You didn’t become the founder of a successful financial advisory practice without having a host of extraordinary talents – from strong rainmaking and relationship management skills to advisory and technical expertise. Early on, out of necessity, you had no choice but to become a jack-of-all-trades. As your practice grows and matures, however, it’s imperative that you learn to move beyond the lone ranger mindset and more tightly define and constrain your role in the firm.
Let Go to Grow
Let’s face it; it can be exceedingly difficult to relinquish control but it’s essential that you and your team help make the shift occur.
For most advisors, building a team starts with hiring support staff and/or less costly service-oriented advisors who can take on much of the administrative and operational work. Essentially the lead advisor moves from a jack-of-all-trades to a jack-of-many trades. But in order for your practice to continue to evolve, you also need to evolve to become a jack-of-fewer-trades and ultimately a jack-of-one-or-two-trades. You have to let go in order to grow your team, your business, your revenue and your profits.
I recently worked with an advisor who is absolutely a technology whiz – tinkering late into the night to identify the optimal mix of software and systems to streamline and improve his firm’s processes and procedures. A former accountant, this advisor can also dance around a balance sheet to help his business owner clients minimize taxes and clean-up their P&L statements. Come to think of it, he’s also a tremendous relationship management person.
Yet despite his love for all those aspects of his job, none of those responsibilities proved to be the best use of his time in service to the growth of the company. He was a born rainmaker with an infectious passion for the business and an innate ability to attract people – whether clients or talented team members. He needed to let go of owning relationships and focus on being the face of his firm in the marketplace to truly jumpstart growth.
In order to be successful in focusing your role, you first need to be absolutely clear about your long-term vision for the business. Where do you envision the firm being in five or ten years, and what leadership role can you take to best help the firm achieve that vision – not just what you love to do, but what will best serve future growth. Involve your team in this discussion, and strategize about how you might need to shift responsibilities and/or potentially add new members to round out the team and support your vision. And perhaps most importantly, encourage your team to keep you honest and prevent you from slipping back into old habits.
Without question, this process is one of the most difficult obstacles to growth that leaders struggle to surmount. It requires a tremendous degree of trust in your team. But the days of being chief cook and bottle washer are simply not sustainable. Letting go of responsibilities is not only in the best interest of your firm, it’s in the best interest of your team, your clients and you!
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Think about your day-to-day tasks. Which aspects of running an advisory practice do you most love? Which aspects do you find least enjoyable? Coaching Questions from this article:
- Audit the strengths of your team members as well as their current roles and responsibilities. Which of your responsibilities could be reallocated to others?
- Which of your current responsibilities are solely dependent on you?
- Which current (or future) team members could take on joint responsibility for each of those and how might you undertake the transition?