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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: How to Build Firm Culture with Tessa Felix

Culture is not just about creating a fun workplace, but about the actions and behaviors that are expressed in the workplace.



#FAS Ep 161: Tessa FelixWelcome back to the 161st episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Tessa Felix. Tessa is the HR and operations lead for PWL Capital, an advisory firm based in Montreal and Ottawa that oversees nearly $3.6 billion in assets under management.

What’s unique about Tessa, though, is her particular focus on developing the culture of her advisory firm, and the systems and structure that she’s put in place to help hold everyone on the team accountable for their work, in addition to making the firm an enjoyable environment to work in.

In this episode, we talk in-depth about the Reality-Based Leadership system that Tessa has incorporated into her management approach in the firm. Why the emotional expense of employee drama is such an important cost to manage and save for the firm; Tessa’s routine of weekly team meetings, internal team podcasts, and monthly one-on-ones that she uses to maintain the culture of the firm; and why in the end, culture is not just about creating a fun workplace, but about the actions and behaviors that are expressed in the workplace.

We also talk about Tessa’s own career journey. From joining her advisory firm in an operations role, earning her advisor licenses to shift into a client-facing advisory role, deciding that she actually enjoys the work of managing people and building culture more than working directly with clients and shifting back into an internal operations role, the way she navigated the challenging transition from being a peer of her co-workers to their manager instead, and how she ultimately became not just the HR and operations lead, but the culture lead for her advisory firm as well.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Tessa shares some of the key books that have influenced her journey of learning how to develop and manage people and culture, the software tool she uses to help manage internal team meetings and employee engagement, and the importance of both cultivating a growth mindset in employees and having a growth mindset as a firm where culture itself will always be fluid and evolving.

And so with that introduction, I hope you enjoy this episode of the “Financial Advisor Success” podcast with Tessa Felix.

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