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Minimize Execution Error in Your Practice’s Vital Processes

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Can you recall the last major initiative that died in your office? Did it crash and burn or did it slowly suffocate from competing priorities? Most often the whirlwind of pressing day-to-day activities devour all the time and energy needed to properly execute strategies for activities that could lead to future growth.

In our 20 years of experience working with highly successful advisors at Peak Advisor Alliance, we have found top achievers are exceptionally well organized. In the article, Busy? Yes! But Are You Good Busy?, I discussed the importance of tracking your productivity and reviewing your job description as means for organizing your time.

If you took my advice, you spent some time tracking exactly what you do each day and how much time is spent on each task. You should also have created a list of vital activities that you need to accomplish each day based on your job description, eliminating or delegating the rest to your team.

Execution Error

So now you know the right things that need to be done, but execution error is causing challenges. The next step in your productivity makeover is to ensure you are getting the right things done and you are doing them the right way. It’s not about working harder or smarter or more efficiently. Top producers work more effectively. It means staying focused on the vital few activities and completing them the right way.

In fact, some of the biggest growth years we’ve witnessed occurred in practices that did nothing special. They simply stuck to the fundamentals and executed the basics extremely well. 

Advisory Councils are a great example. When well executed, periodic council meetings with your top clients can yield an abundance of insight and experience to help improve services and grow your business. It’s a vital activity for advisors but too often it’s the case that too little thought, preparation, and follow-through result in poorly executed meetings, and with very little value achieved. 

Here are three tactics to avoid execution error:

Tactic 1. Document Systems and Processes

By having written systems in place for day-to-day as well as special initiatives, there should be no more excuses for errors. Your stakeholders will have a guide to follow that clearly explains how to do each task in your office. Written systems will also help new team members train faster and allow someone to easily fill in for an absent co-worker. What are the systems and processes you’ve incorporated into your business to minimize or eliminate execution error? Continue to fine tune what you have because even small improvements can make a big difference. 

Using our example of the client advisory council, here are some repeatable processes and specifics we’ve found helpful.

  • Identify a person on your team who is responsible for coordinating and communicating with council members.
  • Limit the size of the council to about eight to 10 individuals.
  • Consider limiting the members to 24-month terms to ensure a continuous stream of fresh perspectives. Select a diverse group of men and women among varying ages and professions.
  • Include your key employees as part of the council who can rotate in and out of the meeting depending upon the scheduled topics of discussion.
  • Communicate a clear objective for each meeting with established topics of discussion.
  • Include status updates as well as plenty of opportunities for questions, feedback, and open dialogue among the members.
  • Send a recap of the meeting along with a note of appreciation for their time and input. 

Tactic 2. Block and Tackle Your Schedule

Once you’re clear about your role, prioritize and time block. What’s most important to you as an advisor that needs to be addressed first to move your business? Whatever that may be, make it your only priority and block out time to make sure you complete it. That may require multiple time slots in order to execute it well, but block them all from start to finish. This helps you overcome the “I got busy and dropped the ball” excuse, which happens to all of us. Once that first priority is completed, you can move onto the next.

If you need help with blocking and tackling on a daily basis (executing the small things), download our 6 Most & Vital 1 Daily Tracker by clicking here and entering the code “6 Most.” When filling out your list, ask yourself, “Are the six action items I’ve listed today connected to my overall goals for the firm?” If the answer is no, then why are you doing them? Who else could take those tasks off your plate? 

Returning to our example of a client advisor council, start by blocking out a date on the calendar for the meeting. Then work backwards on your calendar to block time for each step of your written process. 

Tactic 3. Use Outside Resources

If you continue to struggle with the execution of certain items, consider seeking outside help. What can be delegated or even outsourced? What about talking through your strategy with a coach? As an executive business coach, I would say a significant portion of our time is spent helping advisors avoid execution error. It’s our job to help you implement the right thing in the right way in order to achieve your personal and professional goals. 

Again, when it comes to a client advisory council, do you have partners or an outside professional who can come in and facilitate your meetings? Perhaps you are uncomfortable asking your council to help open doors to people and places that have been previously closed to you. A facilitator can spearhead the conversation and segue to your request. 

Here’s the key takeaway: Avoiding execution error from the onset is a fundamental component of achieving successful outcomes for all of your most vital activities.