The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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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


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How To Increase Your Effectiveness

How To Increase Your Effectiveness

Ironstone believes that one of the best methods for operational effectiveness is to define your standard operating procedures for your practice and create multiple tracking and reporting systems that measure your results.  You should create reports and checklists by observing your current projects and processes, including the sequence of each.

For example, a powerful client engagement process consists of the design and creation of Financial Advisor service teams, client segmentation, service matrices and new/existing client workflow systems.  The fusion of these elements increases the efficiency of managing the workload while increasing the level of the client experience.

It’s imperative that each project and/or process that you are using in your firm has a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).   The goal is to be efficient and effective.   The SOP should include:

  • The name and description of the current project/process
  • Define the sequence of events from the start to the completion of the project
  • Outline the implementation steps to complete the project
  • Create checklists or use supplemental information to aid in the management of the project
  • Determine the key metrics to be measured and how
  • Set a schedule of regular communication regarding team progress
  • Periodically review the processes to determine if any changes or updates are necessary

At Ironstone we find that the best way to start is to observe your current projects and process (or lack thereof) by taking detailed notes and surveys of day-to-day activity.   Make your list of what processes are in place or need to be in place and then create the standard operating procedures for each.

There are many areas within your personal and professional life where you can put this into practice.  Some of these include (but are not limited to) time management, methods for prioritizing, balancing life and work goals, staff meetings, marketing plans, client appreciation/retention, demographic analysis, and database management… just to name a few.

We know, it sounds like a lot of work, right?   You can’t have a full understanding of your business without tracking results along with measuring and analyzing internal processes.

Let us know how you create and manage your Standard Operating Procedures, your best practices, and what areas of assistance you need in developing effective operating procedures.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your internal reports and tracking systems.  You will also want to download our Reports & Tracking Checklist!   2.14.12Reports&Tracking

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-Leadership



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How To Define Your Business Model And Set The Objectives That Will Bring It To Life

How To Define Your Business Model And Set The Objectives That Will Bring It To Life

Follow us as we explore the first of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™ – Strategic Planning:  The main objective in this fundamental is to create an uncomplicated plan that clearly defines the direction of the practice.  Primary focus areas include business and succession planning, creating organizational structure, and collaboration amongst the management team.  It is crucial for management to develop realistic goals and objectives creating the framework for team member focus.  Even more crucial is management’s ability to communicate these goals so that the common focus permeates throughout the team.  Plans and models that are stored on a computer are seldom implemented and likely to be forgotten.

What type of business model are you following?   Solo, Silo, or Ensemble?

Strong ownership mentality helps drive success and creates focus to leverage services offered.

  • A Solo Firm has a single professional advisor position, typically the firm owner.
  • A Silo Firm is a producer group in which multiple advisors collectively share overhead and expenses but remain independent and have separate client bases
  • An Ensemble Firm is a multiple advisor firm that operates as one firm, with advisors generally paid on a defined compensation model.

Are you following the right business model for your firm and what is the difference between a business model and a business plan?

  • A Business Model ascertains how your business makes money.   It will identify the services that your clients find valuable.  The business model will focus on the largest income generator for your firm.  
  • A Business Plan embodies your set of business goals and how they can be attained.

Overall, the business model explains the flow of money within the company and the business plan outlines the structure needed to obtain that flow of money.  A business plan supports the business model and explains the steps to achieve the goals of that model.  If you change the business model, you will also need to change the business plan.

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every firm.  Ironstone works with highly successful firms operating with different business models.  You can make your business model decision after considering your goals and objectives.

Contact us for help in preparing your Business Model.  Use this guide to help you get started on setting the goals and objectives that will serve as the foundation of your Business Model.

 

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 post in the series:  Business Development – Niche Marketing

 

 

 


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Business Plan Feature Article

Ironstone Communications was recently featured in the Raymond James Practice Intelligence newsletter, on creating your business plan for success. Download the attached newsletter. http://ow.ly/d/9zb


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Ways to Lead Your Workforce by Example

An executive who works alongside team members is rewarded with better performance but chumming up to employees is a fine balancing act.  Too much comfort may breed complacency and an unwillingness to take on challenges.  You want your team to support and respect your decisions but you do not want anyone to become the head of your fan club.  Getting too cuddly can suppress independent thought and opposing ideas.

Walk alongside the team, not out in front. We often hear the term “lead out front.”  The most successful leaders walk alongside team members providing encouragement, support, and a good role model to follow.

Motivate the team around a common set of values. If the team’s goals are value driven, even if the leader messes up, the group will be propelled forward by the shared values.

Sweat it out with the team. If the company is sponsoring a charity run, be the first one to arrive and pass out the water bottles.

Be humble. If you have just closed the sale of the year, avoid gloating.  Instead share your process for closing the sale and brainstorm with your team on how you could have been more effective at overcoming an obstacle you faced during negotiations.

Do not be afraid to ask for advice or take direction. If you are making a presentation at a conference, collaborate with your team to identify “best practices” to share and what they consider the most important talking points. Show them your vulnerability and be the student by valuing their contributions, which builds trust and credibility.

Empathy, empathy, and more empathy. Your top advisor is falling behind for the second month in a row.  Can the motivation speech.  Empathize and engage in a meaningful discussion about how the economy is creating challenges for other advisors.

Empower others to be part of the solution.  Encourage advisors to develop some creative solutions to help other team members who are challenged by the tough economy.

Make thinking transparent: Post you mind map of sales goals through the end of the year on you door.  If everyone understands the thinking behind the process, it is easier to reach goals.

Get your hands dirty: Go out into the community and try out the new sales strategy.  Be the first to report with failures and ask for suggestions on how to improve the new sales approach.

And go ahead and lead by example. Spearhead strategies and behaviors that you want your team to incorporate showing that you are a believer.

Taken together, these steps can engender loyalty and respect in a leader. Walking alongside and collaborating with your team members about what is needed, provokes a ‘we’ attitude.  Show you trust them, share areas for improvement, applaud successes, and display your confidence in them. These components foster a sense of commitment, making it harder for individuals to abandon their managers and sales goals.