Time for a Clean Slate

Time for a Clean Slate

Scrolling through my social media feed the other day, I saw a Christmas ornament with 2020 printed on it.  The ornament was in the shape of trash dumpster with a glowing fire at the top.  How’s that for Christmas cheer?

Many advisors I speak with are ready for 2021 to hurry up and get here already. They want to crumple up the calendar and throw it in the garbage.

That said, every minute of every day represents an opportunity to improve your life and improve your practice.  With 30 days left to go in the year, now is the perfect time for you to design what your 2021 is going to look like.

Whenever we begin working with a new financial advisor client, one of the first questions we ask is: “Knowing what you know now, if you could wipe the slate clean and start over again with a brand new practice, what would it look like?” We call this their Vision for their Ideal Practice. It sets the direction for the practice. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you’re making a good decision or bad decision for your practice?

When evaluating various choices, you can ask yourself, “Does this bring our practice closer to or farther away from our vision?”  This allows you to enthusiastically say “yes” to actions that will help the practice grow, while confidently saying “no” to everything that will pull it away from success.

Here are some examples of how a strong vision can help your decisions.

  • How will this investment in staffing or technology help me achieve my vision faster?
  • Do these prospective clients match my ideal client profile? If not, how will my practice be affected if I work with them?
  • How will this change in my service standards bring me closer to achieving my vision?
  • Does the time and/or expense of this initiative have a direct correlation to my stated vision?

Creating a team vision doesn’t require an all-day, offsite meeting.  Nor does it need a bunch of fancy words.  More often than not, the vision is already in your head, and you just need to get it down on paper.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Block 60 minutes in a quiet place away from the office. By stepping away from the familiar, you’re more likely to gain a fresh prospective.
  2. Think big but relatively short-term (3-5 years). A vision that feels far off is demotivating but one that’s just over the horizon is exciting.
  3. Get as many ideas down on paper as quickly possible using the questions below. Don’t worry about the how (for now) – just focus on the what.
  4. After you’ve established your initial list of ideas, highlight the top 3-5 that are most inspiring to you.
  5. Write your vision in narrative form using as though you’ve already achieved it. For example, you can write, “In 2025, my practice is…”
  6. Keep it in a place so you can you review it no less than once per week. As appropriate, keep tweaking it so that it remains exciting and motivating to you.

Some questions you may want to consider in defining your vision include:

  • What lessons have you learned in 2020 about your personal values and your clients’ values?
  • What kind of clients would you have if you could keep only the best and throw out the rest?
  • What would your day look like if you could rewrite your schedule on your terms?
  • What would you do differently in how you advise your clients?
  • How does your team function together? What is the overall feel of your office environment?
  • How does your firm grow?
  • What does your personal life look like? Where do you find personal and professional fulfillment?
  • You may want to include quantitative metrics such as AUM or revenue but you might also focus on what achieving those metrics would mean to you.

Regardless of your feelings about 2020, take the next 30 days to wipe the slate clean and get ready for an amazing 2021.

PS: If you’d like a brief call to discuss your 2021 plans and how Pathfinder might help you design your ideal practice, email Adam to schedule a complimentary 30-minute conversation.  We’d be glad to help!

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