The ClientWise Blog

Shared Values and Diversity – More Than Just Buzzwords

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 29, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Team Development Exercises for advisors

The simple truth is that people will both join your team, as well as quit your team, usually for the exact same four reasons:

1. The nature of their personal relationship with their boss
2. The nature of the work they’re doing
3. The nature of their workplace relationships and environment
4. Money 
 
Not only are team continuity and employee retention vital to building enduring client relationships, they optimize operational efficiency, improve profitability and provide a sound foundation for your firm’s long-term sustainability. So, what do the best financial advisors do? 

Every team really should go through a values exercise. In fact, we just went through this a few weeks ago here at ClientWise. Start by making sure your team is not only crystal clear about what its core values are, but just as importantly, is living up to those values. Derived from the team’s common intent and purpose, these shared values are the beacon that help guide and motivate each team member in their day-to-day job functions – values such as honesty and trust, encouraging new ideas and novel approaches, a commitment to sharing credit, and mentoring each other.

Avoid at all costs using or hearing the dreaded phrase “that’s just the way it is around here;” a clear indication that individual values and team values are misaligned. However, when individual team members know that every week, in the nature of their work and the nature of the workplace relationships with you and their peers, that basic core values are universally shared, they’ll be incredibly dedicated and loyal employees.

When will you address the elephant in the room?

It’s a bit startling that in this day and age our industry is still comprised predominantly of middle-aged and older, married, white men. Perhaps, it’s an accurate reflection of client rosters chock-full of homogenous middle-aged and older, white professional clients. The problem is, it’s in no way a reflection of the people who will be inheriting that wealth!

 developing values for company female financial advisors

It’s a bit startling that in this day and age our industry is still comprised predominantly of middle-aged and older, married, white men. Perhaps, it’s an accurate reflection of client rosters chock-full of homogenous middle-aged and older, white professional clients. The problem is, it’s in no way a reflection of the people who will be inheriting that wealth!

Initially, those assets will likely transfer to wives who outlive their spouses. Do you have outstanding, capable female advisors prepared to help retain those relationships? As assets pass to the next generation, do you have outstanding, capable younger advisors who as contemporaries of the inheritors may be better able to serve their needs? Chances are there will also be a far greater percentage of those heirs living in same-sex marriages. Does your firm represent that diversity as well?

According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, less than one-quarter (23%) of current CFPs are women. Despite the fact that more than half of all college graduates are women, the percentage hasn’t budged in over a decade. In a profession where planning, relationship and communication skills are all at a premium, it’s simply unfathomable. Having attended the Barron's Top Women Advisor Summit for years now, and having built great relationships with many of the top-ranked Barron's advisors, it's clear to all of us here at ClientWise that many of the best financial advisors are women. 

In attracting the next generation of younger advisors and operational professionals, firms like Advisors Ahead are creating innovative programs to assist team leaders in identifying the right talent for your firm, onboarding new hires, and supporting their ongoing training.

Don’t fall into the common trap of focusing on your present firm at the expense of your future firm. If you look at America today compared to two decades ago, it’s far less dominated by straight, white men. Think about the kind of clients you want to serve and what constituencies and communities your business can appeal to. Rather than polarizing constituencies as many politicians seek to do, the best advisory teams tend to coalesce around a highly-diversified culture and seek to unite constituencies.

There’s no question that you definitely need to diversify the age range of your team. You’ll likely want to diversify the gender of your team. And there’s often unexpected new thinking that comes with even greater diversity of ethnicities, cultures and sexual-orientation.

Coaching Questions from this article:

  1. How would you define your firm’s shared values?

  2. What steps have you taken, or will take, to ensure that your team agrees with and is aligned around those shared values?

  3. Look closely at the current diversity represented by your team? Does it accurately reflect the composition of your future clients? If not, what actions will you consider to improve it?

how wealth management advisors find new clients

 

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Topics: Team Development