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Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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A Born Leader? Would Your Office Elect You?

We have all heard it, “He/she is a born leader!” Do you believe that to be true?

Leaders are not necessarily born as leaders, instead, they encompass the desire and willpower to become an effective leader. Successful leaders develop through education, training, self-study and experience.

With the election behind us, we can wonder what changes will take place under the leadership of our elected officials. Will our leaders serve our country, states and communities keeping promises and the  hopes and dreams of us, “the people” in mind? If you held an election today in your office, would your team choose you as its’ leader? What characteristics and qualities does a leader need in order to be chosen to lead our nation, our community or yet, your firm?

We have identified that leadership is primarily learned. The skills and knowledge a person possess contribute to the development of leadership, while other attributes make a leader unique such as:

  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Ethics
  • Character

At the most basic level, a leader is someone who leads another. That alone probably isn’t going to be enough to land a leadership victory. A true leader carries vast qualities under one hat. People are naturally drawn to successful leaders because they inspire others, they are likeable and they lead through example. Failure of leaders to live up to employee expectations is the heart of leadership tribulations.

So, How Do You Get Elected To Run Your Office?

We have gathered a list of the most important qualities employees want in a leader.  Here they are:

  • Trust Employees typically rank trust as the #1 trait essential to that of a leader.
  • People skills Employees prefer an environment where they can thrive, share and grow vs. the traditional “command and control” style of leadership.
  • Good communication skills Be honest and open about what is happening in your business.
  • Decisive Provide clarity and direction in decision making and use structured dialog to aide in reaching group decisions.
  • Motivational Strive to bring passion and positive energy to the workplace every single day. Consider the rollercoaster of the nation’s economic status – you still have your business. Provide your employees with a source of positive energy.
  • Inspiring Those that can inspire a group of people to perform at a higher level, produce more effective, efficient and productive teams.
  • Accountable Being accountable means accepting responsibility for outcomes both good and bad.  You don’t blame others.
  • Developers Leaders develop and empower their team in ways that allow their employees to feel successful, most of the time.

Leadership doesn’t happen haphazardly. It takes a lot of self discipline, a vision and a goal to continually develop and enhance your own set of leadership skills and knowledge. Leadership also means you are leading a group, working together to accomplish common objectives and goals. Being a successful leader also means you have a successful, engaged team by your side.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

-Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Political Economist & Author

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Create A Powerful Asset With An Advisory Board

You don’t need to tread in unfamiliar waters alone. Building an advisory board for your firm will create a powerful asset that will provide advice and objective feedback elevating the level of service you provide and improving the current client experience.

Advisory boards have no fiduciary responsibility. Their advice is non-binding. Your advisory board should provide you with great feedback and will naturally become a powerful referral engine as they gain a vested interest in the success of the firm.

Eight Steps To Creating Your Advisory Board

Determine The Objective – Your advisory board will help you look at your firm with an open mind. Objectives should include; insight to product and business development, marketing and technology, and research that encompasses emerging industry trends.

Define Your Advisory Board Member Profiles – Choose clients that will become evangelists for your firm while mentoring you as an advisor. When forming your board identify clients that can provide you with diverse skills, experience and knowledge. The ideal members of your board will be open minded, thought-provoking, problem solvers and have strong communication skills.

Establish Expectations – Make sure you have clear objectives so that board members know what is expected of them. You should be specific in communicating responsibilities, the areas in which you are seeking help, and how often you will want to interact. If private information will be discussed inform advisory members that they will be signing a confidentiality agreement. You may want to consider having board term limits so that when changes are needed, board members and clients are not offended.

Develop Board Relationships – Ask your board members for their opinions and advice, and establish a mentor/sounding board relationship with them. Express your appreciation frequently and don’t be offended if you hear something you don’t like, your advisory board must be open and honest.

Prepare For Board Meetings – Advanced preparations may include: soliciting agenda items from the board (to prevent unplanned discussions) and distributing important information prior to the meeting along with your meeting agenda. Host your meeting in a location that is free of distractions and stay on track by stimulating dialogue and having a results oriented gathering. Summarize minutes and include recommendations on key issues.

Compensation – Most board members are eager to serve and help firms and will usually not expect or inquire about compensation. Consider making a donation to their favorite charity in their honor. Make sure you comply with FINRA regulations.

Keep Board Members Informed – Keep your board members excited about your business by providing them with updates at times when you aren’t asking for their advice. The fact that they’ve agreed to be on your board means they care about your firm. Keeping them up-to-date will enhance their commitment to your practice and in turn, help them be of greater value to you.

Celebrate– Find ways to celebrate your board members affiliation with you. Create an e-mail list for high-level communication or incorporate your advisory board into your website.

Advisory Board Members can help you see what you are not seeing yourself.

Embrace the insight they offer and remove the personal barriers and

roadblocks that may be preventing you from experiencing positive change.

Ironstone can assist you in developing an Advisory Board Plan. We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel in achieving the results your desire.

We want to hear from you!  Does your firm have an advisory board and if so, how are they working for you? Share your best ideas here!   We always love hearing from you!
Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Operational Effectiveness-Client Database
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Learn Common Mistakes You & Your Team May Be Making In Time Management

Learn Common Mistakes You & Your Team May Be Making In Time Management

You are a fantastic multi-tasker!   What used to be a benefit is now in the top 10 of common time management mistakes!

We listed it in our New Years Resolutions NOT to make- ”Do Not promise to multi-task”.  To view our newsletter:   http://eepurl.com/ilLek

Have you hired a new employee because they are great multi-tasker? Are you praising your office manager who is always busy doing five projects at once?  The results of multitasking are documents and projects full of errors.  Survey’s are showing that there is a sixty to eighty percent reduction in productivity levels and a lack of concentration when employees try to multi-task.

What other areas are eating away at your day without you even realizing it?  Like many others, you have probably considered these to be assets to productivity, but in reality they are draining your employee and wasting time.  Do you value the employee who:

  • Has time to take on every project
  • Thrives on busy
  • “Never-takes-breaks”
  • Can never say “no”
  • Micro-manages
  • Gets a rush when they are busy or when the team is on overload

All of the above listed so-called qualities will lead to lower performance levels, lower team morale and stress in the firm.  They are merely misleading you to believe that effective people are busy.  The reality is that this busy addiction rarely means that you are effective and again leading to more stress in your firm.

Consider each of these so called assets in your employee a waste of time!  Train yourself, your managers, and your team to re-evaluate their time management systems.  Have everyone in the firm take a personal time-management quiz, and learn to slow down, focus, and provide quality instead of quantity.

 Other areas that you will want to evaluate:

·         How You Manage Distraction – employees can lose up to 2 hours a day from distractions

·         Procrastination – if a task seems too big, dedicate a small time each day towards the task and complete the task over time.

·         Scheduling Tasks – schedule low-energy work (like checking your email, returning calls, etc.) to the time of day when your energy level is at its’ lowest

·         Goal Setting

·         To-Do Lists

Time management really boils down to knowing how you can schedule your time effectively.  Know what your daily priorities are and know your goals.  By being aware of priorities and goals you will be able to create a schedule that is beneficial for you and your firm.  The next quality to teach your current employees or to look for in a new hire is……time management skills.

 

Ironstone has several aides available for your firm in developing healthy, productive time management skills.  Download our Time Management Survey Here!   TimeManagement

 

We want to hear from you!  What strategies are you using to improve your time-management skills?

 

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

 

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  The Human Element-Culture In Your Workplace: What Culture Are You Cultivating At Your Firm?  Healthy or Toxic?

 



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What Exactly Is Leadership?

What Exactly Is Leadership?

The purpose of this component in Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™ (The Human Element), is the development of individual and team efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of the business.  The evolution of this fundamental revolves around organizational skills, management of teams, refined roles and responsibilities, and accountability for performance.  This opens the lines of communication throughout a team to create a positive culture.  “Everyone is on the same page” is very simple to understand but in reality, there are many directions and agendas driven by egos, greed, and lack of leadership.  Leaders don’t merely take charge.  They make the tough decisions while motivating and empowering others to succeed.

Are you an effective leader and do you really know what makes a great leader?

It has been said that on average, we influence 250 people in our lifetime.  You can increase that by becoming an effective leader and in turn helping your team members develop good leadership qualities.  An empowered work force will have ownership and in turn, productivity levels will increase.

Qualities of a good leader:

  • Motivates by using the team’s common set of values
  • Empowers others to be part of the solution
  • Has confidence in individuals to achieve
  • Understands the audience: i.e. gender, personal interests, generation dynamics, work priorities, etc…
  • Inspires confidence in the future
  • Help you through a particular difficult time and displays empathy
  • Ethical, honest, and trustworthy
  • Humble
  • Strives for excellence and inspires you to do the same

 Actions of a good leader:

  • Makes the firm direction and goals transparent for everyone to be on the same page
  • Executes programs to develop leadership and communication skills
  • Encourages focus by outlining common purpose and providing accountability
  • Provides training and coaching to enhance expertise
  • Leads by example and serves as a positive role model
  • Delegates to talent and skill
  • Provides a platform for input and ideas to affect advancement and improve strategies
  • Asks for advice or takes direction from your team
  • Walks alongside the team, not out in front
  • Sweats it out with the team

 Go beyond the management level and promote yourself to a leadership role.

                 Think of the end before the beginning. ~Leonardo da Vinci

We want to hear from you!  What strategies are you using to empower your team?

Contact us for assistance in building an effective leadership development program.

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™! 

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Strategic Planning-Succession Planning, Begin With The End In Mind