How do we keep communication flowing freely, but efficiently? Are emails the best way? Using a spreadsheet? Your firm’s contact management software? These are all great ways to organize thoughts, but the power of a good old- fashioned conversation can be felt in a positive way. It’s amazing how the details that can’t be typed up can come to life when a team member explains them. This certainly isn’t to say that using technology to document and track conversations isn’t good, but layering on consistent team meetings in addition to those best practices can go a long way to making your team more productive and well-oiled in the end.
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 following tactical, timely, daily updates that everyone should hear, such as:
- A quick recap of yesterday’s client meetings
- A discussion about a client situation
- A back office or operational change or development
- A prep session for an upcoming client meeting
- A reminder about upcoming marketing events or holidays
Best practice: Have every team member stand during this meeting. It will help you avoid the common problem of “huddling” for too long, getting too into the weeds on a given topic, or taking up too much of the team’s time.
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. These meetings should be used to discuss topics, such as:
- New marketing ideas
- Client event/appreciation discussion
- Prospecting and business growth opportunities
- Planning for major client meetings such as existing client reviews, prospect meetings, etc.
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.
Monthly (or Quarterly) business-strategy meeting
The business-strategy meeting should be either a monthly or quarterly recurring meeting that lasts about an hour. This should be attended by the financial advisor(s) on the team, as well as any other key support staff. This meeting is intended to assess the “health” of the practice from a metrics standpoint. One person on the team should monitor the key growth measurements for the team and should come to the meeting prepared to update the group. Business metrics and growth ideas should be the focus of this meeting, and topics such as the following should be discussed:
- Growth of the practice over the last month, quarter, and year
- Net new asset discussion
- Overview of number of accounts, households, assets under management, and production
- Deep dive into any clients who left the practice—why did they leave, and what could have been done differently?
- Review of new clients who joined the practice—why did they join, and how were they sourced?
- Measure progress to team goals set during the annual planning process
- Highlight an exceptional contribution by any team member
- Document any decisions to modify annual goals based on extenuating circumstances (market performance, team member attrition, etc.)
Best practice: Do not leave the business-strategy meeting without consensus about the top one or two priorities for the team over the next month. This will help each team member understand what the most important initiatives are and will help them prioritize their time each day.
Annual Team “Offsite” Meeting (SEE SAMPLE AGENDA AND GUIDANCE) 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, 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
- Accountability systems and metrics documented for each team member
Best practice: This offsite should be something the team looks forward to, so consider including team-building activities, a celebratory dinner, or a volunteer activity.
Select one team member to “own” all future team meetings, including scheduling, agenda-building, note-taking, and communicating decisions within the team.