Set SMART Goals
In our last blog post, we discussed Assessing Advisor Readiness and Segmenting. This week, we look at simple improvements you can make in the advisor goal setting and business planning process.
SMART is an acronym you’ve probably seen before; it is used to guide effective goal setting. The letters stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
When goals meet the SMART criteria, the likelihood of success significantly increases. Following these criteria will help increase the level of clarity regarding intent of the goal, the timeframe it lives within, and how everyone will know to what level it has been achieved. Removing ambiguity from goals and striving for clarity increases everyone’s understanding and comfort level. It ensures active engagement toward achieving the goals.
Once advisor goals are defined, the next step is to prioritize them. In many cases, an advisor will be working towards more than one goal; understanding the hierarchy of multiple goals is critical to Accelerating Advisor Success. When you help an advisor remove ambiguity, you accelerate success. While having many goals is normal, we recommend prioritizing one to three of them to work on at any given time. Most advisors (in fact, most people in general) cannot effectively manage more than two or three major goals at a time.
Select a Specific Strategy
For each goal that an advisor sets, a specific strategy, designed to achieve that goal, should be selected. These strategies should be tailored to the unique circumstances of the specific practice. For example, you may have three separate advisor practices with identical goals such as grow revenue by $200,000. However, the specific strategies they choose to achieve the goal could vary widely. The first advisor may focus on deepening wallet share with existing clients, while the second focuses on marketing to new clients, and the third might add a new service offering such as fee-based financial planning to their existing offering.
Once the business plan is in place and goals for the institution have been set, it is time to take a closer look at how the goals align with what the advisor (and team, if applicable) are capable of. Most of what you need to know should have been surfaced in the assessment you completed earlier in the business planning process. Here are key questions you should consider as you set appropriate strategies to achieve your institutions growth objectives:
|✓ Are advisors available to take action on the plan and how is their time currently distributed?|
|✓ Will any training be needed?|
|✓ Which advisors are highly motivated to grow their business and who is not?|
|✓ Do the advisors have the skills to execute on strategies to achieve their goals?|
|✓ How much time/resources do advisors have available to dedicate to working “on their business”?|
|✓ Will additional resources be required to meet the goals that were set?|
Once you’ve verified alignment and answered these questions, you are armed with the information you need to develop a plan with specific strategies and the tactics that will get you to your goals.
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