Helping Clients Who are Worried About the Market

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

Our firm is very successful. We’ve grown significantly annually for the past five years. We’ve got a good team of multi-generation advisors and everyone is working well together. The problem is that I feel like a failure despite the success we are having.

I look at some of the things my colleagues are doing and I don’t feel I am making enough change. We have the same client-servicing approach we’ve used for years. We grow by attracting a certain target market that knows us well. There aren’t challenges and we’ve grown stagnant.

But every time I make changes, I get bogged down by the day-to-day of what needs to be done. I am a hands-on manager and want to be involved in most of the decisions. I am 62 years old and hope to be doing this work until I am 80+. But I also realize if I am going to make changes, I need to implement them now.

Am I being too hard on myself? Should I just look at the wins we are having and be satisfied? My wife and brother, who is my confidant, tell me I am crazy to put so much pressure on myself. But success is measured in many different ways. I don’t see myself as successful if I am unable to get the things done I want.

Is this common for other advisors? I am not comfortable talking about it with my peers lest they think me greedy or insecure.


Dear E.K.,

It’s certainly not my place to say you are wrong or suggest you should be content with what you have and ignore these punishing feelings. In fact, it’s hard for anyone to tell another person that they should not feel a certain way. Feelings are, by definition, very personal. No one should tell you to ignore them and move on.

That said, you would benefit from setting a goal of one of these changes you want to make, and then creating a plan to move towards that goal so you can feel more accomplished. You’ve clearly designed and managed a successful advisory firm and overcome challenges many advisors face, especially given your multi-generational environment. Personally, though, you are missing out on things that matter to you.

You talk about getting bogged down and wanting to be involved in many of the decisions. You need to make some choices about what is most important to you. There are only so many hours in the day and how you choose to spend those hours will dictate your outcomes.

As a first step, capture the goals you hope to accomplish in a clear and concise way. Start with just one goal and create your desired outcome – what does success look like to you once you have reached this goal? Be clear and specific so that you could turn around and explain or describe this goal in detail to someone else. Sometimes people think they should be doing or accomplishing something, but they aren’t clear on what the “thing” should be! Start here and make sure you are clear.

Read the full article here by Beverly Flaxington, Advisor Perspectives

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