Is your firm suffering from an identity crisis? Dare I say it, is it all fur coat and no knickers? All sparkle on the outside, doing everything you can to wow clients, but inside the engine is falling apart and your team is working to levels of exhaustion?
It is more common than you think. I often see firms making unrealistic promises that, in an attempt to make clients happy, are simply crippling the team members trying their hardest to keep the cogs turning.
It has to stop. First of all, we need to get a grip and remember what matters the most. Who is our client? Who do we care for the most? Which relationships do we cherish over all others?
Your teams look to you for steer and guidance. So, do you lead by example? Are your attitudes and behaviours ones you would want others to emulate? Is your work ethic founded on the right moral principles and leading the way as to how things should be done?
Running an advice firm takes a whole different level of skills than it takes to be an adviser. Here are some simple concepts that should rock your world:
1. Ban the words “my”, “me” and “I” from your business vocabulary. It is not the “you” show. Greatness will never be achieved by you on your own, so make it all about “us”, “we” and “our”.
2. Stop trying to have all the answers and fix everything yourself. At no point in your professional career did you become a present-day super hero. Your clients rely on you – I get it. Your team place their careers in your hands and trust your judgement and vision to steer the ship in the right direction – I hear you.
But you have your own limitations and you need to realise and accept what they are. When you know what your limitations are, you can obtain the skills, knowledge and support you need. Build the team and watch your business fly.
3. Talk, talk, talk and talk some more. I am not talking about grabbing a spare five minutes with your paraplanner on your way out of the office. I do not mean when something has gone wrong that you feel you must discuss. No, I am talking about talking all of the time.
Bring the team in and bring them in close. Share the vision or, better still, design the vision with them. Talk through your dreams and aspirations for the business and set some goals together. Encourage them to shape the journey with you. Run high-level, strategic board meetings where key business decisions can be made. Carry out leadership and management meetings where leaders can regroup and chat through your service deliverables, areas and processes for improvements, not forgetting to review business projects.
To kick-start your process, here are 11 key topics that should be discussed at business review meetings:
- Purpose and vision
- Plan, policies and objectives (company and individual)
- Financials and accounting
- Human resources
- Information technology
- Operations and business development
- Marketing and communications
- Service and propositions
- Compliance and governance
- Continual improvement
- Projects and work in progress
Let’s get back to running a fun and enjoyable business; the one that was in your mind’s eye when you first came into this magical profession. It should not be difficult.
Michelle Hoskin is founder and director of Standards International