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Getting In The Way Of Our Own Financial Success

Getting In The Way Of Our Own Financial Success

This article first appeared on Nasdaq.

If we are to be effective in the decisions we make, we need to understand our uniqueness, our talent, our individual behavior and our personality. Without this insight, we are unlikely to make rational, wealth-growing financial decisions.

What gets in the way of our own success? Lack of self-awareness? Do we have a bias we are unaware of? Perhaps it’s because we do not know how or why we make the decisions we do. Or maybe it’s because we have no life plan or direction in life.

That’s what we call getting in the way of our own successes, whether financial or in life in general. So, expecting financial advisors to know how to advise us is a big ask. We are all unique, even though some of us might share similarities, we are all different in terms of how we respond to situations and make financial decisions.

Add to the mix a partner, and unless we and they devote time in to understanding each other’s communication, behavioral and decision-making approach, we simply have more confusion. More to decipher. I might add that the partnership dynamic is often a significant problem for financial advisors to navigate. Examples:

  • One party is results-focused; the other relationship-focused.
  • One wants the pension fund; the other the big house.
  • One wants to research and make the financial investment decisions without an advisor. The other needs guidance from an expert.
  • One is trusting and will go with whatever the advisor says. The other is skeptical and questioning and challenges everything they say.
  • One is comfortable taking risk; the other cautious and conservative.

Still, we often put our financial decisions in the hands of advisors who have absolutely no understanding of how to manage these our differences. Therefore, we make dumb decisions and get in the way of our own success. Not only that, if we make no attempt to be behaviorally self-aware, we will keep making the same dumb decisions and failing at our own financial success. I believe we make those dumb decisions because:

  • We lack self-worth.
  • We lack confidence.
  • We are too easily persuaded.
  • We are not growing in terms of understanding our behavior.
  • We don’t understand how to buy time out to consider our response to decision making.

Or perhaps we simply fail to consider the why of what we are doing. Why:

  • Am allowing other people to make financial decisions for me?
  • Have I not considered the significance of delegating these life decisions?
  • Is it that I’m accepting the decisions others are making about my life and circumstances?
  • Aren’t I making these decisions for myself?

Taking a step to gain insight into our inherent talents and behaviors ensures we are well equipped to understand how we make decisions. What should our life goals be? How and when and who to entrust with advising us? There are many quality behavioral data gathering processes that can be used. Be behaviorally smart and make sure you the advisor know yourself and, in turn, help your clients complete this discovery process. This will put you both on the same page. Your clients have a lot at stake and will appreciate the small investment of time it takes for you and them to best know how to help them. The vast majority of clients will find it at least enlightening and often fun.

Why not begin right now – try our complimentary DNA Behavior Natural Discovery here.

short circuit client self sabotage and empower the advisor

Short-Circuit Client Self-Sabotage And Empower The Advisor

This article first appeared on Nasdaq.

Last time in this space we discussed how the industry is more client-driven than ever. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless an advisor encounters a client who will not listen to advice and is self-sabotaging.

There are techniques we discussed to help identify and challenge such clients. We agreed that having client behavioral insights ahead of client meetings (and before red flags occur) is an opportunity to tailor your services to each clients uniqueness. So, while imaging a scientifically based data gathering tool as part of an advisors arsenal, lets take this conversation to the next step.

Self-sabotaging approaches are identified and successfully managed when advisors know that:

  • Every client is unique; and each has different wants and needs that must be known and managed.
  • Every client will have cognitive biases, emotions, fears, anxieties, greed and excitement, at varying levels and combinations.
  • Clients and their families lives are complex and each will have their own thoughts on life planning.
  • Clients are better informed and educated than ever before and may wish to take greater control of their finances, for better or worse.
  • Market volatility, lack of trust, and fear have become real issues for many investors; these facets will dominate many client-advisor conversations and the subsequent decisions.

In turn, this same level of insight and behavioral knowledge empowers the advisors to:

  • More effectively understand client behavior and emotional decision making.
  • Understand how to move the client from a need to control to one of mutual relationship.
  • Manage client fear, based on historical market movements, and build confidence in future markets.
  • Uncover and understand a clients life goals (even those they may not have known or acknowledged themselves).
  • Apply a deeper understanding of client behavior to your work on their behalf.

One of the main reasons clients hire financial professionals is to gain objective, expert, personalized advice. When they approach you as though they were the expert, care needs to be taken to avoid role reversal. Only when advisors are armed with insight into their clients behavior and decision-making style can this approach be managed.

Ultimately, advisors who implement solutions that deliver insights to client behavior can help better manage know-it-all or self-sabotaging behavior. But remember that know-it-all advisors also exist too.

Clients are smarter than you think. You wont get their business if you dont understand your own approach. That is why a healthy and professional client/advisor relationship is built on the premise of knowing me, knowing you (cue the ABBA song of the same name).

With an eye toward the fact that you will eventually do the same for all of your own clients, get to know your own inherent behavior and bias. Not only will this self-awareness enable you to work with difficult clients, it will deliver significant insight in to how best to manage your own behavior + theirs.

Why not begin right now – try our complimentary DNA Behavior Natural Discovery here.

To effectively coach mentor begin with validated individual insights

To Effectively Coach/Mentor, Begin with Validated Individual Insights

As a DNA Behavior Accredited Consultant, I coach and mentor business leaders and individuals daily.

Every person I have coached has begun the engagement by saying in various ways that they want to find and fulfil their life’s purpose. Very often they are at a crossroads and need someone to signpost them in the right direction.

Universal signpost: Personal behavioral insight

Whether she’s a leader frustrated by her inability to drive greater success, or he’s an individual who has lost his way, every issue boils down to one clear truth – the lack of personal behavioral insight.

In the case of the leader:

  • How they lead;
  • How they communicate; and
  • How they manage people.

In the case of the individual:

  • How can I feel more appreciated?
  • Why can’t leadership see my unused talents?
  • How can I find my life’s purpose in work?

Whether as a leader or as an employee, each desire to do a good job that is life-giving and has meaning. But when their endeavours are not appreciated or ignored, people lose their compass. And often lose interest and initiative too.

Digging below the surface I find there is often dissatisfaction. An itch they can’t scratch. A longing that can’t be met. Unless this can be revealed, individuals can’t change direction and realize their life’s purpose. And, without this same revelation, leaders can’t create the space for team members to achieve it.

Fully engaged, focused on success

There are many reputable reports and studies showing there is a definite correlation between engaged employees and creative output, and how these drive business growth and innovation. So, when a client comes to me for coaching, the question of leadership always comes into the conversation.

Leaders have a huge responsibility in terms of creating settings within which people can work to their optimum. But when leaders do not know their people at a deep level, its unrealistic to expect them to establish spaces that enable individuals and teams to become engaged employees.

Gallup, Inc., defines engaged employees as those who are involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. But the majority of employees are indifferent, sleepwalking through their workday without regard for their performance or their organizations performance. As a result, vital economic influencers such as growth and innovation are at risk.

My personal frustration: The many times an individual says, I just want someone to appreciate me and tell me if I’m doing a good job. Such exchanges between managers and employees don’t in themselves produce engagement, but its a good beginning.

Reconnecting the disconnects

When leaders know how to emotionally invest in their people, then real engagement begins. Whenever I work with leaders, I always ask them if they know how closely the success of the business aligns with the success their people are hoping for in their own lives.

Be mindful of the external stressors the people in your organization are dealing with. For instance, they may be dealing with and worrying about things like buying a home, schooling their children, saving for a holiday, paying off their college fees, investing to create wealth, the health of a loved one and more.

Successful leaders know their employees. They understand the power of engagement. They are comfortable having insightful conversations with them. Moreover, this then leads to healthier conversations when an individual’s work level falls off.

That kind of conversation isn’t about criticism and likely begins with, What’s happening in your world that’s causing this slump in your work? How can I help you get back on track? This is where true engagement comes into play and teams are built on trust and commitment to the business.

This is how leaders build and motivate their people. In the genuine exchanges.

Going below the surface

As consultants we need to advise our clients about the importance of getting below the surface of themselves and the people they lead. Some leaders may need to be taught how to engage in this way.

They may feel vulnerable doing it- but here’s the thing, if they want success in their business, getting the people stuff right is the only way to go. They may need to learn that that people stuff is not as soft and undefinable as they think. There are metrics, processes and tools that can help each of us know, engage and grow ourselves and the organizations we lead.

The first step for me in my coaching and mentoring approach as a consultant is for each client to complete their DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process. I can’t possibly advise, mentor and coach when I have no idea what people have hidden behind their personality mask. I wouldn’t even try.

Armed with this in-depth insight, I can then very quickly help them accelerate their performance, enabling them to achieve success on all levels regardless of where they sit in the organization.

Experience the kind of insights Im talking about by taking the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery yourself, at no cost or obligation.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

when consultants unwittingly sabotage a business opportunity

When Consultants Unwittingly Sabotage a Business Opportunity

When I reflect on the many consultants I’ve worked with over the years and remember clearly those whose “pitch” for the work failed because they, a) haven’t researched me (their client), b) arrived with their own agenda but, more worryingly, c) were busy busy busy; lots to do.

Clearly, they were trying to make an impression, but it was a big fail.

Conversely, I wonder why it was that I was drawn to consultants whose “pitch” was low-key, informative, and balanced. They were punctual, they were prepared, and they left me with reading material and time to reflect and make my decision.

As a consultant, the primary role is to work with organizations in areas the client outlines.
Consulting assignments invariably begin with a problem. The client recognizes they have an issue that can only be resolved by hiring a specific talent, very often as a short-term project.

Consultants bring skills, experience and knowledge to their clients. They normally are not there to rewrite the company strategy, nor are they there to find endless fault in the hope of getting more business. The consultant’s contribution, therefore, can be defined as bringing specific skills needed within an organization for a set period.

Consultants that get repeat work are often the ones who work hand in hand with their client to fix the identified basic problem. They develop a process with which to address the problem and formulate a solution.

Consultants bring a much-needed objectivity, knowledge or innovative approach to organizations, augmenting and supplementing the teams within that organization.

There is a measure of scepticism around consultants, but when you work with a consultant whose business is ethical, where trust can be built, and where they make a valuable contribution to the business, I’m all for hiring them.

The consultants that made the greatest impression and, in fact, I hired, began the engagement not by telling me everything they could do for me, but by requesting I complete a DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process. This, they said, would enable them to deliver a meaningful client experience customized to my unique style.

The outcome was clear (and very accurate) insight

-Balanced -Discerning -Harmonious

I can guide people with feelings, together with the determination to reach goals and accomplish tasks. This blend of behavioral strengths makes me well-suited for situations where setting the agenda and recognizing the needs of other people are required. Further, consistency, reliability and persistence are important. I flourish in an environment where there is plenty of stability, group decision-making is needed, and where I am recognized for the contribution I make.

Your Work Talents Report

I was then presented with outcomes from the consultant’s DNA Behavior Natural Discovery:

– Ringleader – Assertive – Visionary

Influencers usually have a unique blend of confidence, initiative and people skills. They are typically able to see the larger vision and then use their superior communication skills to influence others towards accomplishing it. They will wholeheartedly invest time and effort into developing others and their personal performance towards goals, particularly strategies which they see hold significant potential.

Your Work Talents Report

when-consultants-unwittingly-sabotage-a-business-opportunity

Immediately, I could see that this insight, for both of us, ensured we understood each other’s strengths and limitations. We knew how to communicate with each other and, most importantly, as the client, I saw how important it was for the consultant to make it a priority to get to know my behavioral style. This impressed me. They were putting me and my needs above the issues, while being transparent about their own, dissimilar style of working.

This approach not only got them the business, and indeed repeat business, it also opened doors for me to see where a scientifically based data gathering tool could bring significant insight into the people in the organization.

As part of an ongoing relationship, the consultant introduced the DNA Behavior Natural discovery to many areas of our business. Teams began to accelerate their performance as they gained a deeper understanding of one another’s talents and behaviors.

This consultant had made a very valuable contribution the business.

As a consultant, do you want to know what unique behaviors you bring to the table? Try our complimentary Discovery now.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

Chip powering ideas

Are You a Consultant? Seven Keys That Will Set You Apart From Competitors

When a consultant is engaged to resolve a business challenge, invariably they begin the process with a meeting to uncover the issues.

One huge pain point for consultants is getting to the bottom of specific problems. Being able to analyze what is being said about the issues to deliver solutions can be tricky. It doesn’t matter what level of the organization is briefing you, care must be taken to apply a behavioral and communication filter to what is being said.

Regardless of the briefing – most skilled consultants would agree that a very large percentage of business challenges is people-related.

As a consultant, this is fertile ground for you. Regardless of your expertise in any given field, being able to analyze behaviors is a key selling point. A unique point of differentiation that actually pays dividends. From the C-suite to the front line – all behaviors and communication styles should be known.

Since 2001, DNA Behavior has used validated behavioral insights to guide businesses building a stronger people culture. The Natural Discovery process reveals practical information on how best to manage behavioral differences. By delivering customized experiences for management, their employees and customers, you will be positioned to resolve wide-ranging challenges your clients might be facing.

2002 Harvard Research shows 87% of business issues are communication-related – caused by human behavioral differences.

If coaches, management consultants and others are to provide companies with solutions they need to dig below the surface, they’re going to need ways to find out individual behaviors, including whether, or not, people are emotionally invested in the company.

So, getting below the surface of the people is critical:

At DNA Behavior International we have recognized over the past 20 years the importance of understanding #PeopleBeforeNumbers.

Using scientifically based data gathering, we know that even the most difficult of business issues are rooted in individual behaviors. Not surprisingly, many CEOs find people issues a challenge. They feel, quite rightly, that dealing with the people takes their mind off the strategy and direction of the business. And, the day-to-day pressure of business can surface many challenges, not because of incompetency, necessarily, but because the norm has become mundane and people behave differently when bored or unfulfilled.

Consultants are in a highly competitive market place. There is plenty of work available for quality consultancies and this means there is significantly higher competitiveness. Again, you need a point of differentiation and DNA Behavior International can provide you with that unique insight and edge.

DNA Behavior can provide you the consultant with solutions that bring a fresh perspective and a breadth of experience to companies you work with.

Why not take 10 minutes to complete your own DNA Behavior Natural Discovery. Whatever you offer in the way of consulting – we partner with you to enhance the people part. Sounds too good to be true? Why not try it? Complimentary, on us. You’ll appreciate the difference and so will your clients.

COMPLETE BDNA DISCOVERY

Consultancies exist in many shapes and sizes. Whether you give strategic advice, solve crises, help increase efficiency or provide other solutions, when you can reveal individual behaviors and talents your service offering increases exponentially, enabling you to provide more focused and more quantifiable perspectives and solutions.

DNA Behavior can work with you to differentiate yourself:

  1. We offer scientifically-based Natural Discovery tools that enable you to know, engage and grow your clients and their staff at a deep level.
  2. We train you to interpret and use the Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Reports to improve Personal Talent, Hiring and Team Performance. And, to make that first meeting pitching your work more impactful.
  3. We deliver tools and insights enabling you to work with clients to improve the Hiring Process and Conduct Behavioral Interviews.
  4. Working with groups – got that covered. You will be able to build team performance through a greater understanding of personal and team member motivations.
  5. You will know how to work with leaders to interpret and use the Business DNA Leadership Performance Report and guide a leader to build a Leadership Performance Plan.
  6. You get access to Communication DNA Discovery Reports to increase the emotional engagement of employees and customers for relationship performance.
  7. You will be able to offer services to Diagnose Business Engagement Strengths and Struggles through Behavioral Insights for improving Business Planning.

Here’s a personal invitation from our CEO/Founder to partner with us to build your business.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

lead generation practices

Who’s In Charge? Leading Corporate Culture

It’s the behavior of the leaders that shapes the culture of an organization. Do you agree?

As leaders, we make a conscious decision to lead well. But how successful are we if we don’t understand the impact of our own behavior on the culture of the organization. As leaders, we are always under the microscope of our employees; they mimic our behavior, adopt our values, and quote us. As for our customers, if what they see are inappropriate values that may determine whether or not to do business with. How can we ensure we are giving out the right message and that how we’re represented to our customers is good for the organization? Our behavior, and how it’s mirrored by others, impacts our organization’s bottom line. So it’s up to us whether our personal impact is positive or negative.

Just this week I have seen examples of both positive and negative behavior which highlights the need for leadership to understand that setting a cultural standard can showcase the business well.

It’s interesting that the two most emotionally charged environments for customers are flying and finances and yet much needs to be done to improve the cultures of these two industries regarding the behaviors they demonstrate when serving their customers.

Having just completed a 14-hour flight and needing to change currency in a bank I feel able to make some comment on the service I personally received.

Leg one of my flight had me more involved in watching the personal conversations/gossiping going on between the cabin crew when I was trying to get their attention for some water. To the crew, passengers seemed to be a distraction, at best, and a nuisance, at worst, to their conversation. It would not be difficult to determine that this level of poor customer service comes from the top.

The second leg of my flight was entirely different, the passengers were king, and the staff was attentive. They were gracious and professional, able to accommodate different conversations amongst all age groups and cultures. Clearly, standards set by leadership.

Next came the bank, long queues, no explanations, shortage of staff, and teller didn’t even look at me. Interestingly, I saw other tellers behaving in the same way. Again, this kind of behavior is mirrored from leadership. Sadly, I’ve experienced this the world over.

However, the second bank welcomed me at the door, and based on my need, directed me to a teller. I was greeted with a smile and made to feel that my $500 money exchange was the largest financial transaction the bank would undertake that day. Clearly, an example of leadership that teaches appreciation for each and every customer interaction.

When leaders set the vision and cultural direction through the lens of the customer, and they examine why people behave the way they do, they can then set vision and culture that responds to the needs of the customer.

It isn’t enough to know that people are nervous about flying or that they are concerned about having enough money for their journey. Airline staff and Financial organizations need to understand not only how to build a trusting relationship with their customers, but also to examine themselves to understand how they will react to the anxious passenger or fearful investor.

Great leaders know the importance of understanding their own leadership personality. By using a validated profiling system such as the DNA Behavior Natural Discovery Process, they can see in great depth their inherent behavior. This insight is foundational to self-awareness from which setting values and culture stem. Successful leaders set a vibrant culture that engages and energizes employees. They clearly define what culture means to them and walks it out both personally and professionally.

A culture audit will quickly identify how set values are being interpreted. For example, lack of resources can trigger behavior that directly impacts culture. Lack of training is a further trigger. But if culture criteria and standards are not set and known throughout the business it cannot be audited.

Michael Hiltzik, writing for the LA Times, makes this observation: The airline and banking industries may seem to be about as different as chalk and cheese, but Airlines and Wells Fargo have been shown to share a common bond: toxic corporate cultures that can be blamed on the men at the top, their chief executives.

Investopedia suggests the following meaning of corporate culture: Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.

Prof. James L. Heskett wrote in his book The Culture Cycle, effective culture can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with culturally unremarkable competitors.

Culture is learned behavior, but its growth comes from a place of self-knowledge. If leadership and individuals know their own personality, they can quickly identify how well they can adapt to cultural standards.

So, what’s the lesson to be learned? Culture is set at the top of the organization. Leaders need to uncover their values as an important first step to establishing the culture of their organizations. This approach, using DNA Natural Discovery helps define the framework within which culture is set, decision making styles are formulated and goals achieved. It becomes especially important when leadership has different, even conflicting values. Admittedly defining your values is often hard to do, but when done truthfully and openly upfront at the leadership level, culture becomes much easier to set, communicate and carry out.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior.