Human nature encourages us to think we are indispensable and this is especially so in our work. How many times do you hear people ask: “What would they do without us?” or tell someone: “They’d be lost without you”?
For advisers, however, the opposite is true. If something happened to you, your clients would continue to need financial planning to meet their objectives. And what about if you run your own business? Surely you would want that to continue as well, perhaps being bought out by another firm or run by your existing staff.
US certified financial planner Floyd Green built his own advice business. Although he had a number of staff in support, he admitted to building it around him. He was indispensable. Then, one day, he had a car accident. He was left in a coma for several weeks, after which time he needed months at home recuperating before returning to work part-time.
He was extremely worried about the state of his business but he need not have been because he had hired a capable team. One thing he did notice when he returned to work, though, was many of his staff were doing different jobs.
They had sat down and discussed what needed doing and asked each other what they liked or disliked about their designated roles. They found many were doing jobs they hated but others liked doing, so they swapped. As such, the company ran smoothly and effectively in their boss’ absence.
Taking a leaf out of the book of Floyd’s team, why not get your staff together and ask them to list the parts of their jobs they like and dislike? Have an open and honest discussion and find out if others like doing them better. As long as you do it in an organised fashion, you can get the best from your staff and support them in their own development.
A word of caution, though. We should not always be able to do the bits we like and let someone else do the bits we do not. For example, one planner I know went through this exercise some years ago to conclude he liked the technical aspects of the job but did not like seeing clients as much. When he left the firm and had to seek out new clients he realised he had been missing out as he really enjoyed helping them.
In conducting this exercise, we need to plan our self-development and consider ways in which the teams in place around us can work happily and effectively together for the good of both clients and the business. The results should mean fewer sickness absences, happy staff and clients, and increased business profitability.
Jacqueline Lockie is deputy head of financial planning at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment