40 INVESTMENT ADVISOR APRIL 2020 | ThinkAdvisor.com
identify opportunities for improvement
on their own. Of course, it’s important
that employees understand the limits of
their authority and when to run an idea
by their boss and/or the owner. But it’s
equally important for firm owners to
carefully listen to their employees’ ideas.
It’s tempting for an owner to believe
they have all the answers, but they
don’t. Quite often employees will
know their jobs a lot better than an
owner does. After all, they are on the
front lines, doing their jobs day in and
6. Planning and organization. We
find that the most productive employees tend to approach their jobs in an
organized fashion. They prioritize their
work so more important tasks are completed first. They also work toward
increasing efficiency, eliminating wasted time and resources.
Planning usually results in an even
distribution of one’s workload and minimizes wasted time. The result is usually better, more precise work based on
greater attention to detail.
7. Decision Making. Businesses
run more smoothly and efficiently
when employees have the authority to make key decisions within
their areas of responsibility without
It’s important that the employee and
their immediate supervisor (usually
the firm owner) work together to clearly articulate the regularly occurring
decisions to be made by the employee
and those that require approval by
Businesses run the most successfully
when key employees are given fairly
broad authority within their work areas,
along with the responsibility to regularly report the outcomes of their decisions
to their supervisor.
8. Interpersonal skills. Despite
what you might think, have heard or
perhaps come to believe on your own,
people in organizations like businesses
tend to be much more successful when
their colleagues like them. We would all
like to think that life isn’t a popularity
contest, but it is.
In an advisory business, this “
likeability” factor comes in many forms. At the
top, owners and managers need to know
that they can trust their employees to
represent them and can act according to
their wishes when the owner/manager
In the trenches, teams tend to be
much more successful when they all
like and respect each other. Being part
of a team is motivational, particularly
when the members feel they “are all in
it together,” helping each other to work
toward the same goal.
The downside is that the success
of a team can be adversely affected
when one member doesn’t work well
with others. Bad team players come
in many forms, from those who don’t
help out other team members when
needed, to those who constantly criti-
cize others or who take credit for
other’s work or achievements.
You get the picture (and probably
have experienced working with people
like this). Often, some people aren’t
aware of their bad behavior or of its
effect on others. And when it’s brought
to their attention, they feel badly about
it and then make a genuine effort to
become a better team member.
The takeaway here is that while an
advisory firm obviously needs lots of
top-notch expertise in financial services
to provide top-level financial advice to
its clients, it also needs to emphasize
and focus on the key skills that cultivate
leaders to succeed on the business side
of the firm’s operations, too.
Angie Herbers is an independent consultant to
the advisory industry. She can be reached at
Good business leaders both allow and
encourage their employees to take initiative.
That is to make decisions, come up with
solutions and identify opportunities for
improvement on their own.