For most financial advisors and planners, running an efficient practice generally means getting work done through others. And that means that knowing how to delegate effectively is vital.
Unfortunately, advisors often make requests of others without taking the time to clearly define what they want. Consequently, the person receiving the request moves forward without a complete understanding of direction, purpose, or priority.
If you are frequently frustrated when others don’t meet your expectations, take time to address the following questions:
- What is the desired outcome and what standards are being used?
In other words, what does success look like? For example, if a client wants to update beneficiary information, success means that the new information is documented and appropriately registered in the system.
- Why is this task important?
To create context, it can be helpful to clarify the big picture. Using the example of updating beneficiary information, you may explain that the client has remarried and wants to make sure that the previous spouse doesn’t inherit the account in the event of his untimely death.
- How will the task be performed?
Determine whether you need to provide guidance on how to complete the task. In some cases, you may not care about the details as long as the task gets done correctly, while in other situations, it may be important to provide detailed instructions.
- By when does this task need to be completed?
By sharing the timeframe or priority, you enable the other person to appropriately manage their time and other tasks to complete your request when you need it.
- Who needs to be informed or have input?
Do you want to know or make sure your client knows that the task was completed? If the task has multiple steps, do you or your client need periodic updates or the opportunity to provide feedback? If so, be explicit with your expectations.
The answers to these questions don’t need to be long or drawn-out. However, taking the time to be intentional and precise with your requests will lead to better results and greater satisfaction for you and your clients.