A key goal of the Power in Practice coaching program at Commonwealth Financial is to help firm principals grow into their roles as CEOs of their practices-turned-businesses. So what is the role of the CEO? It’s about providing vision, but also about motivating people and leveraging the skills of all the members of your advisory firm.
Part of the worksheet that participants receive, and about which they are accountable to their peer group, has to do with HR management. Participants are asked to revise, or create if they haven’t done so already, all their human resources documents. Those include an organization chart for the business, including job descriptions and primary functions of each staffer, along with an employee handbook. The program recommends regular staff meetings, held at a standard time and date.
Program participant Judy Redpath of VISTA Wealth Strategies in Reston, Va., told the group that as CEO, “you have to be clear on the strategic vision” you have for your firm. Also, the CEO “needs to support and empower your team, but also hold them accountable.”
An alumnus of the program who returned for the final workshop of the 2012 program reported on how he leveraged his staff with great success. Bruce Hosler, of Hosler Wealth Management in Prescott, Ariz., assigned client households with less than $500,000 in assets to a 27-year-old staffer. Hosler said his personal client load was reduced from 240 to 120 clients by handing off those smaller clients. That freed him to work on getting more clients and prospects, resulting, he said, in a 72% annual increase in GDC.
In addition to the HR-specific tasks assigned to each participant, the Proactive Practice Management worksheet addresses other human capital issues, such as risk management, where succession planning is a goal. The marketing management area on the worksheet includes drawing up a formal marketing plan and a formal marketing schedule. On Commonwealth’s Community Link online platform, there’s also help for when an employee doesn’t work out at your firm. It includes a checklist for how to terminate an employee.