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Identity Conversation Takeaway: Adaptability Comes with Knowing Your Identity

Over the past few months, Hugh Massie sat down with some of the most influential consultants and entrepreneurs. Through their identity conversations, they all shared the impact DNA Behavior and knowing their identity has had on their work. We also asked Hugh some of our own questions on identity, here are our takeaways.

Adaptable, Nimble, Responsive Comes from Knowing Identity

One of the most important notions Hugh discusses with Nikki Evans during this interview is the notion of adaptability.

We are in a world today that is extremely dynamic. The foundations of the world are extremely different. The effect that technology has on our everyday life is tremendous. Our ability to connect much easier has changes the way we communicate and work together.

We are also in a world that is financially complex and extremely interconnected. Because of the constant change in our environment, the notion of adaptability is a must. We’ve seen it happened numerous times over the past years. Businesses used to last for centuries, today, they don’t even make it past a generation. Whereas many factors can contribute to it, a company that doesn’t embrace adaptability will always struggle to sustain itself.

When we speak of environmental changes, we don’t only refer to changes inside of a business, but also inside of people’s lives. And therefore the ability to flex is extremely important. Change can also be perceived as a chance to seize opportunities. As part of knowing yourself and your identity, you’d be able to take an opportunity when you see it.

In this day and age, you have to be able to make timely impactful decisions, all while knowing for sure that it is the right decision. We all have to be clear about our identity, our purpose, the impactful decisions we make in life, and how we execute them.

If we look at this on a bigger scale and from a business’s perspective, you will see that once individuals are aware of their identity and behavioral style, and able to seize the opportunities they are presented, their performance would have a tremendous impact on the business.

There’s Power in Individual and Group Identity

We’ve covered the topic of individual identity and how important to familiarise ourselves with our behavioral style. In addition to that, there is a concept of group identity and group purpose that is worth looking into.

You see, not only do individuals have an identity, groups and businesses have an identity as well. The team identity might revolve around the leader and who’s been brought up to the team, but it also can revolve around the product or service the business offers.

Although the world is moving towards a direction where it is less product-driven and more human-centered. So the business’s identity is drawn from its people.

It’s even reflected in today’s marketing efforts. The Marketing campaigns that get the most traction are the ones that address the human factor of the business and discuss founders and team members as opposed to just product and value delivered.

Final Thoughts

We’ve said it before and we will say it again. It is all about human behavior and identity. Your team, no matter the type of business that you run, has got to embrace its identity and be clear on its purpose. It is less about the bottom line and the results and more about clarity of purpose.

You see when you’re truly living your identity and your purpose the money will follow. The pursuit of money by itself may not be as fulfilling as you may think. It actually tends to be the one approach that destroys wealth instead of preserving it.

Unlocking the Power of DNA Behavior

Over the past few months, Hugh Massie sat down with some of the most influential consultants and entrepreneurs in the financial and behavioral space. What do they all have in common? They’ve been exposed to DNA behavioral’s insights and unlocked its power to move their businesses forward.

When Kenyatta Turner from Freedom Empire Consulting took the Business DNA assessment a few years ago, she had already been on the growth and personal development path. The DNA Behavior assessment brought her not only clarity but the validation that it was time to step away from a career path that no longer served her long-term goals and embrace her true passion.

When Kim Curtis from The Wealth Legacy Institute and Hugh first met, she was seeking to have deeper and more meaningful relationships with her clients, beyond the money factor. So when she was introduced to the DNA Behavior tool, she realized exactly what she was missing. She first took the assessment herself to understand her particular skill sets, then implemented it in her business and her relationships with her clients.

Through her years of experience, Robyn Clay from Linktank realized that being a technology integration expert is similar to being an interpreter. Your role is to facilitate the use of technology by the team. With the support for DNA Behavior’s insight, her competitive advantage has been her strategic approach in connecting people and technology.

The power of DNA is incontestably real. It gives you and your team the strategic advantage you need to move your business forward. If you’re ready to stop the guessing game and leverage our 500+ insights, take our assessment today and let’s uncover your behavioral style.

Capitalize on ESG Investing Via Your Tech Stack

– First Published on Nasdaq –

The 1990s introduced “the triple bottom line” as a measure of the integrity and sustainability of a business. Investors wanted to know their money was doing something meaningful, understanding that the “triple” in question is profit, people and the planet. The concept evolved into Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) and is increasingly mainstream, less niche.

In fairness, the ’90s didn’t have the technology to support ESG. But now advisors can have validated information at the touch of a button, if they have first invested in tech and data (gathering). For instance, today’s advisors can have a client complete a simple, scientifically validated questionnaire that reveals essential information. This enables the advisor to make accurate, appropriate investment suggestions that match the client personality and risk tolerance, as well as their ESG inclinations.

In support of such, every financial advisory business has some form of tech stack. If it’s easier, think of it as the data ecosystem – all of the tech the firm invests in. Still, not everyone has a plug-in that leverages that tech stack by revealing important behavioral data on clients or delivers behaviorally focused scripts on guiding clients. For those without such, tech makes such a plug-in easily accessible, without reinventing the existing tech stack.

Amp up advice with tech

Connecting technology with financial advice and behavior enables advisors to work more effectively with people.

Tech stacks that match clients to advisors and not just safeguard against advisors putting clients into high-risk or low-risk investments can help advisors fully appreciate what ESG means to clients. Behaviorally understanding clients and taking a figurative walk in their shoes is always beneficial in other ways too. This is when a financial advisor and client can truly develop a solid partnership with a mutual view of the world (including as it pertains to ESG investment needs).

Talking recently to a colleague about this very subject, I was interested to learn that a large gap often exists in the tech capability of firms and the very financial advisors who want and need real-time nudging data on and for clients. While advisors are struggling to keep all the balls in the air, my colleague’s firm steps into the gap to work with advisors to understand the tech stack at their fingertips, so they can use it effectively. (And why not maximize that tech investment?).

One such area: Understanding the client’s need to invest in ESG businesses. What’s behind the “whys,” among other questions. Is it to feel good, look good or to genuinely see such an approach delivering not only wealth creation but a quality life?

For advisors to listen and understand the behavioral shift in investors (their clients!), they need to better connect people to technology and business requirements in order to get investors to accurately connect. (That’s where the aforementioned discovery questionnaire pays dividends.) This enables advisors to deliver targeted advice that satisfies ESG requirements for the investor.

An advisor’s most significant impact must surely be in connecting – via technology – investor feelings to the investment strategy that matches their emotions and still creates the wealth they require for life goals. When advisors get this right, it delivers an incredible capacity to bring about positive change in investors’ lives.

THAT is the bigger picture of the advisor-client relationship – and one that is easy to lose sight of, when focusing on the proverbial trees.

Where ESG comes from, is going…

The shift toward ESG doesn’t always come from an analytical brain; more often it originates from feelings. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we are all taking time to consider the next season of our lives, including what we will focus on. What we might do differently.

Thus, savvy advisors are alert to the market for ESG-based investing as it becomes both increasingly popular and more complex, primarily due to upcoming regulatory and compliance changes.

Even now, there are indications that all providers of financial products must consider client ESG preferences when deciding and advising the suitability of investments. Firms and advisors who have already invested in tech that fosters tailored, behaviorally focused client and portfolio management are ahead of that curve – already meeting or exceeding standards that have not even been implemented yet.

In-depth data at an advisor’s fingertips is what this market demands, especially when it comes to popular niches like ESG investing. Advisors can provide more informed, focused and client-specific client guidance. On the flip, clients can make more informed, less-stressful investment decisions, while also seeing that they are part of a process in which they are “seen” and heard and which they can be confident is transparent.

These are some of my insights regarding ESG and technological solutions; I’d love to hear your insights on the same.

ESG Investing: A Match for Post-Pandemic Outlook

– First Published on Nasdaq –

Interest in ESG investing has risen significantly in recent years. So, what is it?

ESG represents Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance factors as a measure of sustainability and social impact of an investment. It’s intended as another “lens” investors and advisors may want to use, alongside, not usurping, financial factors.

For years, ESG issues were a secondary concern for investors. It was often seen as “alternative” or nice to have but not mainstream. Sometimes not even taken seriously. Increasingly, clients are initiating ESG conversations.

One of the reasons may be that ESG investing has been shown to potentially present the greatest opportunity for portfolios. No longer an esoteric offering, financial advisors could well fall behind and lose clients if they fail to identify what issues are important to clients and help them build their portfolio in a way that reflects their values.

Add to that the fact that people have been very reflective during the pandemic; thus, many are beginning to see how various aspects of their lives – including their investments – line up with their values. ESG investments may be one of the answers for which they are searching.

Leverage conversation, technology

Many advisors are accustomed to having conventional conversations with their clients, without knowing those clients at a deeper level. Don’t be tentative or judgmental: Have the conversations to establish if and where clients fit in terms of ESG investing. Some will have base knowledge of the topic; others will appreciate a succinct ESG tutorial.

Advisors may not even realize that some of their clients are already researching companies’ records on environmental sustainability, social responsibility and governance (think transparency and accountability). Other clients may not know ESG investing is not just a nice-to-have approach, but can be a genuine, productive metric of investment potential and returns.

How can technology and data facilitate these conversations? Tech and data provide advisors and analysts with information about companies worthy of investment. It delivers data to advisors based on verified performance, demonstrating that companies worthy of investment are genuinely ESG compliant and are not just one of the in-name-only players.

Better still, tech and data can help advisors and even investors themselves understand the decision-making behaviors of investors. Especially as we come out of pandemic lockdown, in which everyone is increasingly comfortable with remote interactions, advisors need to have behavioral insights at their fingertips. As we all work “leaner,” insights provide an edge for advisors and firms committed to rethink and reshape how they deliver wealth management advice in our rapidly changing world.

Broaching ESG option

The real challenge for many financial advisors is that they aren’t sure how to have ESG conversations with clients. Many might feel asking about a person’s commitment, or not, to environmental and social issues is fraught with landmines. And, if advisors have not done their homework, they could be left flat footed as they genuinely do not know which companies are worthy of ESG investing.

So, how can advisors avoid the potential pitfalls of discussing ESG with clients? Like so many life conversations, such a discussion flows best when each contributor to the exchange understands their inherent behavior. (Again, with tech and data informing both the advisor and client perspectives and their “take” on each other.)

Communication style

An advisor whose style is to converse with authority and who has a strong drive to reach goals and deliver results, may suggest investment opportunities in industries compliant with ESG, where returns are likely to be significant…but they also may fail to “hear” their client.

A colleague recently shared the story of an interaction he had with a former advisor: When the colleague-client noted to his advisor that he did not want to invest in certain types of companies (decidedly not ESG ones and which differed from his core values), the advisor responded, “Well, I guess you are not interested in returns.”

Not only is that untrue of most ESG investments, that kind of response shuts down communication, damages the relationship and likely negatively affects success for both advisor and client. Having tech- and data-driven behavioral insights in hand could have changed the trajectory of things for both client and advisor.

On the flip, a client who is reflective and needs time to research and consider options and who would prefer to invest in a low-return investment but with a business who has a greater commitment to ESG, could feel pressured and withdraw from the conversation. So, again, understanding a client’s innate approach and reactions to stress and money decisions, as well as how they best communicate and are communicated to, could have brought alignment, understanding and, most importantly, productive communication to this scenario.

The time for ESG is now

With “behaviorally smart” tech and data integrated into their other systems, an advisor can, at the touch of a button, have real time information in front of them to understand client behavior, bias, and decision-making and communication style. This enables a higher level of advisor-client compatibility – and that’s the road to success.

Likewise, behavioral data gathering tools deliver practical insights so advisors can understand which clients they have significant behavioral differences with. It also would offer insights into how best to manage the differences. Ex: How and when do I communicate with this client to maximize outcomes for all parties involved?

In all communication exchanges, adapting behavior to relate to another person requires concentrating more on a level of self-awareness. There is no doubt ESG investing is delivering a huge shift in emphasis to financial markets and curious investors.

In a more reflective, post-pandemic world, more investors are looking to be part of global environmental and social solutions, working when they can with organizations that get things right on governance. These investors expect their advisors to be on top of their game in terms of understanding what they the client are trying to achieve. Knowing how to have the corresponding dialogue with them on ESG issues creates a win-win.

Financial services businesses that invest in tech stack solutions that provide tools to support ESG investing will be significantly more successful than their competitors. Not only will they be known for the proactive, positive impact they are having on society, they will undoubtedly enhance their organization’s long-term financial value and build client wealth in line with client wishes and, by nature, the greater good.

Identity Conversation with Hugh – Connector of Technology to Feelings

Being a technology integration expert is similar to being an interpreter. Your role is to facilitate the use of technology by the team. This is the topic Hugh Massie and Robyn Clay discuss in this Identity Interview.

Robyn Clay is a director and chief relationship officer with Linktank, which is a technology integration business working in the financial services industry in Cape Town, South Africa.

A Healthy Marriage: Human Advisor Plus AI for Your Tech Stack

– First Published on Nasdaq –

Human interaction deprivation really is a thing. Never before have people all over the world been subjected to various forms of isolation, including lack of human interaction or touch.

As the months of the global pandemic drag on, I’ve been thinking about that and about what life will look like after this forced experiment in deprivation.

For one, businesses the world over will need to recover and build resilience for the future, and many are looking to do so by using lessons learned during the pandemic. This approach will help future-proof them, at least to some degree, while also delivering innovation that drives business.

If nothing else, this pandemic “season” has highlighted the importance of people. Without the human ability to change and find new ways of working, many enterprises would have failed. I bet you know myriad examples of people pivoting and adapting well during this challenging time.

My financial advisor proposes…AI

The age of AI – artificial intelligence – fascinates me. To date, I’ve envisioned automation replacing people. But over these past months I’ve been considering where the balance between machines and humans should reside.

Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate but there are indeed times I want to deal with a person. I want to know that those who provide me with a service want to get to know me as an individual. I don’t want to be just captured data!

My financial advisor was recently telling me about a new focus his firm is taking in terms of delivering financial advice. He demonstrated a feature that helped him know what types of conversations to have with me during market volatility. These new features enable the firm’s tech stack to create an even more personalized experience for me as an investor-client.

If I opted in, it would require me to complete a quick questionnaire, the outcomes of which would give my advisor an in-depth connection beyond the screen. That is, insight to many aspects of my financial personality.

Behavioral tech stack evolution

Armed with insightful data, my advisor would have a window into my reactions to market volatility and he would be prompted, if need be, to connect with me to ensure I’m sticking to my life goals around wealth creation and not panicking and selling or rushing to buy more, more, more. It also would provide him with insight into how much guidance and support I needed from him, or not, how best to communicate with me, and more.

This coming together of AI and human interaction would go a long way toward providing me with a personalized service – without taking anything from the fast, automated experience we all now expect. In fact, it would enhance that.

My test run with this new approach demonstrated how efficiently technology can provide these insights, further enabling my advisor to deliver the unique service and service-delivery to which I am naturally inclined. In this way he could provide highly individualized service to every client.

And lest you think that is just an “extra” – a public relations or customer service gimmick – pause to realize that his advice and my receipt of his advice would literally be improved. That’s not just a client feeling better about their advisor relationship; that’s a client getting better advice, processing it to maximum benefit and realizing the results…right there in their portfolio.

People still matter!

Ultimately, there are many considerations about the impact of automation, not the least of which will be including our wish to interact with others (or not!). When tech stacks contain behavioral data – information that goes to the core of who I am, including how I wish to be interacted with – there can be a happy, healthy marriage between tech stacks and humans.

There also is significant data that the one-two punch of stellar human advice aided by behaviorally smart AI provides strong ROI. The advisor, firm, client and client’s accounts all benefit.

When financial advisors have access to my financial personality, my financial motivations, pressure points and bias, their approach and service can genuinely be tailored. So, no, AI is not supplanting humans. Instead, having AI as part of your tech stack supercharges the advisor and what he or she can provide clients.