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A Case For Improved Communication

A Case For Improved Communication

As with most relationships, clear communication between next gen advisors and their team leaders is crucial to the success of both parties. These next gen advisors want their managers to talk to them about key obstacles facing the firm, and create opportunities for more engagement with their team. Younger advisors also want their more seasoned colleagues to circle back to ensure they understand important concepts and processes.

One quarter of the survey respondents report that their team leader is not effective at communication. Additionally they note their team leaders likely think they are better at communicating than they actually are.

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There’s certainly room for improvement. For example, the research revealed that while most team leaders seem to have a strategic plan for their practice, many have yet to explain that plan to their younger advisors. In fact, more than 40% of the survey respondents say that their firm’s strategic plan hasn’t been effectively communicated to them. Such plans usually include an assessment of the firm’s strengths and weakness, and future objectives and strategies for building revenue and growing and retaining clients. These plans not only give younger advisors a clear understanding of the firm’s direction, but also lets them contemplate where they may fit into the business’ long-term plans.

It’s likely that some team leaders simply assume their younger advisorsalready know what the future holds for the firm or have a sense of what’s coming. But that’s often not the case, especially if the associates aren’t regularly involved in planning or strategic discussions. Most next generation advisors are Millennials. Research has shown they have a strong desire to do meaningful work. Having an understanding of the big picture and being clear on what the firm is striving for creates a strong foundation for their continued participation in your business.

Here are a few best practices to help create productive connections with next gen advisors:

  • Hold annual meetings with the team to share a strategic review of the previous year and discuss the strategic plan going forward. This helps people to feel connected, gives firm leaders a chance to garner input and allows younger advisors to ask questions.
  • Ask your next gen advisor(s) to conduct the analytics on the “year in review.” They could also contribute during the planning process with their own ideas for growth.
  • Organize a quarterly meeting to review progress against goals and report out on key initiatives. Having your next gen advisor(s) help develop and organize the business review can create leverage and further foster engagement.

Also consider making this important information accessible in more than one format. As we discussed in “Solving the Next Gen Advisor Conundrum: Time to Productivity,” the next generation thrives on digital communication. In addition to discussing the plan, team leaders could create a shared digital document that next gen advisors can reference when they have questions. Break the key messages and metrics down to bite size chunks that can be shared continuously through brief e-mails and even texts.

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Breakthrough Growth, LLC is a joint venture between The Collaborative and Purpose Consulting Group. Established by two industry veterans to meet the need for effective hands-on resources to accelerate productivity of the next generation of advisors and their leaders.  

Christine Gaze is president of Purpose Consulting Group, a practice management consulting firm that works with financial services leaders to develop strategies and thought leadership programs that engage and advance financial advisors.  In the last 20 years, she has held a variety of leadership roles in practice management and human capital at firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, AllianceBernstein and TD Ameritrade.  She is a frequent speaker, avid researcher, and writer.

Beverly D. Flaxington (The Human Behavior Coach™) has spent more than 25 years in the investment industry as a sales and marketing expert, corporate consultant, college professor and Gold-award winning author She has been quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Her latest bestselling book is titled Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior.

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