead your team to become “imagineers.” Start helping your wealth management team members not only to see what you see, but also to build upon that vision with their own ideas. Yet don’t fall prey to the common trap of becoming the sole source of ideas within the firm. Make sure you’re cultivating a fully-functioning interdependent team rather than a work group. Work groups tend not to imagine well nor generate many new ideas.


Make it a resolution this year to help your team understand the vision of what you believe is possible over the next five years, three years and one year. Keep in mind that typically CEOs think in terms of 5-7 years down the road; executive leadership thinks in term of 5-7 quarters into the future; managers think 5-7 months out; and support staff thinks ahead 5-7 days. 

Even though a lot of different individuals are required to fill lots of different roles on the team, getting fre-13-energize-your-marketing.gifeverybody to re-imagine a future that’s genuinely possible can be incredibly exciting and fiercely motivating. Understand, however, that for some, imagination may not be viewed as a positive and desirable skill to acquire, but rather as a harbinger of additional future work. Not everybody wants to participate in imagining a bigger and better future…and those just may be the people holding you back. The sooner you are able to identify and weed out those team members, the better off your business will be.


Coaching Questions from this article:

  1. How do you envision your business being different when you look one, three and five years down the road?
  2. When comparing your future vision to your present business, what obstacles or challenges come to the surface?
  3. Take some time to think about the people working to support your business. Are they an interdependent team or are they a work group? How do you know?
  4. As team leader, what actions could you take in order to encourage team members to shed their limiting beliefs and look for better ways to do things?  


Topics: Team Development Innovation Goal Setting

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