The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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ENGAGEMENT: GET YOUR A$$ INTO GEAR!

As an extension of our Q2 newsletter, here is a deeper look into the factors that influence and shape engagement:

Infrastructure

As soon as your practice adds support staff, the question of structure rears its head. At first, with only one or two people assisting you, that may seem a rather silly concern. But add enough staff, or grow to the silo (multiple advisors sharing space and in many cases staff with different client bases) or ensemble (multiple advisors with shared staff working together) models, and suddenly it becomes a very real issue. Choosing the right structure is intimately related to the next issue—roles.

Roles

The hierarchical organizational structure that defined American business for so long is rapidly falling by the wayside. Today who does what, and who is responsible for what, should have less to do with title or position than with aptitude and desire. As an advisor managing a team, you’re fortunate—you have much more latitude than, for example, a department head at a Fortune 500 company. Ironstone can show you how to make the most of this freedom.

Recruiting and Retention

Your practice won’t have the headcount to allow for any Hamsters—there’s just nowhere for them to hide. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a small staff means that every member has significant impact, and that in turn means you can’t afford to hire the wrong person. How, then, do you select people who will be easily engaged? We’ll show you the keys to an effective process.

Compensation

Engaged employees focus first on what they produce for the organization, but that doesn’t mean that compensation is irrelevant. An engaged employee is a valuable resource, and a key team member who can be just as engaged with another employer for more money is likely to depart sooner rather than later. Learn how best to balance your total compensation package to retain your team.

Non-monetary Rewards

Money matters, but there is much more than money that matters. Recognition is consistently cited as among the most effective motivators, and you should never underestimate its impact in the close-knit environment of your practice. Constructing appropriate incentive systems above and beyond base compensation that will achieve the desired result is also crucial. Our workshop will offer creative approaches to this challenge.

Self-development

One of the best ways to retain engaged team members is to provide a clear path to greater responsibility and assist your people in progressing along it. In some cases that may even mean that they one day move from support staff to being an advisor themselves. Facilitating that process instead of standing in the way will earn you tremendous loyalty.

Assessment Tools

There are a number of tools available, and Ironstone can help both you and your team members recognize where their aptitudes and preferences lie—and no, many of them won’t actually know, especially in the case of something they’ve never done before. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Profiles International Assessment are examples of instruments with a tested theoretical base and extensive use, and we’ll show you how best to apply them.

Evaluation

Most companies require some form of employee evaluation. Performance reviews are often a dreaded chore for both manager and employee—which is why you may have decided to forego the process in your practice—but what if you could transform it into something of true value? Ironstone can show you how.

Coaching

Helping your team members achieve maximum value to your practice and maximum personal satisfaction won’t happen magically or overnight. It requires consistent and ongoing guidance, feedback, and communication. Our workshops will show you how to coach consistently and effectively.


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Learn How To Make Employee Incentive Plans Effective

Employee Incentive Plans have become significant components in firms looking to stay competitive and on track with the pace of changes evolving in the workforce. 

As humans, we have ups and downs; times when we can focus and times where we tend to lose focus.  As a good manager, guiding your employees to work on what is most important and in the most efficient manner, an employee incentive plan can be an asset in your toolbox.

Consistent and methodical communication is necessary when implementing an incentive plan. It will ensure employees understand what is expected of them while decreasing the likelihood of morale problems that result from misinterpretations of how incentives are awarded.

At Ironstone, we have found that many employee incentive plans don’t reap their intended results.  Making simple changes in your incentive plan will reward your employees and ultimately your firm.

Understand The Lifestyle & Culture Of Your Firm

When designing your incentive program, understand the unique lifestyles and demographic make-up of your staff.  It is important to understand your firm’s culture so that you can tailor your program and rewards accordingly.

Conduct a survey with your team-Find out what motivates them.   Remember, CASH isn’t always the #1 motivator.  Provide your employees with choices, including enough options so that something appeals to everyone. For example: gym memberships, virtual days, etc…

Keep It Simple-Employee incentive plans should be quick and easy to administer.

Recognition is An Important Component of Any Program-Provide acknowledgment, approval, and gratitude in your incentive program.  When employees realize that their contributions are important they are more likely to embrace the goals and objective of the firm.

Develop A Clear Set of Goals & Objectives-Goals should be realistic, achievable, and sincere.  This is the key to building credibility for your program. The best plans encourage the behaviors that create successful results.

 Four Critical Elements To Include In Your Incentive Program

1. The desired activity/goal

2. The tactical plan- how employees will work towards achieving the goal

3. The time allotted to achieve the performance level

4. The reward for achieving the goal

 

Employee Incentive Plans Are Not Just For The Employee.  Your firm will benefit with increased motivation, increased company morale, increased loyalty, and increased productivity. Implementing employee incentive plans have shown to be effective by resolving organizational problems because they align the preference of firms and employees.

Ironstone will help you implement a successful employee incentive program, identify gaps in your existing plan, and collaborate with you to develop a solution to achieve the results you are looking for.  We will work with you on creating detailed goals that drive results.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your employee incentive plan.

We want to hear from you!    What employee incentives does your firm offer? 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:  Business Development-Prospecting


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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