Happy Wednesday, everybody. In this video, I’m going to give some quick tips to advisor leaders who are struggling with team turnover or team synergy and are finding themselves with one of two scenarios. Either you’re the advisor who’s having trouble keeping a spot filled on your teams, that you’ve had a lot of turnover in the lead advisor role or the client service associate role, or you’re an advisor who’s had people in roles for a long time, but you just perpetually feel like they’re underperforming and are constantly feeling like they’re not embracing professional development the way you hoped they would.
And so my first tip for you, and I’ll just say this anecdotally and this is in my experience coaching and consulting teams as well as working for firms, working in institutions, consulting for institutions, the organizations and practices that deal with these types of challenges the least amount are the organizations and practices where leaders take responsibility and accountability for turnover, for challenges and issues that come up in the organization, whether or not they are directly at fault for that. In other words, culture starts at the top, and the practices that have the least amount of turnover in my experience are the ones where the leader immediately steps up and says, “What could I have done better? Is there something that we should be changing about the way in which we’re vetting and hiring team members? Might this be an opportunity to bring in an objective outside consultant to try to help us? What can I develop for myself as a leader that would enable me to create a better environment for people starting in my organization?” And so if you’re watching this video, you’re probably one of those advisors who is willing to make the investment of time into your own self reflection, so I’ll just start by that. Taking responsibility for things that have gone wrong with your business, whether you’re directly the cause of it or not is critically important.
The second thing I’ll say is that I want advisors who are in either of these scenarios to give themselves time and permission to take a 30,000-foot view of the business and the practice and their role as leader. So here’s an exercise I want you to do. I want you to, and you don’t have to think too hard about it, but I want you to imagine this utopian team. Let’s say you have four roles that you need filled on your team and who have the perfect candidates in each one of those roles. And let’s just say you’re thinking about that lead advisor, associate advisor role. That’s the one that’s usually the most problematic, and it’s because advisors are looking for somebody who can help generate business, who can cultivate relationships, who can find opportunities, who can contribute to the bottom line, but they also want somebody who doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur, who’s willing to work for somebody else who wants to always be the second chair and second-in-command, and that combination of skills and attributes is very, very difficult to find. So, as you’re thinking 30,000-foot view, I want you to be realistic about when you find that ideal person, realistically what is it that we’ll expect them to sort of have as attributes and characteristics?
So you’ve imagined now your perfect team, and now you’re imagining that this perfect team is being led by the perfect leader. Take yourself out of the equation for a second. You’re imagining all these skills and attributes and characteristics that these people need. What is it realistically that they need from a leader? If you’re doing this exercise right, likely you’re going to come up with things like they have a leader who does a really good job of setting expectations, they have a leader who’s kind and compassionate and gives them the space to make mistakes, they have a leader who gives them the space to be flexible and create their own role and really take ownership but who’s also there for them when they need help.
And now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I want team members who are going to come into my organization and just kill it. They don’t need a lot of direction for me. I’m looking for somebody who’s just going to hit the ground running, be able to get this list of a hundred clients who are labeled C, and just go after them and go after making them A clients.
And my message to you is if you’re thinking that way, I want you to forget about that. We live in a society now in a sales culture where that type of person who’s going to come in and hunt and rainmake and pick up a phone book and make a hundred dials a day is a unicorn. Our society has changed in terms of the way in which we develop talent, the way in which we make people feel successful, the way we reward people, and so the expectation that you’re going to find people who we need very little development from the leader, who need very little help and can just sort of create, that profile of person I don’t want to say no longer exists, but it’s very, very, very incredibly rare to find that. And so forget about that and go back to this list of things that you’ve come up with. And I realistically want you to think about how aligned you are as a leader to what your team members would realistically need from you.
You’ve done that exercise. The next thing I want you to do is I want you to dive a little bit deeper and see into three of these attributes. The first thing I want you to do is think about have you been clear about setting expectations for new team members. Providing a job description or an ad on Indeed or LinkedIn is not what I mean by setting expectations.
So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to practice before you hire somebody. I want you to practice recording a video describing the role to them or to someone else. And so let’s say you’re hiring a financial planning associate for your team. I want them to practice saying all the things to that candidate that ideally you would say to somebody who is newly joining your organization. So maybe you’re saying things like I’m going to rate success as a leader for this team member by looking at the number of mistakes that they have in any given week. I want to make sure that financial plans are generated through our financial planning software, integrated with all our other systems with limited mistakes, really capturing everything that we’ve discovered during the discovery process. I want somebody who’s going to be able to sit in and meetings with me and maybe present part of that financial plan. And so I want you to really download everything that you would expect and imagine from that person in a video.
And then I want you to watch that video back, and I want you to capture all the things that you believe really hit on expectations for that person. And then next to each of those expectations, I want you to ask a question of that employee. So at the end of the day, you’re going to have this video and you’re going to have lists of things, the expectations that you have, so financial plans are generated without mistakes, and then you’re going to have your question for your new employee. What can I, the team, or technology do to ensure that we help you succeed with this metric? And so by the end of this, ultimately you’re going to have a success plan with your expectations, real talk expectations, not something that’s come out of a job ad, but something that realistically you downloaded to them, with a coaching question that you’re going to answer together before they start that’s going to help them really figure out the support that they need in order to meet those expectations.
The second thing I want you doing is ask yourself if you’ve been really clear to yourself and your team about why you need the new hire. In many cases, I noticed that employee turnover exists and happens because we hire people when we don’t really need to hire them, and so we end up with a lot of people in our organization who are completing tasks who are maybe not a hundred percent sure if they are driving revenue or driving results. We end up having very little capacity in the organization, but we constantly feel like we can solve the problem by just adding more team members, and so we end up creating this really awful sort of hiring culture in our organization.
So I want you to really think about whether you had clear metrics that indicated to you that you needed another person. In other words, was work backlog seven days or more? Did you add a hundred million in assets or a hundred clients before thinking about hiring an associate advisor? What metrics and KPIs indicated to you that you needed a new hire? That’s the third thing I want you to do.
The final thing I want you to do is ask yourself if you’ve given yourself a reality check. If you have always said that you’re a self-aware person, but the reality is is that you’ve had a tremendous amount of turnover, nobody seems really happy, and you can’t really keep your team on track, then I want you to ask yourself whether it’s worth getting an objective opinion, sending out an anonymous survey or hiring the coaching consultants to really help you figure out where your blind spots are and where you’re actually not self-aware even though you feel self-aware.
I know that was a lot of information. I hope that was interesting and gave you a little bit of a different perspective on how to think about team members, whether you actually need team members and what you could be doing differently to ensure their success. Feel free to reach out to us if we can help out in any way. Otherwise, I will see you next week. Same place, same time. Take care.