Organize Your Thinking

Last week I helped a client think through what he needed to include in an investment philosophy description he was working on for his website. He started with a random list of thoughts – some were sentences, some just words or phrases – but no idea how to put it all together into well-defined investment philosophy.

After thinking through what we wanted to say, the best approach to organizing it seemed to be:

  1. Define the specific principle (what he believed)
  2. Provide some perspective or background (why he believed it)
  3. Describe how that belief influenced his approach (what he did)
  4. Demonstrate the results (how his clients benefited)

In a conversation with another advisor team, we were talking about how best to analyze their recent client advisory board meeting. Here are the questions I suggested they consider:

  1. What was your purpose/goal for the meeting and how well did you achieve it?
  2. What were your clients’ most important takeaways?
  3. What did you learn from your clients? And how do you plan to implement what you learned?

You might be thinking, “What does defining your investment philosophy have to do with evaluating a meeting of clients?”

Both activities benefit from stepping back, looking at the big picture, and framing a structure to organize your thinking.

This is why describing your approach to onboarding clients with a list of the steps or a flowchart, can help new clients understand what you’re doing and why.

It’s also why using a simple outline or agenda (preferably sending it to clients ahead of time) can help them (and yourself) prepare for a more productive meeting.

We all find clarity and comfort when we have a structure or framework for moving forward and we know what to expect. Try it with your clients…or your team…or yourself.

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