As we quickly approach a new year, it seems like a good time to talk about what independent advisors might do differently, so that they can reasonably expect a different, more rewarding result for their labors in 2012.
Following my cover story in November’s Investment Advisor (titled Let Go to Grow), about my P4 Creating Great Employees Program, I’ve received a number of emails from advisors asking: “What can I do right now?” With the caveat that an advisory firm and its owner(s) need to make a long-term commitment to support their employees for true long-term success, here are four resolutions that owner/advisors can make for the upcoming year that will increase employee motivation and create an “owner’s mentality” that will lead to greater contributions to the success of your firm:
Step No 1: Set goals for 2012, and communicate them to your employees at the beginning of the year.
This is a two-part resolution, with both parts equally important. In my experience, not many firm actually set annual goals, and of the few that do, not many make the effort to tell their employees about them. These are two big mistakes. I understand that many advisors feel locked in by setting goals, especially when circumstances can change, or better opportunities can come alone. But, hello! You are financial planners, right?
Rather than thinking of goals as a commitment to be attained, come hell or high water, consider them a road map that helps you decide what to do today. If things change, then alter your goals for tomorrow, just as you would do for your clients. And don’t forget to tell your employees what your goals are—even if they aren’t directly related to their jobs. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the effort employees will make, and the ideas they come up with, to reach your goals, once they know where you want to take your firm.
Step No. 2: Align your compensation strategy to support your goals.