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Approach Q4 Like a Championship Team

Five steps to crush it until the end of the year.

It seems as though summer has just begun, yet before we all know it, Labor Day weekend will be in our rearview mirror with the focus of finishing the year strong.

Getting a head start is how the majority of elite teams ensure they end the year well. Fortunately, the process of determining what to do in Q4 isn’t too complicated. Here are five steps to help enable you to crush Q4:

Step 1: Assess Your Status – Take an honest assessment of your team’s current status relative to your 2022 goals. It’s important you don’t allow yourself to get pulled into a false sense of accomplishment by measuring production and asset gains that have been generated by the market. The key indicators for a team’s current and future growth are quite simple:

  • New assets from existing clients
  • New assets from new clients
  • New clients

It’s also important to identify which team members were responsible for the results, good or bad, regarding these key indicators.

Step 2: Discuss with Your Team – Once you’ve determined your year-to-date figures, it’s time to review them. It’s important to loop in your team and discuss what has happened, where you are and where you plan to go. There are basically three possibilities: you’re on target, exceeding expectations or underperforming. So, let’s break these down for a team discussion.

  • On Target – This is quite simple (albeit there isn’t one elephant skewing the numbers) and everyone should keep doing what they’ve been doing. As team leader, congratulate everyone’s contributions, remind them of the 2022 targets, rewards associated with the accomplishment and lead by example – full speed ahead.
  • Exceeding Expectations – This is the ideal of every team leader and it’s a more common occurrence amongst elite wealth management teams than you might imagine. Similar to “on target” the objective is to continue full speed ahead. That said, a bit of celebratory recognition can go a long way toward keeping team members fully energized. If there’s a danger at this stage, it is for team members to relax.
  • Underperforming - When you’re underperforming in reaching your year-end goals, it can be a difficult conversation to enter into. There’s a tendency for finger pointing, blame-throwing, defensiveness and even anger. All of which are toxic if left unattended. Open the conversation with your team honestly, but quickly pivot toward a solutions-based conversation. Look for concrete steps to get the team back on track. This will require some intensity and certainly intentionality on your part as the leader to ensure your team feels motivated and supported to finish the year strong.

Step 3: Get Feedback – As with any time during the year, it’s crucial to check-in with your team. No man is an island when it comes to business and clear, consistent communication allows everything to run more smoothly.

Once you’ve gotten together with your team to review your year-to-date status on current goals, open the floor for your team to speak. Ask what is working and what isn’t. Encourage suggestions on how to maintain, continue, or improve current working habits.

For example, one team had developed the bad habit during the pandemic of being lax in their internal communication. Team meetings weren't consistent, team members weren’t communicating with each other enough and overall accountability was slack. This came out in the feedback and everyone agreed that weekly team meetings, internal communication and individual accountability were needed.

By determining these needs, the team was able to solve current issues and avoid major roadblocks in the future.

Step 4: Reinforce and Realign – A lot can occur within a team from January to September. A quality team member might get distracted by a personal issue, another might be demonstrating abilities that indicate more responsibilities could be handled, there could be personnel changes and so on. In Q4, now’s the time to analyze current team roles. This is your window of opportunity for reinforcing team member roles that are performing to capacity and realigning others; more responsibilities, less or in a worst-case scenario—career counseling.

Step 5: Determine Your Q4 Target – The team leader’s role is to make the Q4 target realistic while still raising the bar. This helps everyone get re-motivated, and when a team’s “hot'' (i.e. marketing efforts are bearing fruit) team members know it and will appreciate the encouragement to take full advantage of the momentum.

Underperforming teams have a different issue and their Q4 target will depend on how much ground they need to make up. Again, this target should be set from the input received from team members, but also be realistic. An underperforming team might be able to have a stellar Q4 and still fall short of their annual goals. However, it’s the team leader’s responsibility to use that Q4 momentum for establishing the upcoming annual goals and the corresponding Q1 momentum.

Throughout this entire process, a good team leader does a lot of reflection on his or her leadership style. What’s working? What needs to be fine-tuned? What are the strengths? What are the weaknesses? And so on. Elite wealth management teams are (almost) always led by elite team leaders and elite team leaders are always looking to improve.

So there you have it – attack Q4 like the championship team you are.

Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent

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