The Inner Game: Keeping Score

It's halftime in the game of 2008. If you want to come out a winner, this is the moment to assess whether you’re on track and readjust.

Don't you love those games where you can keep a running score? After all, that is what fuels the competitive drive, whether we are spectators or participants. Talk to any parent of a student athlete: When I attended my son's high-school baseball games, nothing was more frustrating to me and the other parents than an inoperable scoreboard.

Part of the allure of your chosen profession is that you function in an environment that is all about keeping score. It is the essence of what makes a financial advisor entrepreneurial. Recently, I had two separate conference calls with two different wealth management teams, and the topic of each was metrics systems — keeping score. We reviewed performance-specific topics such as the number of new affluent relationships gathered in a set period of time, net new assets, fee-based revenue and annualized production.

In both cases, the teams were particularly focused on their six-month results. They wanted to know the “half-time” score — where they stood relative to their annual targets. Interestingly enough, though these teams recorded different results, the outcomes of the conference calls were quite similar. One team was ahead of schedule and had doubled the rate at which it brought in net new assets versus 2007. So it raised its 2008 targets, and realigned its fixed daily activities accordingly. The other team was slightly behind schedule, but it also determined to realign its fixed daily activities, in this case to dial up the pace in order to make certain the team would achieve its 2008 goals.

Both of these high-performance teams are led by “rainmakers,“ and rainmakers are sticklers about keeping score. And you should be, too. You see, rainmakers are extremely goal-focused. They are serious about their goals and very passionate about achieving the targets they set for themselves. The typical advisor, by contrast, is much more casual about setting and achieving his goals, and thus more casual about keeping score. Can you imagine the high-achieving parent of a high-school athlete tolerating a casual attitude about winning? I can hear the lecture now — ouch!

Six-Month Review

This is your half-time; the time of year that requires a close inspection of our progress to-date. If you're on target, great, you can continue what you're doing and reach your goals or, like the aforementioned team, you can raise your sights. If you are not on target, there is still time to make the necessary adjustments and re-commit yourself to achieving your year-end goals. That's what half-time is all about.

Even though I am not privy to your business plan or 2008 goals, the Metrics Scorecard at left should prove useful for your half-time review. The idea is to track everything that will allow you to win the game (achieving your 2008 goals).

Activity Realignment

Here is where the rubber meets the road. If you are on or ahead of pace, my experience tells me that, like most rainmakers, you will raise your 2008 goals. This simple act will refuel your motivational engine, which in turn will require you to realign your activities, and the next thing you know, you will once more have forced yourself to venture outside your comfort zone.

If you happen to be behind schedule, denial is not your friend. You will need to make a serious course correction. Usually this begins and ends with a careful review of everyone's fixed-daily activities. It is important to focus on activities within your control and not get distracted by those that are not. For example, fee-based revenue is likely to be down as a result of the markets. There is nothing you can do about that other than continue to schmooze your affluent clients and continue penetrating their centers-of-influence.

In realigning activities, often the real culprit is simply a lack of consistency. You know what you're supposed to do, sometimes you do what you need to do, other times you don't. Somehow, you get pulled off track. In the spirit of simplicity, think in terms of self-discipline linked to your 2008 goals. Period! Many a game was won in the second half.

Things to Track at the Six-Month Halfway Mark:


Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli
is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.