Monday, January 27, 2014

Manage the talent, not the job description

Many of you are lamenting that you can’t keep up with all the new business that’s come in recently. If you’re expecting us to say admiringly, “That’s a nice problem to have,” then think again. Chances are, you’re not keeping up with the client promises you’ve made; you’re team’s getting burned out; you’re not scaling up to take on bigger and higher profile clients; and you’re probably losing opportunities to firms with deeper bench strength. Still think that’s a nice problem to have? If you stopped hiring and interviewing prospects during the downturn and you weren’t developing your staff and knowledge base internally during those dark days of 2008-2010, then you may be playing a dangerous game of catch-up just when the demand cycle is on overdrive.

Zero turnover in six years
I recently
interviewed Stephanie Drake, head of the American Hospital Association in Chicago. A human resource professional by training, Drake told me she manages talent, not job descriptions.
The person who manages our publications also handles all of our finances,” she said. “That person has a unique skill set that you can’t interview for. I want people to do their best work and utilize as many of their talents or interests as they can.”

Does this approach work? Drake’s had had no voluntary turnover in the six-plus years she’s been at the helm. That’s right, zero turnover. Drake shared another example: “Suppose you’re a marketing person and you’re interested in conference planning even though you’ve never done it before. We’ll encourage you to shadow someone in our conference planning group and try it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.”

Charles Boinske, founder of Independence Advisors  in Wayne, PA agreed. “Team development is critical. Educate them. Provide them with learning opportunities. Doing so will increase your firm’s knowledge base and lead to better results for your clients and more satisfied team members,” said Boinske, a new client of ours.

Now if you’re really committed to exponential growth, not just a few percentage points every year, then Gary Klaben, Family Manager of our client
Coyle Financial Counsel in Chicago, said the kind of people you have on the team will be attracted by a “10x” growth philosophy as well. “They’re going to be more alert, responsive and curious. And they’re going to take ownership of the business. That’s very important in wealth advisory services because there are so many moving parts and things going on that we need folks to be looking out for the best interests of the business. It’s not just a job.”

Never stop innovating

AHA’s Drake said her organization is willing to try anything at least once to see what happens. “If it serves a member need and has the potential for positive ROI, then we’ll give it a try. Our new HR professional certification program is an example of that [philosophy]” she said.  Boinske agreed that you should never stop innovating.  “I tell my staff, ‘If we dont fail periodically then, we aren't trying hard enough.’ Keep a logbook of your successes and failures and celebrate both.”

According to Klaben, if you really want to create exponential growth in your business, then you have to “pull the future toward you by embracing technology and change.”

Get your team invested in the business, not just in promotions, new job titles and bonuses. The more they feel like stakeholders in the business and less like employees, the more likely they’ll go the extra mile for you and help you bring in, develop and retain like-minded high achievers.

It’s Monday. Let’s get to work. Time to bring in all those great opportunities that you and your team deserve.

There's more on the FREE Resources page of our website.

Tags: Manage the talent not the job description, Stephanie Drake, American Hospital Association, Gary Klaben, Coyle Financial Counsel, Charles Boinske, Independence Advisors


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