One of the things that always surprised me about coaching advisors was just how many expressed feeling frustrated and mentally exhausted after decades in the business. Granted, it's normal to feel exhausted when you run a large business. But the advisors I was speaking to were alluding to something else.
They were hitting all their metrics, growing revenue, achieving impressive club and council levels, yet they still felt unsure, even unhappy, about what they were building.
Advisors have grown accustomed to the idea that “bigger is better.” More assets, more revenue, a larger team, more ribbons and pins. The truth is the numbers don’t always tell the full story.
While it’s important to track quantitative goals if you’re building a business, it's equally as important to track qualitative goals, or what I call “non-traditional key performance indicators.” These can be very useful in helping advisors assess whether their practice is growing in alignment with their strengths, aspirations and values.
Below are the non-traditional KPIs I believe advisors should track and assess on an ongoing basis. Leverage them to:
- Help you stay deeply “tuned in” to the changing needs of the business;
- Ensure that you are constantly evolving and growing in your role; and
- Keep you accountable to the activities that drive results.
Level of Personal Fulfillment and Success: Weekly
Is there an actual way to measure your personal fulfillment? Technically, no. Nevertheless, it’s important to check in with yourself constantly about the practice and your role in it. Start with a quick Friday afternoon conversation with yourself around these questions:
- Do I consider this a successful week? Why or why not?
- How personally fulfilling was this week for me? Why?
- How would I rate my levels of success and fulfillment, on a scale of 1–10?
Over time you may be able to gain useful insight from your answers. For example, you may start to notice that you feel most fulfilled, scoring yourself a 10, on the weeks you are not in the office but rather out networking with prospects. Or perhaps your highest-level-of-success weeks are those in which you had the ability to share your firm’s value proposition with new connections. These are clear indicators that for you to be at “your best,” you should spend the majority of your time business developing.
You should immediately begin considering ways to spend more time doing that (in the short AND long term), even if it means making major decisions about the direction of the practice.
Number of Meaningful Business Conversations: Weekly
Since you are your practice’s strongest marketer, you should be telling your firm’s story multiple times a week–to new clients, prospects, centers of influence, friends, etc. Consider how many “meaningful conversations” you have in a normal week, where you are specifically sharing:
- The value your firm provides;
- The ways in which you help people; and
- Your long-term vision for the practice you are building.
If the answer is “not many,” make it a point to start having as many as possible of these conversations each week. You will find that simply by sharing your value proposition more often, you uncover more opportunities. Here are a few examples of places and conversations where you can share or remind others of your value proposition:
- In a “new year catch-up” with a CPA you refer business to;
- In a review meeting with your clients where you highlight their “wins and achievements in 2021”;
- At an introduction meeting with your client’s referral;
- Over lunch with your friend who you sit on the same board with;
- In a conversation with someone you connected with on social media;
- At dinner with your friends and their spouses;
- At your mastermind coaching group; and
- Over coffee with your college friend who is an estate attorney.
The more you grow accustomed to reflecting on these conversations at the end of the week, the more you are going to cue yourself to have more of them.
Number of Daily Frustrations: Quarterly
This may seem like an odd one, but oftentimes advisors are frustrated about things in their practice that could either be fixed quickly, or that are actually a “red flag” about their firm. They let these frustrations build up over time and sometimes hinder their own practice’s growth because of it.
I encourage advisors to reflect on the day-to-day frustrations of the prior quarter. In other words, what bugged you the MOST on a daily basis? Some examples may include:
- Challenges with compliance/inability to market how you want to;
- Fragmented technology/tech not providing a holistic picture of your book;
- Employee underperforming;
- Cultural issues with local office/home office; and
- Your own procrastination.
Are your recurring frustrations indicative of the fact that you are focusing your efforts where you shouldn’t? Or are they pointing to a larger issue within your firm? Perhaps you have outgrown your home office. Or maybe you need to bring on a COO. Our own reactions to our daily lives can teach us a lot about the decisions we should be making.
Level of Team Morale: Weekly
Have you ever stopped to consider the current morale of your team? In a hybrid or virtual-only world, it can be difficult to tell whether your entire team is engaged and working cohesively.
Getting in the habit of assessing team member morale and reflecting on team dynamics can help you lead more effectively. You may be able to anticipate necessary personnel changes quicker than before and even prevent team member turnover. Consider the following before you close out the week:
- What type of week did your team have this week? Was it a productive week?
- What was the tone of your weekly meeting? Was anything different about this meeting than others?
- Which team member seems most engaged? Why?
If you are finding that it's difficult for you to quickly answer those questions, you’ll want to look for more ways to engage with your team throughout the week, especially if you are remaining a virtual practice. Even something as simple as restructuring your weekly team meeting agendas can help drive engagement and communication. Remember that the success of the practice is contingent upon everyone succeeding in their individual roles.
Penny Phillips is the co-founder and president of Journey Strategic Wealth.