Each quarter my clients exercise the discipline of quarter planning meetings. For someone who has never undergone this required discipline that Gazelles Coaches and Positioning Systems practices it’s difficult to appreciate how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time.
In this newsletter I provide the 2nd of three quarterly examples of what three client’s achieved in the third quarter by investing in a day or more on quarterly planning. To produce results in 2013 you need to make quarterly plans and most importantly dedicate a day or two to annual planning by the end of the year. This is the second of three newsletters to offer how three specific clients achieved success and most importantly realized their One Thing for the quarter.
In last months’ newsletter we reviewed Patrick Lencioni’s principles in The Advantage on how Organizational Healt can help your business create a competitive advantage. Clarity of priorities is one of his fundamental principles for establishing Organizational Health. My client example this time not only achieved success through this principle but also gained a tremendous boost in morale and teamwork.
The second of three clients in this example is a Financial Planning firm.
After years of doing investment planning for their clients an opportunity to work with a larger firm my client trusted and had worked with before arose. My client had deep respect for this company. He attended classes and learned financial best practices from the company’s owner. He believes providing their financial investment expertise offers his clients the best opportunity to secure their financial success and growth. Not only would it improve their ability to produce financial success for their clients (This firm had an excellent track record in delivering market success) it would also free his team to be more responsive to his customers and focus more on earning new client business.
Federal regulations require any change in financial platforms like this to have customers sign and approve documentation to move their assets. This would demand considerable time and energy on his staff. It would also come with the risk of losing some customers who would not welcome the change. In addition my client would be increasing fee structure which would further increase the risk of surrendering clients.
Having adopted the principles of Strategic Discipline and the Rockefeller Habits in January the team was primed and ready for this overhaul. Yet how well the team came together to work things out and commit customer to the new planning practice and fee structure is remarkable.
One staff member put together an extensive dashboard (in Excel) with a list of the priorities including due dates to achieve to make sure everyone had key time frames and responsibilities to focus their completion upon. Another identified every client with key steps for conversion including the final critical step of receiving the signed paperwork to complete their conversion. Both of these scorecards were updated in weekly meetings.
Achieving success required everyone to fulfill their commitments and complete their personal dashboards. Each of the priorities were achieved or exceeded. As of last week the team had successfully transitioned 94.6% of the customers assets to the new financial planning platform and expectations were the would still exceed 96-98% when all the latent paperwork is completed. The company they are transitioning their financial assets to is amazed at their conversion rate among their current customers.
Most importantly a team who by its own admission had previously worked almost entirely in personal silos, worked together to resolve the many challenges that the transitioning of its entire customer base required. When the team ran into a roadblock in getting a client transitioned, or a communication issue arose with their planning company or clearing house, staff with the experience to help and handle the situation rose up to resolve it. The staff communicated better and helped each other to finish their scorecards with a perfect mark.
The owner acknowledged that it is the first time he could feel the sense of unity and teamwork he’d always hoped his business would be about.
The clarity of purpose, realizing the significance of what they wanted to achieve, and how critical it is for the firms growth crystalized the team to achieve a synergy that is in stark contrast to where they were at the start of the year.
When we reviewed their third quarter accomplishments every staff member remarked about the cohesiveness and cooperation. Everyone willing stepped up to put their shoulder to the wheel to hit the targets that had been set.
Patrick Lencioni feels one of the few remaining areas to achieve a competitive advantage is to get everyone rowing in the same direction. This companies’ ability to do so in the third quarter helped them to achieve such distinction. This experience and continued development will help them to move forward with an aggressive growth plan for 2013.
Next newsletter: what do you do when you reach your priorities through a record performance but not in the time frame expected? That’s my final example of a client’s experience with their quarterly priorities.
Have you set time aside for your annual planning? Do you have an agenda? Are you including strategy and planning as two distinct but separate elements to your Annual Planning Meeting? Is it time to bring in a professional facilitator like Positioning Systems to help you achieve your desired outcomes for 2013?