A Lesson for Advisors from Tiger Woods
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Advisors have at least one thing in common with great athletes. Failing to acknowledge and correct a glaring weakness in their skill set will lead to their undoing.
Consider Hank Haney, who is one of the most successful golf instructors of all time.
He is famous for coaching Tiger Woods over a six-year period in the 2000s when Tiger won six majors and recorded 31 PGA tour wins.
That stretch (before his personal problems and major injuries) put Tiger in the Golf Hall of Fame and ranked him among the best golfers in history.
Haney’s biggest teaching point to Woods, which had the greatest impact on his score and led to the most wins, was to avoid the “big miss.” (This is documented in Haney’s book, The Big Miss.)
For Woods, avoiding a big slice or hook off the tee at the wrong time kept him away from double and triple bogies on a single hole, which was often the difference between winning and losing a tournament.
Yes, Tiger had all the shots in the bag and the drive, focus, and athleticism of a Michael Jordan or LeBron James, but identifying and correcting his biggest weakness helped him improve his game, scoring, and put him in the winners’ circle.
In Tiger’s case, one of his strategies was to master an alternative to a driver that sacrificed some distance off the tee but was almost guaranteed to put him in the middle of the fairway on difficult driving holes.
So how can financial advisors take the lessons of the big miss and not just up their golf game but up their advisor game?
A very common “big miss” in advisory practices
For many advisors, the big miss is a lack of a plan for their practice.
By plan, I don’t mean having a weekly schedule of client meetings or a client engagement model. Most advisors organize their client service delivery and their meeting schedule in some way.
But based on industry surveys as well as my firm’s surveys over the years, only one in three advisors has a marketing or growth plan.
In other words, do you have a comprehensive PLAN (all caps intentional) that will improve your score?
Here are some questions to answer to make sure you have a comprehensive plan in place that focuses your efforts, your time, your practice improvements, and how you will keep score.
- Who are your “A” or ideal clients and why?
- What is your ideal week, how will you spend your time?
- What actions do you and your team members need to take consistently?
- What processes will you leverage or create to accomplish your goals?
- What resources are essential to reaching your objectives?
- What technologies can you use to improve your practice and track your progress?
- How will your hold yourself and others accountable to your plan?
- How will you keep score? (Number of clients, fees or assets under management, hours worked per year, number of new clients acquired this year, profitability of the practice, personal income, valuation of practice?)
- What is the ultimate goal or next plateau for the practice and how will you get there?
Articulate and work towards your goals for this year that, if accomplished, will mean you experience a winning year.
Sports in general and in golf in particular are excellent at giving feedback and keeping track of your score and results.
The important metrics you track in your practice should offer motivation and feedback.
What is your personal big miss?
Let’s say you have a plan for your practice but the big miss that is holding back you and your practice is a personal weakness.
- you spend too much time with certain clients or on some low-value activities.
- you need to make a key hire of an employee or consultant but have been reluctant to do so.
- you are great manager or skilled at managing clients but the overall practice needs your leadership skills to take it to the next level.
- you are too comfortable inside the office but need to get outside to drive sales or business development.
- you are reluctant to systematize a major area of the practice like new client development, client meetings, or client communications.
Even the best at their profession, like Tiger Woods, have weaknesses that hurt their career.
Your big miss may be holding you back from the success you desire or from taking your practice to the next level.
Rather than accepting or ignoring your big miss, shine a light on it and develop a comprehensive set of strategies to correct or compensate for it.
Don’t hesitate to hire outside teachers or consultants to work on that key weakness.
It may improve your “score” or put you in the winners’ circle more often.
Bob Hanson is the co-author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. Get his new video, 7 Marketing Secrets of Highly Successful Advisors here.