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The Three Tanks That Drive Exceptional Performance: Time, Energy and Attitude

Jun 4, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

By Paul Blease, Director of CEO Advisor Institute for OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

Ken Podel
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Ken Podel

In the first episode for Season 2 of Practice Makeover, it appears that Ken is grappling with the "E-Myth”. This is the concept articulated by the legendary Michael Gerber, which stands for the "entrepreneurial myth": that because you have a "technical skill" (a doctor that knows medicine, an attorney that knows the law or a financial advisor that knows how to manage financial assets) you also have the miraculous ability to actually manage and grow a business. If this were true, where in med school do they actually teach doctors to build, manage and grow their practices? What about attorneys, CPAs or financial advisors? The vast majority of their educational and training experiences are designed to help them develop, hone and refine their technical skills, and to quote the famous Jerry Seinfeld "not that there's anything wrong with that". Ironically, a business that is poorly structured and systemically weak can do great harm to both the practitioner and ultimately their clientele.

When you walk into the office each morning, you have 3 tanks that are relatively full. Within these tanks you have:

  • -As much Time as you're going to get throughout the rest of the day

  • -Your Energy level as high as it will be throughout the rest of the day

  • -And your Attitude is as good as it's going to be throughout the rest of the day

How you structure your personal and professional life will dissipate those 3 Tanks very rapidly or more judiciously throughout your day.

Professionally: when an advisor steps into a business with weak or nonexistent systems, little or no technological efficiency and too many disparate clients to effectively engage and manage, it becomes quickly overwhelming. It dissipates:

  • -Time: because without specific systems and processes you are constantly reinventing the wheel one client at a time, which is highly inefficient.

  • -Energy: because all of your mental energy is going into that reinvention of the wheel rather than thinking creatively and proactively about both your clients needs and the long-term evolution and growth of your practice.

  • -Attitude: because you create massive amounts of frustration and stress by spending human capital on what should be handled by an automated series of processes, procedures, systems and technologies.

Personally: we all come equipped with different strengths and weaknesses, talents and passions, skills and experiences. When we play to those strengths, we tend to experience tremendous success. When we do things for which we have no talent, skills, experience or passion it dissipates:

  • -Time: because we tend to procrastinate those things and even when we get around to doing them it takes us forever, because we're simply not that good at them.

  • -Energy: because it takes greater discipline and concentration to "play to our weaknesses" and this invariably saps our energy very quickly.

  • -Attitude: because doing those things for which we have no talent is extraordinarily frustrating.

Like many top financial advisors Ken is a "savant" when dealing with his clientele both personally and professionally because it plays right into the sweet spot of his talent and passion. But like all sole practitioner's that reach Ken's level of productivity, the complexity of the business is becoming overwhelming. The fundamental challenge of a sole practitioner is being forced to wear multiple “hats” throughout the course of their business day (the portfolio management hat, the client service hat, the financial planning hat, the rainmaker hat, the administrative and operational hat etc. etc.) and most of those hats simply don't fit! Once a business reaches a certain size, the level of complexity requires the formation of a synergistic team. Ken's practice has reached that point. Having someone to build and manage both his financial planning and client service structure and systems will not only allow him to better serve his existing clientele but to have the capacity to dramatically grow his practice.

Watch the exciting first episode of Practice Makeover Season 2 below!

When I'm asked by financial advisers, "when should I form or join a team"? I give them the same counsel I gave my three children when they asked, "when should I get married"? There are three variables: the right person, for the right reason, at the right time. For Ken it is the right time (his business has grown too complex to continue as a sole practitioner), for the right reason (he clearly understands his strengths and weaknesses both personally and structurally) now all he needs to find is the right person (someone whose strengths in organization, systems, technology, planning and service complement his strong entrepreneurial, interpersonal and solutions based strengths). For a more in-depth discussion of these three variables please refer back to Practice Makeover Season 1 Episode 2.

These views represent the opinions of OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are as of the date of this presentation and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.

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