Picking Your Team
When it was time to play kickball, and two team captains took turns choosing who would be on their teams? Once in a while they’d choose their friends first, but usually the most talented athletes were picked first. Even at a young age, the captains knew that the skills of these other players would ultimately determine their own personal success or failure.
When it comes to the money game, once again the teammates often prove to be the key determinant between success and failure. The help from your team can have a huge influence over the many important outcomes in this high-stakes game.
So how do you go about picking your team of advisors – financial planner, attorney, accountant, etc? One word describes what we’re all looking for as we hire a professional advisor…trust. There are two essential ingredients to this greatly desired trait: Competence and Integrity. Chapter 9 of True Treasure goes into greater detail on these.
Assess Current Advisors
For those looking for a simple next step to assess and improve their team, enjoy this free Team of Advisors Assessment. It will help you think through the quality of your current professional relationships, see who might be missing from your line up, and give you a place to write notes on each. As you go through it and rank the current quality of each relationship, consider making a note about what makes the excellent ones excellent and what makes the poor ones poor. My guess is it may somehow tie back to trust.
[Examples: a professional who is highly qualified and educated with a great length of experience is still not 100% trusted if he or she fails to return phone calls. Or, a professional who is very responsive and highly intelligent, is still not 100% trusted if he or she can’t admit when additional expertise is needed.]
Improving Your Advisory Relationships
If you have a relationship that you’d like to move from good to excellent, see if more trust can be built by asking your advisor to make an adjustment to the way they interact with you. The highest quality relationships never happen by accident and always require effort. In fact, some of my best professional relationships are those that experienced conflict but we stuck with it and worked out the problems.
If it’s time to search for a new professional, who is in your network that might be able to help you find the right fit? If you already have a candidate in mind, see if you can identify competence and integrity during your initial consultation. Another idea is to see if you can try out a new professional in a small project first, without a major commitment.
Whatever your next step is to cultivate your advisory team, thinking of it more like managing relationships instead of transactions will be key. As a mentor once said to me, “You’ll only become as great as the group of people you can get to work with you and for you.”