It's that time of the year again! It is time to take inventory of where you are, get rid of what is not working now, decide on new goals for the future, and make changes to help achieve those goals. Strategic planning is on everyone's mind, not only for their personal goals, but also for their firm's goals. In today's post, I want to briefly touch on strategic planning from a staffing perspective.
If you have heard of the mastermind concept, it is possible that you have already established a study group for your professional or personal aspirations. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, I recommend checking out the classic Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill to gain insight into this valuable tactic. The idea behind a mastermind group is to bring together a few individuals who combine their knowledge and talents to help each other grow - a "whole is greater than the sum of the parts" approach, if you will. The spirit that this concept embodies can be also be applied to your staff. I think Jeff DeGraff was on point in his November 2014 article in Inc. magazine when he wrote, "The key is to find individuals who don't think like you, who can fill in your blind spots and make up for your weaknesses."
We all have interests outside of financial planning. If you are bringing in new talent this year, look to find planners whose interests can meet your firm's other needs by either providing new ideas or accomplishing various tasks. For example, if you have a difficult time developing new content for your website or blog, try to identify someone who enjoys writing or has a writing background. There could be plenty of Creative Writing majors our there wanting to enter the financial planning field or planners waiting for an opportunity to use their writing skills! If reviewing business processes or implementing new technology is not for you, consider hiring someone who can help you in those areas (maybe someone with more COO-type tendencies). This may seem obvious, but it is easy to get caught focusing solely on how a candidate will perform in the financial planning capacity, without thinking of how she or he can contribute to other strategic areas of the firm.
Even if you do not plan on making staffing changes and feel content with your current team, it is still possible that they are not being utilized to their highest and best use. Consider your team members' talents and interests outside of financial planning, and modify their roles to include those areas, if possible. This has the added bonus of improving employee empowerment and boosting morale. Beware, though, that the opposite is also possible - you may find you already have multiple people with the same set of interests and skills, meaning you may need to adjust their responsibilities to reduce duplicating efforts, potentially lowering employee satisfaction.
In the end, it is about putting the right people in the right roles to help your business grow. If you find yourself in a hiring situation, challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. Hire someone unlike you, who might require a different management style, but can deliver exceptional value simply by offering a different background and style or an alternative approach to the work at your firm.
When you or your colleagues are ready to hire, consider using New Planner Recruiting to increase your odds of success. If you need help determining if your current team members are operating at their highest and best use, we offer assistance with that, too. You can learn more by visiting https://newplannerrecruiting.com/team-performance-consulting/.