You’re most likely familiar with the oft-discussed Japanese business concept of Kaizen. Derived from the words“kai” which means change and “zen” which means good, the concept of Kaizen is rooted in the idea that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time. And it necessitates that everyone (especially leaders) must strive to continuously improve.
It’s a concept that we’ve strongly embraced at ClientWise in encouraging team leaders to also be journey learners – striving to live life with a healthy and open sense of curiosity about other people and other processes. Just because you’re the leader and CEO of your organization doesn’t mean you can sit back and focus on teaching and imparting your accumulated wisdom and knowledge. You can and you must always be learning.
We’ve noticed over time that the most coachable financial advisors tend to be the ones who are particularly curious, and always interested in learning from others.
The traditional approach to mentoring is one where a more experienced and knowledgeable firm leader shares a lifetime of learning and insights with younger professionals to help them avoid missteps and pitfalls, in order to accelerate their career path. It’s a proven formula for helping team members effectively acquire information and best practices.
With reverse mentoring, however, that dynamic is flipped on its head – with younger Gen x and Millennial financial advisors imparting their unique insights to the baby boomer leaders of their firm. In addition to helping the older advisors stay abreast of constantly changing technology and social media platforms and strategies, younger financial advisors can offer invaluable insights into understanding the financial concerns, relationship preferences and lifestyle needs of the next generations of clients.
While most financial advisors approach reverse mentoring solely as a means to become more proficient with technology and more attuned to the power of social media, they quickly come to realize a host of ancillary team benefits – from improving team dynamics by giving younger financial advisors a sense of empowerment within the organization, to helping older advisors understand how better to communicate with their younger employees.
And of course, as current clients age and begin transitioning assets to the next generation, reverse mentoring relationships can be vital in helping to formulate strategies for retaining those relationships into the future.
Ideally, reverse mentors should not be direct reports of the leader they are mentoring. Seek to create compatible personality pairings, and leave organizational hierarchy concerns outside the door, with both individuals collaborating as equal learning partners.
Coaching Questions from this article:
- Entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation are profoundly influenced by the young. How can you, as a leader, better tap into the knowledge and insights of your younger employees?
- Think about your current approach to social media. How might you make better use of it as both a client communication and prospect outreach platform?
- Take time to conduct a quick analysis of your client roster. What’s the average age of your existing clients? What percentage of your assets will likely be “in play” due to generational wealth transfer within the next decade? What can you do organizationally to strategically improve the odds of retaining those assets?