The ClientWise Blog

Interdependence – The Secret Sauce of Successful Teams

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 1, 2015, 5:33:00 PM

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Successful wealth management is a team concept and not an independent function. In order for the client’s work to get done, you need a team that willingly engages in the exchange of leadership among themselves. Your team should work together in a manner that evokes meaningful contribution, showcases the strengths of every team member, and advances consistent and effective group decision-making.

It’s what we at ClientWise have termed Total Team LeadershipTM and it’s the foundation for building a sustainable, scalable and profitable practice that’s able to continue serving clients for generations to come.

True team interdependence can only occur when ALL team members share mutual ownership of goals along with the resources to attain success. It not only promotes cooperation, interdependence fosters the skill and information-sharing that can allow your firm to achieve greater synergies and ultimately enhance productivity. Without it, key corporate values like transparency and ethics may quickly deteriorate.

Building an interdependent team, however, is by no means a simple task. As a society, with the exception of sports, we celebrate individual achievement far more than team achievement. In fact, from the moment we first enter the educational system, we’re hard-wired to compete against our peers rather than cooperate with them. A good place to start, is by dispelling some of the more common workplace beliefs and behaviors that fragment rather than unite your team:

  • Remind your team that neither you nor any team leader holds all the answers.
  • Try to refrain from making unilateral decisions without input from team members.
  • Discourage “factions” when and where you see them. Don’t allow an “us” vs. “them” dynamic to take root.
  • When something goes awry, rather than assessing blame try to focus your team on the challenge of how to improve processes to avoid future occurrences.
  • Keep in mind that behavioral change must be self-motivated. It can’t be imposed by you or any other team member.

In a well-functioning, team members genuinely trust each other and forge strong bonds of empathy, compassion and shared success – success not only in the sense of achieving measurable goals, but in overall employee happiness and job satisfaction. Often, the most successful teams even build specific screening questions into their employment interviews to identify strong “team players” so to minimize turnover.

Lastly, the challenges of practice continuity and succession planning become significantly lessened when the firm principals know that they have a truly interdependent team in place. Shared responsibilities, shared client relationships, and shared processes and procedures not only ensure continuity of the client experience, but provide a level of comfort that one or more successors will be well-prepared to lead the firm into the future.

Coaching Questions from this article:

  1. What more can you do to ensure that every member of your team understands your common goals, why they’re important and how they’ll be achieved cooperatively?
  2. Ask each team member to describe how their specific role is important to accomplishing the team’s goals?
  3. How can you better emphasize the importance of mutual support among team members, and stress that success depends on the participation and commitment of everyone on the team?

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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, Trust, team leadership