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Acting on Feedback (#70)

Giving and taking feedback is a popular topic these days. Companies are going to great lengths to solicit more feedback from employees and customers – especially those regularly turning to social media.

In my many discussions with high-achieving individuals and companies, one thing that consistently sets them apart is their willingness to not only receive candid feedback, but to then act on it.

Acting on feedback is harder than it seems. It means that we need to first accept what people are telling us about how we can improve and overcome our inherent cognitive dissonance. It also means admitting that we don’t always have the best ideas and be comfortable giving credit to others. These are hallmark signs of a great leader. Individuals who want to do and be better don’t care where the best ideas or suggestions come from.

Here are two examples of CEO’s who have recently accepted and acted upon customer feedback:

If you want to be an effective leader, it’s vital that you demonstrate a willingness to act on feedback. Doing so conveys that you are approachable, solution-oriented, and are looking for the best ideas—regardless of where they came from and irrespective of credit.

When people see and experience this positive feedback loop, they will be even more open and honest with you or your company; it’s that open, honest communication that leads to major breakthroughs within an organization, and it costs you nothing.

To do for next week: Act on someone else’s suggestion, let them know, and see what happens.

Quote of The Week

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

Elon Musk

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Dysfunctional boardroom behavior 5 steps to manage

Dysfunctional Boardroom Behavior – 5 Steps to Manage

A dysfunctional board of directors can cause multiple challenges for any organization.
Industry leaders, celebrities, and subject experts often make up Boards. Many of these individuals are not accustomed to having their opinions challenged. So while they may add credibility, there’re not always a mutual fit.

Dysfunction arises when:

  • Individual behaviors, cognitive biases, decision-making styles and communication styles are not in sync.
  • Decisions are inconsistent or simply not made.
  • Board members have conflicting agendas.
  • There is lack of leadership from the Chair, no mutual respect and lack of trust.
  • Individuals react inappropriately under pressure.
  • Boardroom bullies are not managed or members just sit back and watch.

A 2009 Gallup Research paper revealed a 70% productivity gain when groups of people working together understood and were able to close the behavior performance gap. This study holds true today.

Every board plays an integral role in the success of the organization. When Board members are dysfunctional and not engaged, the flow on to the organization can be significant.

5 Steps to managing boardroom behavior.

  1. Commit to being behaviorally smart in the boardroom.
  2. Use a validated natural discovery process to assess key personality traits.
  3. Use the outcomes to build a balanced relationship between all players.
  4. Appoint a highly skilled facilitator to work with individual directors to understand communication and behavioral styles.
  5. Commit to building a culture of understanding, acceptance, and respect.

Understanding different personalities can lead to better decision-making. Directors cannot fulfill their responsibilities in a boardroom where a few dysfunctional members are allowed to control the meeting or obstruct board decision-making.

Advise Your Advisor On How To Advise You On Financial Advice

Advise Your Advisor On How To Advise You On Financial Advice

Your Advisor’s not telling you that your long-term financial goals may be out of sync with the level of risk you’re willing to take in order to reach them. No risk, no reward, right? It’s time to advise your advisor on how to advise you on financial advice.

According to a recent survey by asset manager Natixis, while about 73% of investors polled said that pursuing returns is more important, nearly 84% also said they would choose safety over risk.

So how can you balance increasing assets vs. tolerating risk? And how do you relate this to your advisor? For financial advisors, this balance presents a challenge as well. How your advisor is able to accurately assess this is by delving into your core natural risk propensity and tolerance, part of your financial personality.

The opportunity is to educate your advisor on realistic expectations and strategies to best reach your goals. And while he or she has the tools and training available to them in order to help you along, not everyone is onboard with matching your individual personality behaviors with your personal financial goals.

Where advisors often fall short is not identifying all of the risks associated with your particular situation: investment, financial, and personality risks. This is an important factor because under stress, you might not be as clearheaded or know all the ins and outs of a given situation in order to rationally process what’s happening and make behaviorally smart decisions. You very well may be operating based on your core natural behavior.

As you’re transitioning jobs, getting married, buying a house or preparing for retirement, you’re under a lot of financial stress – worries regarding accumulating wealth may push you into new, riskier investment decisions. Then add market volatility, unforeseen personal events or escalating college tuitions or long-term health care costs, or the emotions associated with being in the “withdrawal stage” rather than “accumulation phase”, and you’re pushed according to your core natural behavior. In many cases, this mix of stress and decisions based on your reaction to that stress is not beneficial for the long-term success of financial goals.

Your financial advisor needs to be in a position to manage not only your portfolio, but protect you from your natural self. This is an important step in the investor/advisor relationship and necessary to your financial success, because under stress, your risk behavior is less predictable without an objective tool. You may want to jump at every opportunity, or over-spend, or take no action at all. This is where knowing your behavioral insights and communication style, help your advisor help you and your significant other.

In many cases, a couples’ behavior will be directly opposite one another. So there is an added challenge for your advisor to know the behavior of each of you in order to address both in different ways.

So, how do you uncover these behavioral risks?

You need an objective, third party system so that your behavior, under stress, becomes more predictable and therefore can plan accordingly. Then, in combination with your experience and wisdom, discovering your financial natural behavior will allow you to become a behaviorally smart investor and provide valuable insights to your financial profile. It’s an enlightening process to see if your advisor is right for you, and then in turn, to see if you’re a match to them. And who knows? With these insights, you may find out a lot more about yourself and your partner, than you’d previously known.

Be sure to discover all of your risks originating from your natural core behavior. It’s the only way to protect you, from yourself. And it helps establish a trusting relationship with your advisor to create a financial plan that is as unique as you.

So You Think You Are A Good Communicator

So You Think You Are A Good Communicator?

How many people who call themselves “good communicators” use the below logic to justify their claims:

  • “I know how to read people”
  • “I know people like them, they all work the same”
  • “I’m good at reading body language”
  • “I know this stuff so well I can teach it to anyone”

Would you describe yourself as a good communicator? Research shows that you will naturally connect with only 30% of the clients you meet. That leaves the overwhelming majority of people in the category of needing to adjust your behavior to meet their needs. But, how do you do that?

  • Does your client need concrete examples (Information) or just the big picture (Goal-Setting)
  • Will they want to know what other people are doing (Lifestyle) or do they want research to support a decision (Information)
  • Do they need help and support to get comfortable so that it feels like the right decision (Stability Style) or do they just need the rational bullet points (Goal-Setting)

While it is entirely possible for some people to really connect and engage with anyone they meet, they are the definition of “few and far between.” This brings up the question of “Why?” Through the use of behavioral science, you can better understand the natural tendencies of your clients, which will allow you to be a proactive manager of your clients’ needs. The use of a behavioral tool has also been proven to show a return of 150 bps to your AUM (Source:The Advisors Alpha: Putting a Value on Your Value, Vanguard 2015). So, adding a tool to your resources gives you a new differentiator between you and your competitors.

If there is a proven method available to ensure you can connect with absolutely every type of person, why wouldn’t you use it? Behavioral Science can help you accomplish your goals by giving you easy tips on how to engage different styles by making small adjustments to tailor your communication with your clients and prospects. Having this tool can turn you into someone with the ability to communicate with anyone, regardless of whether it comes to you naturally, or not.

What’s your communication style?

Why try Financial DNA

WTF DNA (Why Try Financial DNA)

So, you’ve decided that using a behavioral finance tool can help your practice. You have taken the trial, learned from the training how DNA Behavior’s tools work, and how to understand your different types of clients. Now comes the most important part: how do you implement these new tools into your office’s routine? Good financial advisor offices are like singers: they can all sing “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” but not all audiences will like the way certain singers add their twist on the song. Most good singers are able to read their audience and know when to change their tune. As a financial advisor, do you know how to read your audience and change your approach? That’s what we’re here to help you with.

Many of the questions we get revolve around wherein the client acquisition cycle the discovery process should be implemented. Several current clients of ours will not schedule a meeting with a new client until they have completed a Communication DNA Discovery. This happens for several reasons:

 

  • So they know best how to open the conversation with the new client
  • How you present to a Goal-Setter (get to the bottom line) is very different from how you would speak with a Stability person (Soften your tone)
  • Having this one key piece of information can be the difference in winning, or losing this client and offers an immediate differentiation from competitors

Let’s say, Charles, an advisor, just met with the new client and understands their preferred method of communication. What comes next? Before any talk of investments or portfolios comes into play, Charles must understand their natural tendencies. This is where his new client should complete the Financial DNA Natural Discovery process which really gets under the surface so he can truly understand what their goals are. But, Charles needs to understand a couple of key points before putting this in place. The first key is that he needs to commit to it. He must have a complete buy-in that is obvious to his clients. When they see how important it is, their buy-in will be that much easier and will simplify the rest of the process. The second key is that it needs to be early in the process. Charles needs to figure out if he can work with this prospective client so he’s not wasting his time with someone he won’t be able to please. Otherwise, if Charles doesn’t let them know how important this can be they will have a hard time completing it if he does not convince them that these tools are essential to the success of their relationship.

It is important to remember that the power of DNA Behavior’s tools is in the questions we give you to get the conversation going in the right direction. You will be able to naturally connect with 40% of the prospective clients that walk through your door. Will you be able to change your song to connect with the other 60%? The answer is now a simple YES.

Try Financial DNA for yourself today.

 

behavioral fnance

So You Think You Know Me? Here’s What You Missed

Do you think your sales team is connecting (i.e., maximizing revenue) with all the advisors in their territory? They might tell you they are but read on.

I’m very intuitive, said the wholesaler of a major asset management firm. Excellent, we should get along very well, I replied.

I was talking with a wholesaler who wanted to learn more about one of our behavioral solutions, Communication DNA.

The wholesaler’s goal was straightforward: Show me a solution that decreases the amount of time it takes me to get to know an advisor so trust can be built immediately.

The wholesaler was skeptical about what I was saying so we decided to do a test. We had been talking for 30-minutes (about the same amount of time you talk with an advisor) when the wholesaler suggested to me that he could already tell exactly what “type” of personality I was.

Game on, I said.

OK, here’s what I’ve gathered so far about you in the first 30-minutes:

  • Fun
  • Fast-paced
  • Very sociable and enjoys people
  • Likes to take the lead

So what did I miss? asked the wholesaler.

Just a few pieces of critical information that most sales people miss about me (and why they lose the sale):

  • I can be very fun but turn into a “driven, goal-oriented” individual, especially under stress. Do you think an advisor’s job contains any elements of stress? As a wholesaler, you could keep going down the fun path when I have taken a sharp right turn. If you are not with me, I may smile and act like I am listening, but I have totally disengaged.
  • Getting me to make a decision: Tell me stories about how you have helped others like me. Don’t try any other “closing technique.”
  • Trusting you? I am loyal beyond belief. But you need to prove yourself from both a competency level and people skills in equal amounts.
  • The amount of detail: Don’t confuse me with the facts. High- level first or I will not even listen or worse yet, cut you off. I will let you know how much and when I need details so follow my lead.

Now the wholesaler was ready to listen: How could I possibly get all this behavioral intelligence before an advisor even decides to do business with me?

You don’t have much time to create a good impression and to get an advisor to trust you. Find out how to become a behaviorally smart wholesaler. Your business success depends on it.