Do Your Kids and Pets Belong on Zoom Calls?
Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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We had a stellar year last year. Once the numbers are fully compiled, it could be the best we’ve ever had. We have celebrated and congratulated our team.
We need to look forward – what do we do to improve? How do we get advisors to sell most effectively? They have little incentive to do so, but as the leader of the firm I’m not satisfied to say we stop here.
Congratulations to you and your team. Your question is multi-pronged in that it often isn’t about “incentives” the advisors might have. But rather it is the culture you have developed and the training you’ve given them to help them continue to find opportunities and grow their businesses.
Often when advisors think they are satisfied with where they are in terms of numbers of clients you also could be facing a time-effectiveness issue. For example, with a great year comes a lot of onboarding and integration of new clients. How much of this falls on the advisor will often determine how overwhelmed they feel and how distracted they are away from finding new opportunities. They want to get these new relationships up and running and satisfied.
Because there is so much to this issue, and you are mid-way through first quarter with the meetings that likely come along with the end of the year, as well as tax planning for April, I recommend holding a couple of short Zoom meetings (assuming your team is still virtual). You could do the following:
First Zoom meeting – 90 minutes:
- Review the numbers of last year and offer another round of congratulations and enthusiasm.
- Confirm your desire to keep the momentum going and find new opportunities this year.
- Ask them what they need from you and the firm to be most successful.
- Inquire about their day– how much are they focusing on new client onboarding, existing client meetings etc.? Be open and curious about what they are doing and how they are doing it. This is to get a sense of where their time is going.
- Ask about obstacles to obtaining new business this year.
- At the end, ask everyone to consider what else the firm can be doing and capture (in writing) any take-aways or next steps.
Second Zoom meeting – 60 minutes:
- Confirm any insights or requests and let them know if you are able to provide the resources they have requested.
- If possible, provide projections and a business plan with your expectations and ask each advisor what they can do to help reach the goals.
- Talk about culture – how can you integrate support and check-ins going forward to keep the momentum going.
It’s critically important between the first and second session that you consider what issues the advisors have raised. Consider if, for example, they are working overtime to get onboarding done, you don’t want to push on new results. It’s all about timing. If you have to wait until later in the year to do this, that could be fine too – you will know your advisors and your culture best.
I have had it with people putting their cute kids to their laps on Zoom and introducing their dogs and cats on camera so we can all ooh and aah about them.
I know I sound like a frustrated old man, but I don’t have kids, or grandkids and I don’t care for pets. Sometimes in our weekly advisory group meetings we get off track with everyone doing show and tell. I have pointed this out to the woman who runs our meetings. But she doesn’t have seniority and she isn’t that direct. On a couple of occasions, she nicely asked that we stay on track. But she didn’t ask people to just stop with the nonsense.
Is this going on everywhere? Is there a way I can say something without unloading like I am in this note to you? I like my team members and I work well with them otherwise. This is getting out of hand.
Welcome to life in the virtual world! I’ve had advisors ask me about so many different things as acceptable versus unacceptable on-screen that there is a pandemic book that needs to be written.
This one is easy although I don’t think you are going to like my answer. Whenever I hear about a difficult situation with colleagues or a difficult person someone is dealing with, the first thing I want to know is impact. Is this person’s behavior creating negative impact somehow and if so, what is the negative impact?
In this case, your meeting might be derailed for a short period of time. But is there any significant impact on the team or what you are trying to accomplish? Your colleagues might need a mental break for a few minutes. Many of us are spending eight or more hours a day on screen and it gets tiring and monotonous.
Could you be annoyed but willing to roll with this diversion? You could look out the window, check your texts or otherwise disengage (without being too obvious, of course) and then when the meeting comes back on track you could come back to the discussion.
I’m going to guess, even without you having said anything publicly, your colleagues have a sense you don’t approve or enjoy this. But it is meaningful to so many of them, and they proceed anyway. Our words don’t always convey what we are thinking and feeling but our body language, tone and the way we come across even on screen definitely does.
This is one of those situations where you don’t and never will like it, but it isn’t worth causing disruption and negative feelings amongst your team members who clearly do like it and enjoy doing it.
We can’t always have things the way we want and it’s important to pick our battles. Others reading this may have a difference of opinion and I’m always open to hear feedback from our readers.
Beverly Flaxington co-founded The Collaborative, a consulting firm devoted to business building for the financial services industry in 1995. The firm also founded and manages the Advisors Sales Academy. She is currently an adjunct professor at Suffolk University teaching undergraduate and graduate students Entrepreneurship and Leading Teams. Beverly is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA).
She has spent over 25 years in the investment industry and has been featured in Selling Power Magazine and quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, Investment News and Solutions Magazine for the FPA. She speaks frequently at investment industry conferences and is a speaker for the CFA Institute.