Most aspects of modern life are focused on the “I” – whether it’s a star fund manager generating alpha, or a sales person clinching the final deal – and we often ignore all the other important people behind the scenes. In fact, aside from in sport, we rarely celebrate the whole team victory. But a successful leader can only be really great when he or she is able to bounce ideas off other people, inspire others and give credit where it’s due. A great leader also looks to move their business forward by delegating the routine tasks, whether that be with the help of staff, technology or a combination of both.
Free to focus on financial planning
Delegation and teamwork are equally important in the financial advisory space. Behind the scenes, we need both paraplanners and support staff, as well as a smart back-end tech system. One system, ideally, which stores everything client-related in one place, which is integrated with all the popular tools that advisers use in the risk profiling, payment and cashflow modelling areas, and which notifies us every time the client changes their details, or wants to get in touch.
Why do we need all that? Because efficient tech allows advisers the time and headspace to focus on financial planning, rather than re-keying in data, chasing down clients to sign documents or getting lost in emails. Such a system also allows a whole team to work together, no matter how big or small the team is, or where they are based. If you can share messages and documents by logging on to the same system, it means someone else can pick up the slack when colleagues are off, unwell or on holiday. If an adviser starts to onboard a new client, but needs a paraplanner to finish the job, they can simply invite their colleague to get started.
Letting go doesn’t mean losing control
Of course, it can be hard to let go. This is especially true if you are the founder of the firm, you’ve built it up for many years and you hope the business will fund your retirement. For you, the small details matter. You probably want everything to be done perfectly – just like you would do it.
But with a great back office system, letting go doesn’t mean acting blindly or no longer being involved. Simply invite a colleague to finish processing, say, a client agreement or risk profile, but keep on track via notifications. Check-in with the project when you have time and if your colleague has done a good job, let them know. In the meantime, you might have had time to take a closer look at getting that client one step closer to achieving their life goals.
Once you’ve got the right people in place and the system to support that collaboration, you can take a big sigh of relief. The whole place will not collapse if you take a break, or you have to leave early on Thursdays. (An online, centralised system you can log in at home or on the bus – wherever you have Wifi – just in case you’re worried.) “Key person risk” is common among star fund managers, but it doesn’t have to be the case with advisers, and that teamwork will also give your clients some peace of mind amid changing circumstances. After all, entrusting one’s life savings to one person is a lot more daunting than knowing a whole support team stands behind them.
There’s no “I” in team
We’ve heard it too many times but the phrase is true: there is no “I” in “team”. You might have started off as a one-man-band with a fax machine and an office full of paper, but these days technology can automate the routine tasks, as well as make it easier for your colleagues to help you out.
Who knows how delegation could open up your world? You might end up enjoying it.