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How to Stop Having Meetings that Should Have Been Emails

July 2019 
by Julie L. Genjac

We’ve all attended a meeting that when it was finally over, you thought to yourself, “what a waste of time–this could have been an email.”

This pitfall tends to stem from a lack of proper planning and structure for your meetings. During the slower summer months, take stock of your current meeting schedule and consider implementing a more organized structure to help your team reach its full potential. To ensure your team meetings are worth everyone’s time, try the following:

1. Daily “huddle” meeting

The 15-minute huddle meeting occurs every day, with the entire team (or as much of them are available on any given day). These quick check-ins are where you discuss the tactical, timely, daily updates that everyone should hear. That could mean a quick recap of yesterday's client meeting, a discussion about a client or back office call that happened, or a prep session for an upcoming client meeting or event.

Best practice: Have every team member stand during this meeting. It will help you avoid the common possibility of “huddling” for too long, getting too into the weeds on a given topic, and taking up too much of the team’s time.

2. Weekly “strategy” meeting

The strategy meeting occurs once per week for 30-45 minutes, and every team member should arrange their schedule to be in attendance (it should be rescheduled if more than one team member can’t be there). Every team member should have a voice in these strategic, longer-term discussions, and these meetings should be used to exchange ideas, bring up challenges, or discuss upcoming events prospecting opportunities, or marketing initiatives.

Best practice: One team member should own the calendar appointment for this meeting, as well as the agenda. This person should also be the timekeeper for this meeting and make a point to wrap the meeting at the 45 minute mark.

3. Annual “offsite” meeting

The offsite meeting is an opportunity to gather the team together out of the office for a half or full day once per year. The lead advisor (or advisors) on the team should schedule this meeting and create the agenda, and ensure that everyone is able to attend. Teams who commit to this annual offsite meeting find that their staff feels heard, respected, and truly appreciated as part of the team. The agenda should be written and distributed prior to the meeting, and should contain a mix of the following topics:

- Reflection on past year’s successes and challenges
- Discussion around the next year’s top priorities, which should be clearly documented in writing, with timelines for completion and individual team member names associated with each goal
- Strategy around marketing, investment implementation, client communication, internal team processes
- An open roundtable where each team member can express excitement, frustration or ideas

Best practice: This offsite should be something the team looks forward to, so consider including team-building challenges, a celebratory dinner, or a volunteer activity.

It may take a bit of time, but my guess is that from instituting this team meeting process, you will have a more streamlined communication process. You may find that issues are ironed out more quickly, team members bond more deeply, and, most importantly, your client service is elevated as a result of your team members functioning as a well-oiled machine.

Julie L. Genjac
Managing Director, Strategic Markets

Julie L. Genjac is a Managing Director, Strategic Markets for Hartford Funds. She works with Financial Advisors in a practice management capacity, including engaging and educating advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial services marketplace. These range from areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable giving, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Julie joined the organization in 2018. Prior to joining the company, she was senior vice president, director of practice management & professional development at D.A. Davidson & Co. Julie’s many responsibilities included the creation and implementation of all advisor coaching and training programs to enhance productivity and the client experience. She began her career at UBS PaineWebber and transitioned to become a wealth management financial planner at Wells Fargo. She is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors and is FINRA Series 7 and 66 registered. She holds her WA state insurance license and is a Certified Wealth Strategist, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, and Registered Corporate Coach.

Originally from Bellevue, Washington, Julie attended the University of Washington where she received a bachelor’s degree in economics. She currently lives in Kirkland, WA, with her husband, Nedim.

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Julie Genjac is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.

Check the background of this firm/individual on FINRA's BrokerCheck.