Behavioral Finance

Secure Your Own Oxygen First

Sitting here in my home office thinking about the past 6 weeks has been sobering.

Four weeks overseas ending in home isolation for fourteen days; seeing friends deliver food to our door as we love and acknowledge them through closed windows has changed worlds forever.

For many years I have worked from home. Firstly, for the UK Government and then for my current employer DNA Behavior International, so would imagine that these fourteen days of home isolation would have been ‘business as usual’. Not so. I’m healthy and well. Thank God. I’m working as usual. I’m using social media to engage with my colleagues, so what has shifted?

Who Took My Control?

I am by nature reserved, I enjoy being alone, but that is far removed from having the choice to be alone or with others.

As a behavioral analyst it got me thinking about my Business DNA Natural Behavior profile style:

………..Facilitator, combines the ability to guide people with feelings together with the determination to reach goals and accomplish tasks. This blend of behavioral strengths makes Carol well suited for situations where setting the agenda and recognizing the needs of other people are required. Further, consistency, reliability and persistence are important. She flourishes in an environment where there is plenty of stability…………

And then I read this aspect of my inherent behavior – does not like being  rushed or forced into a decision.

I know this stuff, it’s my life and my work, so how did I miss these crucial aspects of my own inherent behavior. Well, here’s how.

What I’m Missing

I want to be out there on the front-line helping others. I want to grab a coffee with friends doing it tough. I want to walk on the beach to clear my head for the next creative piece I need to write. I just want to be me!

Reading back through my own Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery report has been sobering. You may wonder why I titled this piece – ‘secure your own oxygen first’. Having been on planes recently and watching endless safety videos I realized the importance of taking your own oxygen first before helping others.

My Decision Making Taken

Being rushed or forced into a decision – this troubles me. After a 32-hour flight I arrived home to hazmat covered officials, federal police contracts to sign about isolation protocol and then transported home to isolation. No time to think through the decisions being made for me. All very understandable in these unprecedented times, and I’m thankful for those making those decisions.

But, here’s my point, it unsettled me in ways I couldn’t quite understand. So, if you have a DNA Behavior Profile, get it out and re-read it. It may answer some feelings you are experiencing.

See to your own ‘oxygen’ first before thinking about others. Encourage them to do the same. Use your profile to dig deep into who you are, your inherent makeup and use that insight to navigate these difficult times.

We will be no good to each other or this world if we don’t take a long look at our inherent behavior and base our ongoing emotional wellbeing on identifying what challenges us and addressing it.

Don’t Have a DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Profile?

If you don’t have a DNA Behavior Natural Discovery profile let us know. We are here to help. With just a 10-minute investment of time you can have access to powerful personal behavioral insights that give great depth and reliability of core behavioral traits and communication styles. Read the outcomes as I did mine and use the insight to deliver much needed oxygen to your emotional and behavioral well-being.

Be safe, stay healthy and remember social distancing.

Link to 15-minute discussion with our Consultant Click here

Would Your Clients Recommend You to a Friend?

This article first appeared on Nasdaq.

I wonder how many advisors ask their clients some version of, Would you recommend me to your friends?

The advisor-client relationship is a personal one. After all, talking about your money is about as personal as you can get. Why then are advisor organizations still using various forms of gifting to attract more clients, rather than fostering highly engaged clients? (Which I would posit is the best way to attract additional business – by advisors having tailored, meaningful conversations with existing clients.)

Advisor style, client style

To really appreciate the role advisors have in asking the question – would you recommend us to a friend? – it’s important to know the style of each advisor and their client to understand the different behaviors of each at a deeper level. If advisors do not have any understanding of behavioral differences, they will not be able to connect with clients sufficiently (deeply) enough to be able to broach this question.

Every time an advisor meets with their client, the conversations they have, the advice given and the stories they exchange should all lead to the final exchange – would you recommend me/us to a friend? Whether they actually make a referral is only part of the equation; one thing you are really asking is, Are they happy, well-served and do any adjustments need to be made to your relationship?

The outgoing, engaging, conversationalist client will more likely recommend, without being asked, if the service is good and if the exchange was both helpful and fun. They also will be the first to say negative things when the service is not right.

The more reserved, quiet client who is contented with the service they are receiving may well recommend you to close friends without being prompted to do so. And they likely would not actively share negative experiences they have had with their advisor with others unless prompted to do so.

People are different. Each has their own unique personality. Trying to attract new business with a one-size-fits-all approach will never work. Again, the key is to invest in understanding individual behaviors at a deeper level, then using this insight to bridge the gap to manage the differences. Also, technology solutions can be deployed to help manage the customization of the different behavioral experiences required.

So, what’s getting in the way of this approach? Clearly much depends on the individual behaviors of both the advisors and the clients.

Think ahead

The next generation of investors will have little or no experience of face-to-face connection. They will rely on technology to do business. To receive the customized and compliant service they want from a provider will be determined not just through the outcomes of successful advice, but even more importantly, through understanding the behaviors of their advisors and how closely the different personality styles align.

Next-gen clients will:

  • Expect you to get to know them;
  • Want you to understand their life goals;
  • Demand that advice lines up with the grand plans they have for their future; and
  • Expect or even require you to advise and counsel them on how to take appropriate steps to achieve their goals.

(Hint: Get ahead of the game by meeting these needs now, and not waiting for the next generation to tell you what they want.)

Balance traditional and tech

For many, the personal touch will always best the remote tech solution. But it is not for everyone all the time through the client life cycle. Getting the balance right by understanding behavioral differences and managing them is where relationship success sits. Yes, the introduction of technology can be seen as a negative disrupter, but it isn’t.

Building a strong connection with clients based on understanding their behavior will reveal those who explicitly want a face-to-face interaction, and those who prefer a digital solution (at least to some degree). Knowing how to manage these differences and different expectations is where meaningful conversations can be developed.

Once a relationship is built, connection can be maintained via any media. Reliance on technology to stay connected with family and friends and keep each other up to date with happenings is now the norm. Why wouldn’t the advisor-client relationship more heavily invest in the use of technology, as it also enables scaling customized experiences for each client?

Interestingly many observers of the financial services industry cite technology as the “rogue,” yet if a personal relationship is what is required, where better to forge these relationships than through the smarter use of technology?

Grow and win

When advisors invest in knowing how to deal with different behavioral styles, the first question after the initial face-to-face client meeting with a client should not be – would you recommend us? – but, Would it be good to stay in touch more regularly online?

Consider leveraging digital technology solutions while making sure that offline communication with clients is not ruled out completely. Not all advisors or clients will be comfortable with this. But if you have no understanding of behavioral styles, you will never know who to target with this 2020 approach to delivering financial advice, which can build deep relationships to grow the business.

So, if you want to build business through clients referring you, first build a behaviourally smart financial planning process, and then add on or adapt tech solutions to enable a customized behavioral experience for every client. Of course, through greater behavioral understanding you will know the more outgoing clients in your portfolio who will be comfortable to step out in the world to recommend you.

It just may be that technology will also provide a way for more of the naturally reserved clients to make referrals as well. Forget investing in “nice to haves” and “consumables” – products – to attract new clients and build referrals. Start investing in understanding human behavior and how it can be practically applied – for your benefit and for the benefit of your clients. A win-win.

It’s in this atmosphere of genuine connectivity that an advisor’s services can grow, both in depth and reach.

The ‘Behavioral Economy’: Money Attitudes Drive Decisions

This article first appeared on  Nasdaq.

In my travels I notice how many employees – across myriad organizations – are growing noticeably more frustrated with their leaders. They also express frustration with the leaders who advise them.

People I meet on the speaking circuit tell me they worry about being led by leaders without vision, where trust is broken, and resources managed badly. Others are concerned about their financial advisors and the degree to which the advisors’ personal approach to money influences the advice they are being given.

This got me thinking about my world and the decisions I make as the leader in my business. What are my key drivers and how does my behavioral style and approach to money inform these business strategies?

For perspective, my key drivers are:

  • Success for the business and my people;
  • Clear vision and direction so others can follow;
  • Absolute integrity and transparency; and
  • To make thoughtful, considerate decisions.

Digging deeper into my role as a leader, I found myself thinking through my personal approach to money and decision-making. I began to see that every business decision I make has its foundation in my financial personality made up of: Who I am as a person at the core Natural DNA level, and my personal financial preferences, attitudes, beliefs, experience and experiences. That is what is known as my Financial DNA.

I believe I have enough people to whom I have made myself accountable that would correct me if they thought my decision making was flawed. But, what about the people I pay to advise me? What are the drivers of their decision making?

Financial advisors role in my life

Without understanding the inherent behavior of my financial advisor and them understanding mine, how can I be sure their personal approach to money impacts (or does not impact) the decisions they are making on my behalf? How can I be sure the advice given is authentic, reliable and dependable?

Extrapolating this thought: All leaders and advisors are surely the sum of their own personal drivers, their biases, their experiences and who they allow to influence their world.

Understanding that money is the basis upon which all decisions are made adds a whole new dimension to the need for advisors and their clients to dive deeply into one another’s behaviors. This then reveals, at the beginning, the areas of behavior that need to be managed. Further, it reveals the differences in terms of one another’s approach to decision making.

Without a comprehensive understanding of what influences decision making there could be adverse consequences to the advice given to clients. Financial advisors are under pressure to deliver results. This pressure could force advisors to revert to hardwired behavior resulting in a problematic disconnect that spontaneously emerges in decision-making. (Our innate behaviors are most surfaced during times of stress.)

Every relationship that requires one party to advise or lead the other should begin by undertaking a scientifically based behavioral discovery methodology to reveal decision making styles. Based on the outcomes, the advisor-client relationship is formed on a level playing field from the outset.

In the financial advisory world, we are fully conscious of bias. Those who have gained an understanding of their own behaviors will recognize how to manage bias as they deliver advice.

Savvy leaders and the behavior-money connection

Nonetheless, not every industry is aware of the role attitudes play in impacting money and money in impacting decisions. But in the new behavioral economy, those business leaders, financial advisors and board members who are now recognizing the influence of behavior and money attitudes on their personal and business performance are taking action to understand more about the subject.

They recognize the importance of understanding their financial behavioral style. They know that this insight informs every strategy they formulate, and that every decision they make will be influenced and driven by their approach to money.

Bringing this message home

Think about your approach to money. How deeply does this mindset impact the decisions you make? You may well think you know yourself and your financial personality. You may think you understand how to manage your behavior and money attitude.

But remember, pressure and stress cause us all to revert to what is our norm. Our innate behavior(s). Behaviors we may not even be aware we have or exhibit.

Don’t be alarmed if your behavior-money learning curve takes some time. I’ve studied this for 19 years, have just written a book about it (Leadership Behavior DNA: Discovering Natural Talents and Managing Differences) and I still continue to learn more.

All told, and whether managed well or not, we all have a button that can be pushed that could greatly impact decisions we make based on our personal approach to money. Embrace your money attitude and begin to recognize the same in others, especially leaders and advisors.

Coronavirus Fear is Not a Winning Investment Strategy

In crisis the tendency is for all of us to react emotionally and follow the herd. With headlines screaming a global economic downfall due to a flu pandemic, remember you are genetically hardwired to react in certain ways.

If you find yourself responding outside your inherent behavior because your reaction is to the coronavirus not the market turbulence, STOP – and check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Get a handle on the facts and the reality of the situation before you make a decision, hastily dumping investments or rushing to add suddenly inexpensive “buys” to your portfolio.

Behaviorally smart investors and their advisors know that everyone reacts differently to turbulent markets. Don’t get mixed up with the herd mentality; don’t be distracted by outgoing colleagues and friends rushing to jump on the bandwagon of what everyone else is doing.

If you’ve found this last week unbearable, its likely you’ve misjudged or are unaware of your own behavior and risk tolerance. This is important insight for every investor to know.

If you have a financial advisor skilled in understanding financial personality, be guided by them.

If not, commit to understanding your own financial personality before it derails your investment strategy and wrecks your retirement plan. It only takes 10-minutes and may be the best investment you make.

Learn more about Financial DNA’s Market Mood. Questions or further information- inquiries@DNAbehavior.com.

Managing Client Emotions in Times of Market Volatility

I’ve just spent 26 hours travelling from Australia to the UK. Wearing a face mask (on the advice of my doctor).

With global anxiety on the rise and many analysts working the data to understand the impact of the coronavirus on economic growth, I got to thinking why in three of the busiest airports and two packed planes, so few people were taking the precaution of wearing a mask.

Realistically speaking, I trusted my health provider to advise me: Wear a mask, carry hand sanitizer and stay away from people coughing.

Can financial markets wear a mask?

I looked around at all my fellow travellers and staff and wondered what advice they had been given about protection from the virus, and why so many seemed oblivious to the potential threat.

This got me thinking about what their reaction might be as I read the financial headlines. Headlines across the world that are not giving much hope to investors, nor to entire economies. I wondered if those same people choosing not to wear masks would be quite so nonchalant watching their life savings plummet.

Maybe the health advisors knew their patients so well that they called them and assured them that, according to the data they held about their health, with their strong immune system they would be okay!

Still, shares on Wall Street fall, scream the headlines. World markets are seemingly in freefall. Not a good time for financial advisors to be dealing with clients who see their life savings tank.

So, what of the financial industry? How are advisors going to stop the inevitable panic of their clients as they see markets tumble? How can they steady the ship?

“Behaviorally smart” advisors to the rescue

While the financial industry rushes to understand and interpret its data, behaviorally smart financial advisors who have invested into the DNA Behaviors Financial Personality Discovery will have learned more about their clients unique financial personalities and the power of these insights enables them to serve clients more effectively. Particularly during times of market volatility.

Markets cannot be predicted by advisors and investors. The role of the advisor should be about managing the behavioral biases and responses of their clients. The behaviorally smart advisor is in a key position to influence the reaction of clients.

As human beings we all have certain decision-making biases that are hard-wired into us from early in life. These hard-wired behavioral reactions to market activity can be predicted, as they are inherently part of our “DNA”, which is scientifically measurable.

The biases will usually reveal themselves in times of higher market volatility – like now! – when a person is under more pressure or when a major life event takes place.

DNA Behavior’s Market Mood

Market Mood graph

For the first time, advisors can predict the Market Mood of clients in times of volatility and have at their fingertips the customized communication keys and instructions for proactively taking action.

I suggest that when a persons financial well-being is under threat, they may well have a different reaction and, metaphorically speaking, rush to put on a mask to protect themselves.

Savvy advisors, learn more about Market Mood. And contact us if you want to know more about these tools.

2020: The Year to Resist Negativity

How many times have you begun a new year with a great expectation of what the year will bring in terms of success only to have plans, hopes and dreams dashed at the first sign of negativity?

Why do we take on a throwaway remark directed towards us or feel crushed when we make a mistake?

I for one spent my teens crippled by being oversensitive, blushing at just about everything and feeling pretty incompetent. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I had a negative bias, but I certainly “heard” the could-do-better comments in school reports or staff reviews, rather than the greater number of “well done” comments.

Discovering a… discovery

So, what turned me around and why do I begin 2020 with Grand Plans?

It’s actually quite simple: I completed the DNA Natural Discovery process. In just the 10 minutes it took to complete the questionnaire I was able to read about the unique me. It served as a light-bulb moment.

I then began to understand not just myself, but the people who made me feel self-negativity. I’m good with people. I see ways to encourage them. I set and accomplish goals. I’m innovative, spontaneous, yet analytical, reserved and guarded.

It then didn’t take much of a leap to understand the behaviors of others that put me into a crushed mode.

Others whose behavior manifests in being very outspoken and outgoing or take charge and fast-paced challenge me. They don’t mean too, its just their natural behavioral style.

My light-bulb moment was not so much knowing who I am; I think I inherently knew my qualities. The revelation, if you will, was understanding how to manage the differences between myself and others behavior. That was what took me to the place of confidence, resistance, determination and optimism in knowing who I am and what my contribution to the world is.

Knowing the course ahead

As I make my grand plans for 2020, I know to ensure they line up with my gifts; what I can and can’t achieve. I know the importance for me in taking small steps toward my grand plan. I know I need time to research and think through before investing time and other resources in my grand plan. I know the value of building time out to reflect on the small steps I will take toward my grand plans.

But, perhaps more importantly, I now know me. I understand my inherent behavior. I recognize when faced with a different set of behaviors how best to navigate those differences and to manage relationships which would otherwise have me running for my negative corner.

I now know that as a people person I can even invest my skills in others so they can see the impact of their behavior on me. That way, it helps me better help them in our work together and helps them better themselves in other interactions as well. They can come to understand the importance of gaining knowledge for themselves in how to manage the behavioral differences we humans have that makes us all so unique.

Take a look at my Work Talents Report, adjacent to this article, and consider what your own might look like. (Further, think of having your report alongside the report of a collaborator. What power you would have in making the most of the collaboration for you both!)

Work Talents Report_Carol Pocklington

Your best year ever

I trust 2020 for you will begin with Grand Plans and hope that you are open to invest just 10 minutes into understanding your behavioral style. With this knowledge and insight, I believe no form of negativity or different behavioral styles will cause you to fail in delivering your best year ever.

The DNA Behavior team would like to extend to you a complimentary natural discovery process. Take it here. Begin your 2020 with a greater insight into your unique behaviors.