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Unleash Your Team

Unleashing your team from the chains of a micromanaged and controlling culture will create positive growth, a winning team and take your leadership skills to a new level!

Leaders are sometimes afraid to let go of the leash and open a new world of possibility to their firm. When team members are afraid to share and contribute ideas, grow and learn in their current environment and expand their horizons, they become bored, unchallenged and will most likely leave your firm for something better.  It is the harsh truth; you must care about your team to create employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.

In our blog, Implementing Team Development Programs Often Overlooked”, we outlined a process to implement a team development program. By following each step, you eliminate the need for micromanaging your team.  Trust me, your team does not want to be micromanaged!  The four components that Ironstone focuses on to implement a team development program are:

  • Preparation
  • Incentives
  • Benefits
  • Technology

Read more about each component in our blog : https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/implementing-team-development-programs-often-overlooked/.   Once you have put these components into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their individual positions within the firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

How Do You Begin To Unleash Your Team?

Perhaps the first place to begin is to take inventory on your leadership skills.  A team that performs well depends on your leadership abilities, training and development you provide and being a coach your team members can trust.

Being a coach to your team is highly motivational and almost guaranteed to improve performance.  As a leader, your role is to help your team understand their positions.  It is their job to take ownership of assigned job descriptions and design a process to carry it out effectively.  Willingness to support your team’s development sets an example and will contribute to the culture and performance of your firm and team members.

 Tip: Ask team members how you can help them develop their own solution.

As humans, most of us thrive in a continued growth and development society which consists of ongoing training and learning. A team development program will contribute to the natural desires of dedicated employees. Team development will:

 

  • Help team members adjust to changing job requirements
  • Create a pool of qualified team members for possible new roles within your firm
  • Develop a more effective, efficient and productive workforce
  • Produce team members capable of taking on new significant challenges and reach firm goals

Understanding Needs of Your Team 

 Identifying the needs of your team is crucial in implementing a successful team development program.  Some training will need to be universal and apply to most, if not all, of your team members.  However, each team member is unique and owns a specific skill and passion set.  Goals and objectives of team members will be parallel when they relate to overall firm goals but will be dissimilar in relation to their individual job duties and responsibilities. Talk to your team to find out what training they want and need.  Work with them to develop a personal plan that will help them get the training they need in an economic and efficient manner.     Start by holding one-on-one meetings to discuss:

  • Job Descriptions
  • Training and developmental needs
  • Current performance levels
  • Areas for improvement
  • Action steps to fill any gaps

How Well Do You Develop Your People?

*Mind Tools (www.mindtools.com) offers a great quiz for you to take, allowing you to evaluate your leadership skills and identifying areas for improvement. The quiz identifies five main factors related to developing people. This will give you a clear understanding and foundation to develop a plan for yourself to improve your personal team development skills.  Follow this link to take the quiz!  http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/team-development.htm

(*Mind Tools-www.mindtools.com)

 How did you score?   Let us know!!

In the ever evolving world of change, helping your team adjust to change while remaining successful, sends a clear and concise message that you care.  If you are willing to support your team’s growth and job satisfaction, you will retain good people and an engaged workforce.  Once you have implemented a training and development program into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their position within your firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

 “What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? 

Not training them and keeping them.”

– Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker

 Learn more about how Ironstone can impact the operational effectiveness of your firm!  Read more at www.ironstonehq.com  Want more information on team development?   Contact us at http://ironstonehq.com/contact/

 

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

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

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:

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Passing The Torch – Succession Planning, Part I

Your succession plan is not just a blueprint for retirement, selling your business or a catastrophic continuity plan focused on legal issues and the best price.  This is a plan for long-term sustainability of the firm; a vital strategic process that nurtures and develops rising leaders in order to increase transferability and continue the legacy of the practice.

In our two-part series of succession planning, we will look at:

  • Motivating you to start creating your plan and empowering you to do so with little to no overwhelm in part one
  • An in-depth review of the key factors to succession to guide you through the process of successful implementation

The Succession Strategy

Purposeful planning is essential to the entire succession process and helps build strategies that benefit both the individual and the overall business.  Make sure you involve the right people, invest in the right tools and make the right decisions in order to achieve results.  The following provides an outline of the steps to incorporate in your succession strategy:

  • Evaluate the practice and define practice goals
  • Prepare yourself for transfer
  • Prepare the practice for transfer
  • Choose your successor(s)
  • Focus on development, refinement and planning
  • Prepare your clients for transfer

Common Misconceptions of Succession Planning

What It Is

                              What It Isn’t
 Develop talent to move forward  Identify immediate understudies
 Identify long-term goals  Unchanging firm structure
 Improve readiness/build a team to fit practice  “Back-up” candidates
 Develop large talent pool to fill vacancies  Catastrophic buy/sell agreement

  Overcome Risks and Reap The Benefits

You Don’t Have One

You Have One

 Fear of lost identity/control  Sustainability of the practice
 Fear of mortality/aging  Ongoing supply of well-trained talent
 Potential jeopardy to your family’s financial security  Available resources to aid future needs
 Fear of not finding an acceptable successor  Well-motivated team to continue your legacy
 No financial security for employees and clients  Improve all processes
 Grief over separation from the business  Improve service offerings

 Part II of succession planning will elaborate specifically on each step outlined above.  The actionable developmental steps provided will cover the process from start to finish.

The Tranquil Transition

Successful execution of your plan requires resilient structures, effective processes and dedicated talent in place to carry out the strategies defined above.  Implementation will guarantee the long-term sustainability of your practice that you have worked so hard to ensure.  Keep the following points in mind throughout the transition:

  • Blur the line between incoming and outgoing team members
  • Focus on improving communication
  • Clearly define behavioral steps
  • Utilize evaluation processes for real development of the succession plan

Always Be On The Lookout

Be adaptable to inevitable changes occurring in the practice; evolution not revolution.  There are both challenges and unforeseen changes that have the ability to restrict a good succession plan.

  • Challenges

Compensation for purchasing ownership, share valuation, percentage of equity to transfer, how to share decision making in management, financing new owner’s share purchase and cultural fit.

  • Unforseen Changes

Team roles, clients and most importantly, updating your succession plan during the building and execution stages.

The financial elements of a succession plan are significant, but not all encompassing.  The non-financial aspects influence the success or failure of the plan; they are most harmful if neglected.

The value of extraordinary human capital and robust processes allows evolution to occur evenly and without damage.

Don’t join the 50% of advisors that have not written a succession plan*

Make sure your business is one that others will want.  Develop the next generation of advisors that best fit the practice in order to increase transferability and continue your legacy.  The more indispensable you are, the higher the value your business will be when you leave.

The steps you take to define your succession plan, more specifically processes, clear roles and career paths, are as good for business today as it is tomorrow or10 years from now.  If you didn’t start early, start now!

A successful succession plan embodies a talent development mindset and establishes a performance culture throughout your firm.  If you can visualize the impact of a stellar succession plan, you need Ironstone to help you implement it!    *2012 In Advisor Solutions Succession Plan Study

Ironstone will evaluate your existing succession plan and strategize with you to gain optimal benefits.  If you haven’t implemented a succession plan, we will collaborate with you to develop a comprehensive 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 are curious!!  Have you developed your succession plan?   Let us know!

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

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

Coming up next, learn about Business Development and Client Appreciation!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Bring Home The Gold! Employ A Champion Team

Fans are raving over the five teenagers who were the first Americans to earn a gymnastics gold in 16 years.  Being referred to as the “Fab Five” or the “Fierce Five,” the team is being compared to the legendary team from 1996, the “Magnificent Seven.”

How does your team stack up in comparison to the “Fierce Five” or the “Magnificent Seven?”    Are you using outdated policies and procedures in your hiring process?  Get prepared and seize the opportunity to add to your talent pool and find your next superstar!

Building a champion team can be challenging;  however, if you examine the plethora of talent and personality and choose wisely, your team can be the best.  Hiring exceptional talent is critical to the overall success of your firm.  As an employer, you should always focus on bringing the best talent to your firm.

Ironstone has outlined some of the best practices in hiring, on-boarding and human capital retention.

When hiring, ask yourself and determine:

  • Will this person do the job?
  • Do they have the skills needed to perform the job?
  • How well will they fit in with existing team members and culture in the firm?

Be certain not to discount the weight you place on “fitting-in” with other team members and your firm’s culture.   All too often, advisors hire based on the look of a resume and skill set resulting in critical mistakes.  A prospective team member possessing “potential” will only add so much to the depth of your team and may not provide a positive and profitable impact.

“If you don’t know where you are going, then you probably won’t end up there.” ~Forrest Gump~

Don’t settle:

Focus on finding and retaining the best talent for your firm.  Top talent is in high demand; therefore, you should make it a priority to include your hiring strategies as a year-round business process.  In your hiring process include each of the following goals and develop your strategies and tactics for each:

  • Planning
  • Recruiting
  • Selection

 Identify & Keep Your Winning Team:

Utilizing your team and positioning team members with their unique ability will add to increased morale, productivity and profitability.  Consider reviewing current positions and how they are measuring up to the overall success of your firm and identify what skills and personality traits are needed to enhance the caliber of your team.

  • Map your ideal organizational flow chart
  • Identify gaps
  • Assess current positions and roles
  • Determine what is working/what isn’t working

Position Your Firm For Growth:

Don’t underestimate the competition in finding or stealing great employees.  Develop the fundamentals that are needed to attract and retain quality team members.

Consider incorporating the following fundamentals in your hiring plan:

  • Provide job stability.
  • Incorporate challenging work which will instill engaged employees.
  • Provide a culture for team members to grow, flourish and succeed.
  • Create a pay for performance reward system; linking employee performance to the firm’s goals.
  • Focus on developing your current team to be successful.  Provide resources and training that will aide them in reaching and exceeding goals.  Encourage career development.
  • Communicate the firm’s goals with team members.  Team members will have a higher morale and be engaged in their role.
  • Offer enhancements such as flex-time, telecommuting or other services that fit the personality of your team members. 

These enhancements can make a significant difference in employee satisfaction and retention without a mammoth investment.

Download these resources from Ironstone to get started on employing your champion team!

Employee Onboarding Checklist     Hiring Implementation Guide

Your team is a reflection of your business.  This reflection carries throughout the work day and most often in personal lives.  Perception of your team is reality.  Be certain  you have the quality team  your firm and clients deserve;  prepare your firm to employ and attract a gold medal team.

We are curious!!  What does your firm do to attract and retain a gold medal team?  What are your team members favorite fundamentals included in your hiring plan?

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

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

Coming up next, learn about strategic planning with strategic alliances!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Implementing Team Development Programs-Often Overlooked

Learning management is a strategic component to the overall human capital mission of advisory firms and is paramount to team development.  Advisory firms should start by integrating team development programs in order to enhance employee performance.  Forward-thinking executives are continually improving the effectiveness of their teams by refining roles, expectations, and interpersonal communication in order to create accountability for results.

Your goal should be to apply and utilize a team development method that impacts your firm’s bottom line in order to gain the highest return on your learning and development investment.

Ironstone focuses on four major components that are necessary for a fully functioning workforce and implements the performance approaches to drive development.

By implementing a team development program you eliminate the need for micromanaging.

Preparation — in order to create great teams, you need to prepare to support the success of your team.  Design a culture that fuels passion, purpose, and growth.   Deliver a clear message to your team that their job is important and that you stand behind them.  Give employees the basic knowledge and skills to excel within the culture that you have created.  Share with them effective forms of communications, encourage them to ask questions, and acknowledge their contributions to the overall goals of your firm.

Incentives – Incorporate compensation into the successful execution of the firm’s goals.  One of the most powerful motivators is through the use of a performance incentive compensation plan.

Benefits –  You can become creative with the benefits that you offer to your team.  In addition to the traditional benefits such as medical insurance and retirement plans, many firms are finding that creating a flexible work environment is a good employee motivator –  increasing the desire for individual skill development for the employee.

Technology –  Providing the proper technology and training for your team to perform their job is essential to overall team development.   We have found that many firms do not take this component seriously or place much effort in assuring technology and training needs are met for employees.    Obsolete or barely functional technology tells employees their job is not important and their time is not valued.

Once you have put these components into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their position in the firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

“A company that does not support, empower and provide proper development

 to employees can take a great team to a problem in a very short time.”

Ironstone can assist you in developing a team development program.   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.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving developing or starting your team development program.  We want to hear from you!   Share your best ideas here!  What does your firm do to promote team development?   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:  Strategic Planning-Business Model


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Human Capital Strategies

Human Capital Strategies

A successful compensation plan ensures that you pay for what you get while you get what you pay for.  Industry research heavily supports the benefits of investing your interests in Human Capital that will directly affect your bottom line.  Based upon Ironstone’s work with multiple advisory firms to establish hiring, staffing, and compensation systems/plans, we have established the following key components to consider while building your compensation plan:

A Compensation Model Is Determined By The Following:

  • Firm goals (Rev, AUM, Households, Client Retention, etc.)
  • Available firm resources (Business and Human Capital costs – i.e. budget)
  • Competitive environment (demographic factors – NYC vs. Small town USA and hiring competition)
  • Solo, Silo, Ensemble Firm

A Compensation Plan Structure Is Based Upon:

  • Well-defined roles/responsibilities of each position (Job Descriptions for Producer and Non-Producer)
  • Salary ranges for each role
  • Clear incentive opportunities (% of Net Rev, % of salary to pay out for performance)
  • Established benefits – paid time off, medical, 401k, career development
  • Outlined performance goals for each position
  • Regular performance reviews (quarterly recommended) to determine if individual goals are being met and what type of incentive to pay

Compensation Structure Types Include:

  • Non-producers are paid salary only, while Producers are paid salary plus incentives
  • Non-producers and Producers are paid salary plus incentives to drive performance
  • Non-Experienced employees are paid higher salary with career path incentives – i.e. acquiring licenses 7/63/65, CFP, – moving towards a higher % of Rev pay with experience and in turn, salary becomes lower
    • Attraction of non-experienced is the ability for a firm to “mold” and align the individual to the practice
  • Experienced employees are paid lower salary with higher % Rev incentives because of experience

Common Mistakes Are:

  • Lack of structure around compensation – IDEAL GOAL – disciplined, transparent, and explainable structure – avoid subjectivity
  • Paying out bonuses regardless of whether firm has reached goals
  • Lack of conducting consistent performance reviews or aligning performance with pay
  • Using line of credit to pay bonuses
  • Incentives only being monetary – money does not motivate everyone – time off, personal development, wellness programs, awards, working virtually, etc…

While the benefits of an outstanding compensation plan might be clear-cut, the components and drivers can be somewhat of a mystery.  A clearly defined and well communicated STRUCTURE is the key to your successful compensation model!  Disciplined compensation plans are crucial for top-performance.

Develop strategies for effectiveness without paying too much and maintaining competitive compensation.  Ironstone can help you attain this and help you gain insight into how to make sure that performance meets firm standards, which align with firm goals and ultimately results in success.

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-Marketing Plans!