The idea of forming a team isn’t a new thing in the financial services industry. When I started out at a major wirehouse in the mid 1990’s, it seemed every manager talked non-stop about the firm’s desire to see more advisors join together in a team structure.
However, once you pressed them for more details about how they expected you to go about building this “team”, it was apparent they had little understanding of how to actually accomplish this goal. For the most part, it seemed if you found another advisor to answer your phone when you were on vacation – in their eyes - magically you had created a team...
In the years since, though much has been written on the topic of effective teams, it seems there is still much confusion and misunderstanding about the subject within the financial sector. In many industries, forming a team or working group is often done to accomplish a specific shortterm goal or business objective. Members are selected, roles are defined, the goal is outlined and work is begun. When that goal or objective is attained, often the team is disbanded and the members reassigned – perhaps to another team within the same organization. However, within the financial services sector forming a team is a much more involved undertaking. This is necessary because the members of the team are typically required to share income (many times from existing clients as well as new ones), and the life cycle of a successful financial services team can conceivably be years, if not decades. Forming a successful team in this context requires a great deal of thought, planning and care.
Teams that are cohesive, productive, (both for the advisors as well as the clients) and efficient - and whose members enjoy working together - don’t happen by accident. Successful teams are cohesive because team members work cooperatively, sharing common goals as well as the resources to achieve them. They are productive, not because team members never disagree, but because they have worked out ways to resolve conflicts when they occur, and all team members work in the best interest of the clients. They are efficient because members are grouped into sub-teams in a way that maximizes each member’s skills and interests, taking full advantage of each individual member’s strengths, and minimizing their weaknesses through collaborative effort.
In subsequent monthly articles, we will explore more thoughts about the team structure within the financial services sector, and I will offer you tools and ideas to utilize in the creation and effective management of a successful team.
Randy R. Beeman was a co-founder of Wise Investor Group in Reston, Virginia, and the host of The Wise Investor Show on WMAL 630 AM in Washington D.C. He recently retired from Robert W. Baird and Wise Investor Group.