Michael was an investment advisor with a nationally known financial advisory firm. He had his own office and a single assistant. He was outgoing, knowledgeable and understood his business well.
He enjoyed the Value Equation process and gained significant insight into where he could bring discipline and focus to gain additional success. Michael’s business was doing fairly well but not great, and he really thought he could do much better. We helped him develop both short term and longer term goals. He was fairly clear about some of the goals on his list, but he was also fairly aggressive. During the assessment phase of the process we found that he was pretty much hitting all of the right items. From a sales, marketing, client development and operational standpoint he was doing well. However, we also noticed one odd little thing, which ended up being a major key to his success.
Michael’s administrative assistant, Robin, had great people skills and was very engaging. However, Michael didn’t see her role as being involved in the actual services he provided to his clients, and he was very focused on achieving his goals. He would greet her each morning and then go in his office and shut the door. When she tried to connect with him on a personal level, talking about her family and asking questions of him, he felt those interactions were a waste of time and didn’t really respond to her. So, she answered phones, took messages, and greeted clients, but she didn’t feel that Michael appreciated her capabilities or cared about her. She didn’t know what his business goals were and had no visibility into the business. She felt “shut out.”
We noticed this lack of interaction, which was surprising given that they were both outgoing, friendly people. We brought this to Michael’s attention and asked him to try spending a little time getting to know Robin and build more of a relationship with her—let her know he appreciated that she was there and cared about her. So, he did, and as they interacted more, it became comfortable for him to talk about where he was going with the business and what was happening with the individual clients. Those interactions energized Robin, and she felt empowered because he was sharing this information with her. She also felt a sense of psychological safety in her job that was lacking. Michael began to listen and respond to Robin’s suggestions for improved client support and business development. They communicated and built a relationship on a professional and business level.
As a result, Robin became more aligned with Michael’s goals and could support him in providing services to their clients—and they became a team. They started working together to achieve his goals, which became their goals.
We finished the project and watched as Michael’s business accelerated as a result of the changed environment in the office. The Michael and Robin team were doing well, creating value for his clients and for themselves as well.
I had lunch with Michael one day in June, halfway through the year, to connect with him and find out how he was doing with his goals.
“I’m done,” he said.
I asked, “What do you mean, you’re done?”
“I’ve met all my goals for the year already.”
As you can imagine, I was pretty stunned!
His personal connection with Robin empowered not only her but their teamwork, and they became aligned in providing outstanding service to their clients. That communication was one of the keys – a key growth factor – to meeting of his business goals and success factors. His customers felt that they had not only Michael helping them, but a team—and as an aligned team, they were much more effective in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Michael’s practice is now being used by the investment firm as an example success story for their other advisors, and he shares what he did to achieve his growth with others — communicate his values and his goals with his team and align his team to achieve the Success Factors he had identified. Sometimes it is the seemingly inconsequential things that bring success!