Demonstrate Purposeful Leadership

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."

 - Alan Lakein

WHY is this important?

 

Most of the Advisors we work with think about their business 24/7.  When they’re not thinking about how to drive more revenue, their thoughts turn to their vision, inspiration, goals and all the things they need to accomplish it. Unfortunately, all of this is not absorbed through osmosis by the rest of the team. There is often a major disconnect between what the advisor thinks, and what the team understands.

 

The path to fully inspiring and engaging your team begins with the Annual Strategic Planning Session. It will bring the entire team together and unite everyone as it relates to the fundamentals of the business: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and most importantly the WHY.

 

Not only does this fully connect everyone and get them on the same page with respect to what is going on in the business, it is also an essential step in ongoing team building. 

 

The Weekly Team Meeting is a predictable time when everyone can come together and get on the same page with respect to the goings-on of the practice that week – what needs to happen to the widget.  Not only does the Weekly Team Meeting provide better coordination, communication, and delegation – it demonstrates solid, consistent, professional leadership.

 

A Quarterly Team Meeting is a meaningful method to ensure everyone on your team understands the common goals and activities of your practice in the context of the ‘big picture.’  It’s not surprising that when you and your team are regularly absorbed in the day-to-day operations of the practice, team members can sometimes lose sight of the big picture and what the end goal is.  A successful team needs to be plucked out of the ‘day-to-day’ domain periodically so everyone can get the 365-degree view of what is going on.  The Quarterly Strategic Meeting is a necessary part of empowering everyone to do their part working on the business and not just in it.  It will help connect the team to your vision.      

 

Your team is your greatest asset, and they have the ability to help you achieve your ideal practice. 

 

This is not an all or none best practice – simply doing any one of these will help your practice.  However, the maximum benefit will be derived if you adopt some version of all of them:

 

  • Annual Strategic Planning

  • Quarterly Team Meeting

  • Weekly Team Meeting

The reality is, it’s a lot simpler than you think to implement. After you do it once, you will ask yourself why you haven’t been doing it all along. 

Who is this proven strategy designed for?

 

Advisors with other individuals on their advisory wealth team who regularly support them and/or interact with their clients regularly and who want a successful, purposeful advisory practice.

WHAT should you expect?

  • Demonstrate your purposeful, proactive, and professional leadership

  • Have a formalized and effective method to convey your vision and goals to your team each and every year

  • Build an Annual Strategic Plan that serves as a snapshot of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it

  • Provide a predictable 90-day checkpoint for everyone on the team

  • Use a Quarterly Meeting Agenda to help you assess progress and outline next steps

  • Establish a simple method of accountability on a weekly basis with your team members

  • Ensure your team is fully aligned and engaged in the strategic vision of your practice

  • Develop a greater sense of team unity

  • Enable full participation from everyone on the team on a regular basis

HOW to Take Action & Implement Successfully?

 

PART 1: Get Ready for Your Annual Strategic Planning Session

 

  1. Choose the best time of year to have your Annual Strategic Planning Session.

    • Some teams choose October/November/December to ensure they are set for the calendar year ahead.

    • Other teams choose times which correspond with their own or their firm’s fiscal year end.

  2. Schedule the Annual Strategic Planning Meeting onto the calendar as early as possible so everyone has the time set aside – make it the same time of year, every year. 

    • These meetings will take an entire day, so plan accordingly.

  3. It is highly recommended this session is booked offsite to minimize distractions and inevitable interruptions. 

    • Find a comfortable and professional venue that offers privacy for the work you will be doing, as well as the ability to cater the event with food and beverages.

    • Some teams find a venue they really enjoy and go back year-after-year.  This makes the process of booking and organizing easy.  Others prefer variety and choose new locations each year – it’s entirely up to you.

  4. Review the Annual Strategic Planning Agenda and customize as required based on what you want your team to cover.

  5. Review the Annual Strategic Planning Workbook and customize as required. 

    • This is a great tool to guide the entire team through the day, as well as provide everyone with a place to capture notes.

  6. Decide who you want to ‘facilitate’ this session.  This is the person who will manage the agenda, ensure the participation of everyone, organize information, and drive the overall flow of the day.

    • You may have someone on the team who is a natural fit for this role. The ideal person for this would be someone whom everyone respects and who respects everyone, who actively listens and communicates well, and encourages the participation and inclusion of all team members in a positive manner. The ideal candidate will not intentionally sway the team one direction or the other, but instead guide based on a general consensus. 

    • You may have someone within the firm who can provide this service to you.  Check with your Practice Management Division and/or others if possible.

    • You may want to hire a third-party to ensure everyone can fully participate in the strategic planning and not be distracted by their role as facilitator. 

 

Inspire & Engage Your Team

  1. Make sure everyone is emailed a copy of the Annual Strategic Planning Agenda at least one month in advance of the session along with instructions on how to best prepare. 

    • Be sure to include the date, time, location and dress code on the Agenda.

    • Inform them that each attendee must be up-to-date with respect to the areas of business operations they are responsible for – this may require a variety of pre-work. 

    • Clearly define any pre-work that may be required.

  2. Email a copy of the Annual Strategic Planning Workbook to ensure they are aware of the primary tool used to manage this process.

    • This can be emailed at the same time as the Agenda or just afterwards.

  3. Confirm all aspects of the meeting logistics 2 to 3 weeks in advance of the scheduled session.

  4. One month leading up to the session, remind the entire team at the Weekly Team Meeting to reinforce the preparation and engagement expected.

  5. In preparation of the event, ensure all necessary items are organized and ready to go. This may include the following items:

    • Printed copies of the Annual Strategic Planning Agenda for all participants

    • Printed copies of the Annual Strategic Planning Workbook and/or a notebook or padfolio for participants to take notes in

    • Flip Charts, Easels & Markers for group work and activities

    • Tape, Scissor & Paper (just in case)

    • Audio visual equipment, if required (this may be supplied by the venue, but may also involve the use of team laptops for recaps, reviews, and/or presentations and discussions).

    • Anything else you plan on using during the session

  6. For other ways to enhance this experience, review Show Gratitude to Your Team.

 

 

It’s Showtime - The Annual Strategic Planning Session

 

  1. Have the organizer show up at least an hour in advance of the scheduled start time to ensure the room is properly set up and ready to go, including testing all audio visual and technology being used.

    • Make sure the room looks professional and comfortable for the attendees.

    • Know where the washroom facilities are located, along with any other amenities you may need to access.

  2. Everyone needs to come fully prepared to the meeting.

    • Each attendee is expected to fully engage and participate.

  3. Make sure everyone has a copy of the following items:

    • Annual Strategic Planning Agenda

    • Annual Strategic Planning Workbook

    • Any other items that will/may be referenced during the session.

  4. One person on the team will be assigned to synthesize the information shared at this session and provide a summary to the entire team using the Annual Strategic Planning Workbook.

  5. Everyone is encouraged to take notes related to their specific role and takeaways.

  6. Use Flip Charts and assign various team members to facilitate documentation on them for a variety of the discussions throughout the day.

    • The person responsible for producing the Annual Strategic Plan for the team should collect all flip charts completed and/or take photos of them.

  7. Participants enjoy breaking up these sessions with individual and/or group work throughout these types of sessions.

  8. Be mindful of daily needs throughout the session:

    • Make sure breaks are taken so everyone can be stretched and refreshed.

    • Make sure food and beverages are provided to keep everyone well energized.

  9. When you wind down the day, provide each of the participants with their “Thank-You” packages to show your appreciation of their commitment and engagement in helping you grow your business.  

  10. If you have a fun team event planned, move onto that part of the day or evening.

 

Annual Strategic Planning Session Follow-Up

  1. The day after the Annual Strategic Planning Session, the coordinator will send an email thanking everyone for their time.  This email should outline the timeline for receiving the preliminary draft of the Strategic Plan.

  2. Within a week or two of the session, email a copy of the Annual Strategic Planning Workbook to the team and ask for any feedback based on what might need to be fine-tuned or modified.

    • Provide a timeline for this feedback to be provided – one week is recommended.

  3. No later than one month after the session, the finalized version of the Annual Strategic Plan should be in place, including specific goals, activities, and individuals responsible for each.

  4. This is when the real work begins to achieve the Outcome-Based and Activity-Based Goals.

  5. Set the Quarterly Strategic Meeting to ensure everyone is focused and moving forward to achieve the desired results.

    • Refer to the Quarterly Strategic Meetings for more information. 

  6. Continue to focus on activities and items that will result in the achievement of the high priority goals at each Weekly Team Meeting.

 

PART 2: Set & Prepare for the Quarterly Strategic Meeting

 

  1. To get started review Provide Ongoing Leadership & Guidance.

  2. Identify who on the team is responsible for the Quarterly Strategic Meeting – they will be responsible for implementing the steps outlined in this process.

  3. Schedule the Quarterly Strategic Meetings into everyone’s organizer for the next year. 

    • These meetings take about 3 hours, so plan for a morning or an afternoon.

    • Provide beverages and snacks/meals to make it a more enjoyable event for your team.

  4. Review the Quarterly Strategic Meeting Agenda and customize as required based on what you want your team to cover.

  5. Remind everyone at the Weekly Team Meeting that it is coming up on the schedule and to be prepared to update everyone on all items they are responsible for.

  6. Send the Agenda to the team two weeks in advance of the meeting so they can begin preparing any areas of the Agenda they will be responsible for.

 

Facilitating the Quarterly Strategic Meeting

  1. Make sure everyone has a copy of the Agenda at the outset of each meeting. 

    • Use the same Agenda template, so it is easy to update and use.

  2. Use the Quarterly Strategic Progress Tracker each quarter to clearly identify the following:

    • Goals & Initiatives Important for that Quarter

    • Who on the team is responsible for overseeing it

    • Action Items for how to achieve the goal or initiative

  3. Come prepared to the meeting.

    • Each attendee must be up-to-date with respect to the areas of business operations they are responsible for. 

  4. Have someone assigned to take notes and send a team update after the meeting.

  5. Consistency will be important in forming and reinforcing your new structured approach to team communication.

 

PART 3: Weekly Team Meeting

 

  1. Follow the implementation instructions outlined in the Weekly Team Meeting Guidelines to either initiate or improve your ongoing team communication.

  2. Choose a weekly day and time to meet that is convenient to everyone. 

    • The beginning of the week tends to work well for many Advisors and their staff

    • Fridays are generally not recommended due to days off, early departures, other meetings, etc.

  3. Book the team meeting into everyone’s organizer as a reoccurring commitment over the long-term. 

    • Do not skip the meeting due to one team member’s absence (unless you are a team of two)

    • As an Advisor, you show respect to your team by showing up on time and fully prepared

  4. Review the Weekly Team Meeting Agenda and customize where required.

  5. Make sure everyone has a copy of the Agenda at the outset of each meeting. 

    • It is the same Agenda each time, so this is easy to facilitate

  6. Come prepared to the meeting.

    • Each attendee must be up to date with respect to the areas of business operations they are responsible for

  7. Make sure you have a meeting facilitator.

  8. Keep things short and concise. These meetings should not take any longer than 30 minutes.

  9. Consistency will be important in forming and reinforcing your new structured approach to team communication.

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