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Financial Advisors + ID + EI – What Does It All Mean?

It’s an age-old question. How can financial advisors break through emotional barriers to help clients with their finances?

In recent Identity conversations with Canon Financial Institutes Executive Director Certifications, William Trigleth III, Hugh Massie,  Chairman and Founder of DNA Behavior Global, talked about the importance of financial advisers understanding Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Identity (ID) as a starting point to knowing how to manage advisor/client behavioral differences.

Trigleth acknowledged to Massie how the application of the DNA Behavior discovery tools helped advisors identify their emotional hotspots and revealed vital areas where clients’ financial conversations would need to be managed. 

An essential part of Identity is getting to grips with our emotional intelligence. It becomes crucial when financial advisors are discussing finances with their clients. Nothing disturbs emotional equilibrium more than conversations around money.

You can view a short version of the Massie/Trigleth conversation here:

Or head to our YouTube Channel to view the whole Identity conversation.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain!

Over the past four months, Hugh Massie has been conducting online conversations with industry leaders worldwide. The discussions have circled the importance of understanding Identity regardless of the industry they lead. 

A large part of the conversations has revealed how closely aligned self-awareness of one’s own Identity and emotional intelligence are. 

So, what is emotional intelligence?  

In his book A Dictionary of Psychology, Andrew Colman defines Emotional Intelligence this way:

Emotional intelligence (EI) is most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments

There is no doubt financial advisors need to be able to manage behaviors and reactions that their clients have to market movement. Without this understanding, set goals won’t be achieved.

A great starting point is that advisors know themselves first. This self-awareness leading to self-management keeps the advisor very professional. Still, it also ensures their insight positions them to see and manage their clients’ behavior.

‍Remember, the pull of money is a highly emotive subject. Therefore, the more insight an advisor has into their own and their client’s response, the more likely they are to navigate clients through periods of anxiety.

So how can you increase your emotional intelligence? That’s easy. Head over to our website and complete a FREE trial. This is a perfect starting point, and if you want to talk to one of us about the outcomes – no problem, we can do that.

Maybe you think you would benefit from an Identity Conversation with Hugh Massie – let’s see what we can do to set that up.

I will continue to write something about these Identity interviews with these industry leaders. What they are sharing is GOLD. 

Interesting for us is the common thread, i.e., when individuals know their Identity, they can manage money conversations at a whole new level. As a result, they and their clients tend to make significantly better decisions – about money and finances and other things – that could negatively affect them.

Pursuit of Money Can Kill Relationships

– First Published on Nasdaq –

As I continue my journey through gaining a deeper understanding of what living a quality life actually means, I’m reminded that my original life plan was to create wealth, be successful and provide for my family.

I previously would have said that all the financial decisions I make point me toward achieving that plan. During this time of pandemic lock down, however, I – like many others – have taken time out to consider how well I’ve achieved these goals. Or not. And whether a directional change is needed in terms of my quality life goals.

Succeed, with relationships intact

I recently held a virtual round table with friends. We’re all at the same stage in life, all having the same rethinking life moments, and I put these questions to them: What is the biggest stumbling block? The most difficult to resolve as you build your wealth?

I was surprised to hear that each responded in a similar vein: The biggest challenge they face is damage to relationships.

While our intention in terms of wealth creation is laudable; that is, building wealth for the family, investing in building our businesses and ultimately having meaningful goals that build a quality life, the reality for each of us was some cost to our relationships in some area of life – family, business or personal.

It’s probably worth stating that we as a friendship group are quite alike behaviorally. We are initiators, strategists and world pioneers in our chosen fields. But, that said, we each acknowledge that we didn’t always get relationships right.

Two of us are in the business of understanding behavioral differences, but it was a journey to get there and there was some bruising along the way. For the others, we decided to dig deeper into where the relationship “fails” were and why.

On a personal level, each shared that discussions around finances caused stress. Success doesn’t mean these difficult discussions go away. So why?

Money always at play

Given the types of personalities we are – and having little or no depth of insight into our partners’ financial personality – we were making all the decisions. Yes, we’d have “token” conversations, but in reality we’d already made up our minds and plowed ahead toward achieving the life goals we had set (probably back in college days).

Obviously, as a friendship group we agreed to invest in getting behavioral advice and learning about our own behavior and how to manage inevitable differences as couples. A key learning from this advice was the principle that behavioral styles drive money (thereby influencing every personal, financial and business decision) and the flow of money reflects behavioral styles. Conversations will be had at home as we pluck up the courage to delve into this prickly and emotionally charged subject.

In this group, some of us were starting to open our eyes as we looked into the broader family dynamics we had each come from – whether it was a controlling grandparent or a riches-to-rags situation. Or a divorce because a parent was a spender. There is even the opposite phenomenon where friction is caused because both parents are hoarders, denying the family opportunities. In the end, we could all see how money was always at play, positively and negatively driving every relationship dynamic.

Invest in relationships

But then we moved onto our businesses. Again, we realized that our focus was on success, achieving results and in many cases we’d each delegated “relationships” to others in our businesses.

I have a very astute personal assistant and was reminded of a remark she made some time ago after I’d needed to admonish one of my key executives. She said, “do I need to mop up any blood after you?”

As I shared this thought with the group, we each agreed that we needed to review, invest in and better manage our relationships. Our future success or failure could depend on how we handled them. Even in business settings it became apparent that in different ways the energy of money was a motivational player and therefore impacting workplace relationships. Even if people come to work for other reasons than making money, money still plays its hand.

Managing relationships, whether personal or business, must begin with understanding our own personality and character. Strong relationships, I firmly believe, come from: A deep understanding and self-awareness of our own character, EQ (emotional intelligence), decision-making style and pressure-point hot spots. In other words, what are our own flash points and what or who pushes them?

Finding common touchpoints

Thinking of our work colleagues, we all agreed that we chase results. Further, we have no time for long-winded conversations. Even more frustrating are those colleagues around us who seem to take forever to make a decision.

This brought out how important understanding each person’s unique communication needs are to building relationships. Yes, if the communication needs are not being met – then somehow money will be right there driving a wedge in the relationship even if it was not the original cause. The point is, money is always there even if it is not the initiator of the problem.

With insightful behavioral knowledge it’s clear the long-winded are story tellers. They can paint a full and often complete picture of the issues. They deserve to be listened to, but maybe the learning point for us is to let them know that bullet points work better, followed by a more comprehensive written communication to support their points.

What about the slow decision maker? These folks are often gatekeepers to the safety of the business. They need time to think and absorb all information. They don’t want to make the wrong decision. In short, these people need to be listened to by fast-paced people (such as those of us in the friend group).

Again, if we understand our own innate behaviors – and the innate behaviors and decision-making styles of others – we can adjust and coach, for a win-win-win in terms of both parties’ communication and decision-making, as well as the interaction and outcomes.

The role of relationships

So, how important are relationships in your life? As you invest – in yourself and otherwise – to achieve the quality life goals you want, are you protecting the relationships that are part of the quality life you are building?

Have you considered the influence of your life direction and the core of who you are as a person as being important? And does that direction you’ve chosen align with the relationships you have, and need, to achieve the life goals you aspire to?

These are important conversations to have as we unpack what a quality life looks like. Join me, as the conversations are ongoing….

Revisiting Big Life Choices and Making Them Sustainable

– First Published on Nasdaq –

In these tumultuous times, conversations have steered away from discussions about how business is going and more toward inquiries like, “how are you managing the lockdown or what have you been spending your time on during the pandemic?”

That is, both my personal and business conversations have found me focusing more on how this may well be the season of some kind of re-positioning. A time of re-structuring for the better, you might say, although it’s tough to articulate what that actually looks like.

Is now the time to make living a meaningful quality life a reality? Clearly, many think it is. But how do you shift from a lifetime of setting financial goals solely to build wealth, assets and increase income to a more holistic approach to life?

It could be argued that wealth creation should always have been predominately about leading a quality life, but we know that not to be the case.

So, what is a quality life? And how do you plan for it? Undoubtedly, it’s subjective but there are important essential factors that form the basis of a quality life. Good health, financial security, relationships, safety, recreation and community involvement to name but a few. But I suspect it goes much deeper than that.

Being in flux helps refine focus

The world has changed in so many unexpected ways over the past 6-plus months. In light of this, many of us are examining how we are “doing life” right now. We are talking about our values, our quality of the life, and how we are making and spending our money.

It’s as though we need to be setting a totally new vision for our life. It’s at least an opportunity to do so.

Unquestionably, there is far more talk about how to serve the world we live in rather than just take from it. This is where the sustainability conversations are coming in, followed with more focus on diversity and inclusion.

What makes a quality life

On a practical level I believe leading a quality life begins withdefining how you would rate your life quality now in 5 key areas:

  1. Are you able to articulate your life purpose?
  2. Do you feel a sense of balance in the key areas of your life?
  3. Are you living with purpose and intention?
  4. Are you meeting all of your needs and a lot of your more meaningful wants?
  5. Do you have a plan for giving back to the community?

As I took time to ask myself these questions and to consider who I needed to include (outside of my family) in this refocusing, I designed for myself a flow chart to provide a better directional understanding. For me, as a strategic thinker, this deep self-audit needs to be addressed very intentionally.

After much consideration, it’s clear that to achieve a quality life I need to review my current life and financial goals.

Looping in your advisor

It was interesting meeting with my financial advisor, bearing in mind he was not aware of my metamorphosis life stage moment until our meeting. For a short time, he seemed to think my financial EQ (emotional intelligence) was in doubt, but as the conversation progressed, we soon found ourselves on the same page.

Our conversation inspired him to look for more investment opportunities to begin the adjustment I needed in order to commit to leading a sustainable quality life which were focused on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the coming months, I will continue to unpack my journey into the importance of understanding how having a clear quality life purpose and plan can lead to significant “money confidence.” I hope you will join me on this journey that continues to be both introspective and collaborative.

Trump

Trump Family Vs. National Politics

In Part 1 of this series, we established that as a couple the President and the First Lady have undoubtedly understood how to modify their natural behavior and communication style to lead the family, work together and carry the heavy responsibility of the Presidency for the next 4 or more years.

But what of the wider family, some of whom will be actively involved in working with the President and First Lady and continuing to run the Trump Empire? What of their aspirations? How has becoming a member of the First Family of the United States altered their approach to family, life, and business?

In Part 2 we will consider the family dynamics in relation to their building a sound working relationship together. This family is unique in that it needs to have a very stable EQ. Much of what they do is not only covered by legislation, in other words, it’s Dad who is the president, not them! They are separated in terms of state and their family business. How they relate and interact with one another, remembering that every family has its own unique dynamics, will be dependent on each knowing how to manage their emotional intelligence.

This First Family will be no different to many others; they will share bonds, have a history and like most families will have tensions, disconnects, but always follow the same old adage blood is thicker than water. Like any group of people the core dynamics, that is, values, biases, culture, education, experiences, will all be part of the family dynamic.

First Family blog

Using their two strongest behavioral factors the following provides short insights into the individuals that form the Trump Family:

President Donald Trump (Influencer) He is spontaneous and moves/thinks at a fast pace. The President has a unique blend of confidence, initiative, and people skills. He will typically be able to see the larger vision and then use his superior communication skills to influence others towards accomplishing it. He will wholeheartedly invest time and effort into developing others and their personal performance towards goals, particularly strategies that he sees significant potential in.

First Lady Melania Trump (Facilitator) She is reserved and patient, much needed natural behaviors to be able to oversee the dynamics of this family and bring calmness to it. She will combine the ability to guide the family with feelings yet with the determination to reach goals and accomplish tasks. Melania’s blend of behavioral strengths makes her 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 will flourish in an environment where there is plenty of stability, group decision-making is needed, and where she is recognized for the contribution, she will undoubtedly make.

Ivanka Trump (Reflective Thinker), is structured and plans well, she is analytical, thorough, and philosophical in her search for meaning, truth, and purpose in all she does. Ivanka is particularly adept at drawing incisive conclusions from data and research. Her accuracy and precision are valuable in any group setting, and she will bring objectivity to decision-making processes. Typically, she will prefer to follow guidelines in completing tasks and will expect co-operation to be given.

Donald Trump Jr (Influencer), like his father, he is spontaneous however, he takes measured risks. He has a unique blend of confidence, initiative, and people skills. Furthermore, his father will first see the larger vision, and then use his superior communication skills to influence others towards accomplishing it. Donald Jr. will instead wholeheartedly invest time and effort into developing others and their personal performance towards goals, particularly strategies that he sees significant potential in.

Eric Trump (Adapter), is somewhat unique in that she, like all adapters, has the unusual ability to be able to adapt to the needs of their environment, and displaying whatever behaviors are necessary for success. Eric is very versatile and will generally partner and team well with others. He can generally perform well many tasks relating to achieving his goals and managing his performance and operate most effectively when he has very clearly defined expectations and boundaries.

Tiffany Ariana Trump (Engager) She will enjoy meeting new people, new situations, and new environments and will be a promoter. Tiffany will use her people skills to build relationships and interact with an ever-widening circle of contacts. She enjoys using their verbal skills and will be very outgoing. Tiffany will approach situations enthusiastically, especially when she is passionate about the outcomes, and enjoy new opportunities, and starting (rather than finishing) new projects and goals.

A Summary of the Family’s Behavioral Strengths and Struggles. Knowing these will have definitely helped the family to be successful in business, and to manage the huge transition to being the First Family.

As Family unit regardless of whether they are building the business or representing the Nation, their approach to finances is stable. They don’t squander money or make unwise business decisions that could bring the empire down. This approach is likely to be the approach the President takes as he oversees the US$.

First Family blog

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

Can Learning to Be More Rational Help You Achieve Your Goals?

There are a lot of practices and programs out in the market designed to help people achieve their goals. Some of these programs are focused on helping people to focus on being more rational in their approach. This is what is being coined the rationality movement.

One of the approaches to greater rationality being put forward is to encourage people to become aware of their emotional cues and then have a process to analyze those emotions into a library. Then designing a new action plan around the goal to be achieved or the person they want to become.

The question is whether these rationalist approaches lead to the over thinking of the decision-making process. Is it helping people to make better choices?
dna behavior, business decision-making, behavioral finance
What one has to realize is that we all have a natural hard wired DNA Behavior that is driven by our instincts which instantaneously takes over when we make decisions, particularly under pressure. The point being that it is very hard to control your natural biases when making decisions. This thinking is supported by psychologist Dr. Kahneman who won a Nobel Prize in economics for research into decision-making in 2002 by saying: Preferences come to mind and emotions arise, and were not aware that were making [decisions and assumptions] and therefore cannot control them.

Another psychologist, Dr. Stanovich from the University of Toronto concurs that these natural automatic biases cannot be removed. However, people can train themselves to slow down and question them, and learn mechanisms for managing them.

From behavioral finance research it is clear that individuals will behave irrationally and it is difficult for them to change the natural way they behave.However, they can better manage their natural DNA behavior with greater levels of emotional intelligence developed through a very high level of self-awareness and then with that a heightened ability to control themselves.

So, learning more about how you naturally make decisions and your biases, is a good starting point for making better decisions. However, given our natural instincts is not easy to do. To learn more, read this article from Angela Chen in The Wall Street Journal: More Rational Resolutions.


Hugh Massie is a Human Behavior Strategist, successful entrepreneur and a leader of the behavioral awareness revolution in businesses worldwide for unlocking human potential. He has 26 years of unique and diverse international experience in developing client centered human behavior solutions.

Visit the DNA Behavior website to learn more about managing behavior through greater self awareness.

What Do Clients Want From Their Advisor?

Often we think that clients want higher investment returns from their advisor, and therefore that defines the role of the advisor. However, research shows that clients want a relationship. This has actually been the case for a long time but the research is becoming clearly stronger all over the world in the need for advisors to develop stronger interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

What Clients Want from AdvisorsRecent Trusted Advisor Research by Professional Planner magazine in Australia demonstrates that an advisors interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are most important by 82% of the survey participants who were clients of Advisors of the Year.

Refer to the full article at: http://www.professionalplanner.com.au/research/afa-study-shows-eq-pays

There is no doubt developing your interpersonal skills grows the bottom line. In advisory business relationships are the key to revenue sustainability.

Many advisors are naturally results orientated in behavioral style and therefore naturally lower on relationships. But, the interpersonal skills can be learned with sustained effort, focus and investment. The starting point is behavioral awareness.

So, the question becomes why isnt there more sustained investment in developing the interpersonal skills and EQ of advisors? It seems there is still a strong over weighting towards technical training. When we see this change, trust in the industry will grow.

Our firm has recently been working with Advisors Ahead to deliver this type of training to financial planning students and young advisors. This is an important starting point but needs to go much further.

To learn more about how you can grow to become a behaviorally smart advisor, please visit the Financial DNA website.