Failure to Follow Through

Having a certain conviction or being pre-occupied and captivated by your own potential success is exhilarating! Success is achievable, when you’ve setout to achieve something that is measurable...

Every Advisor has a blueprint for success that they’ve either created, borrowed from a mentor or perhaps even emulating a senior Advisor. While not always a magic bullet formula for establishing the largest most profitable Advisory practice, these blueprints or road maps can be extremely valuable to chart a pathway for success. Especially in the earlier years, Advisors that follow a blueprint, tend to be more focused, disciplined and are more likely to achieve stability at an earlier point than others that take a shot gun approach to grow or being left to re-invent the wheel and pave a new path by pursuing uncharted approaches to grow.

Entrepreneurs and the Leader Board Culture

One very unique trait that is common in the Wealth Management segment is that Advisors tend to be very entrepreneurial, they have big ambitions, and an incredible desire to win, their aspirations are often fueled even further by a cultural at many firms to inspire collegial competitiveness, celebrate their superstars and disavow low producers through internal leader boards. This leader board culture sets a dangerous precedent and can often lead to toxic environments, creating enormous pressure and in some cases unrealistic expectations.

The truth is that while, the acclamations are well deserved by successful Advisors, it only showcases a small part of the journey. On the surface earning internal recognition in the form of Chairman’s Council or President’s Club awards, or perhaps being recognized as a top Advisor in industry publications are incredible and worthwhile achievements. This level of visibility is something that many crave. However, under the surface, what is less visible and often underappreciated (because of a punch drunk leader board culture) is the sacrifices, failures, doubts, criticism, multitude of disappointments, the persistence, hard work, late nights, focus, creating and building.

In almost every case, at the top of the leader board, there’s often an Advisor who is polished and perceived to have his stuff together - perhaps great dedicated staff, sophisticated marketing, differentiated high value service offerings, even an elegant website about the team’s bespoke investment offerings and extraordinary services, along with a long listing of firm and industry accolades. These Advisors dress premium, the live premium lives, drive premium cars, take premium vacations, eat at premium restaurants… you get the picture.

Every other Advisor on the leader board strives for this level of perfection. They make it seem so easy, but its not the full picture and they are the only ones with intimate knowledge of what it truly takes to get to the top of the leader boards, these Advisors deserve the lifestyle they’ve earned, because they are prepared to follow through, they are the ones who follow their blueprints, with discipline. Success is hardly ever achieved without major setbacks or failures and major sacrifices.

Unlimited Supply of Ideas

Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.
– Ashleigh Brilliant

What is it that really differentiate successful Advisors from the rest of the pack?

It’s certainly not a lack of ideas, in some sense there’s an enormous amount of resources available to every Advisors today, something called the internet. Technology offers incredible access to information, marketing resources, new techniques and tools, perhaps even how to guides. Every Advisor has equal access to this massive resource.

We believe that there’s a simple explanation why some Advisors are able to move ahead faster and gain tremendous success while others fall behind or in some case never muster enough momentum to ever have a chance at success.

It’s a Motivation to Follow Through, Not Ideas

Don’t be afraid of new ideas. Be afraid of old ideas. They keep you where you are and stop you from growing and moving forward. Concentrate on where you want to go, not on what you fear.
– Anthony Robbins

The differentiating factor is not ideas, it’s having motivation to follow through. Motivation is important, it is the inner driving force to keep every individual engaged in their mission. The dilemma faced by many here is what they focus on when they look at other successful Advisors - only the end product. Without having a full appreciation for the other significant elements critical to achieve this success.

Two of those elements are - the ability to stay motivated and the second is staying organized around firm intentions, a concept that you originate, design and are resolved on executing, your blueprint.

Staying motivated to completing any task can be vastly more difficult than simply starting, particularly when the pathway is unclear or undefined. Often the added burden or distraction of other life events can lead us to question our abilities, our motivations or even the end goals. This reaction is typically underestimated, overlooked and adds excessive complexity to achieving the outcome you’re after.

Having a blueprint is critical to achieving your growth, its one way to set a clear path and controlled parameters around your activities, which equates better prioritization, and better probabilities in your favour.

One reason some Advisors quit pursuing a certain strategy, while others are able to achieve meaningful success is - “the difference in the motivation that is fueling their pursuits”.

Psychological studies reveal that there’s a certain sustainable motivation that is well established in some, and supported by clear defined priorities and objectives, but also supported by significant emotional ties to the desired outcome. This intrinsic motivation is far more sustainable than external influences, the most sustainable are selfish and selfless motivations factors, that is self interest and /or concern for others. Together these two factors can propel the highest levels of personal performance.

But perhaps, having a good blueprint and being motivated also creates structure, a purpose, instills belief in your own intent, it also forces your activities to be specific and organized around the initiatives that allows you to initiate and craft your very own game plan. It creates a sense of ownership that relies solely on your innovations, your own system, you own strategies, outcomes that aligns with your personal situation, every accomplishment is meaningful to you at a very personal level.

This is what the successful Advisor is able to feel along the way that stands behind all of the recognition and accolades, their setbacks, doubts and fears, this structure supports better outcomes.

Follow Through

Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.
– Nolan Bushnell

Having a certain conviction or being pre-occupied and captivated by your own potential success is exhilarating!

Success is achievable, when you’ve setout to achieve something that is measurable, and perhaps it is this level of simplicity that many high performers view their approach, that and some guiding principals -

  1. Create and Follow a Blueprint

  2. Stay Focused - its easy to get distracted by the endless streams of data that come your way as an Advisors, while interesting, in reality its a major distraction, a considerable portion of the data we consume is of now material consequence in our lives, instead its a colossal distraction and waste of our limited resources.

  3. Be cognizant of the elements that influence your intentions - is there complete alignment with your personal values and mission

  4. Take a Calculated Approach - identify and understand potential impediments on your way, be prepared with alternative arrangements, what’s the worst case scenario, can you work to improve that outcome. When faced with a stumbling block consider this -

    • Can you control the outcome

    • Can you influence the outcome

    • Is it a situation that have neither control nor influence over, if so move on

  5. Incentivize Yourself - establish specific milestones in your blueprint, and align these with personal incentives, its added motivation to achieve small outcomes

Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.
– Andre Malraux

The Bottom Line

To use the poker analogy, every Advisor is playing the same game of poker, it’s an exciting game for all, some of the players understand that its all about risk management, they have a clear sense of the pathway to a win.

They know when its appropriate to increase their wagers or even when to go all in, and when to fold early. At the early stages much like poker the stakes are low the ante, everyone gets a shot. This is a critically important stage, the first round gets you in the game, Advisors with a game plan may choose to ante up if they feel they have an advantage, or just fold and wait for the next round.

In the first round, you get to see your cards, i.e. understand your platform, management & administration, the resources available to you, you get to decide on the markets you want to pursue. You gain a sense of the competition and the general landscape.

As you learn about your environment, the target markets that aligns with your expertise, you decide whether you want to see “the flop”. At this point you’ll need to invest in the business. If you don’t like your cards, i.e. don’t think you can make it in the business or don’t like your platform etc., its best to fold, cut your losses, preserve your sanity and capital. Wait for another deal.

Like poker, you always have to consider whether you have alignment to move ahead or lay low until the right opportunity comes along. You also have opportunities along the way to re-focus and cut your losses.

If you’re patient and your approach is well aligned you can get to three or four rounds, as you get more comfortable playing and your hand strengthen, its easier to increase your bets and take on bigger initiatives, like making bigger bets each round.

Smart Advisors, like smart poker players often take small calculated bets in the early stages to gain experience and understand the other players, with experience they move bigger, faster but still under a well aligned, calculated path.

Unlike poker, there’s no bluffing in Wealth Management, it just does not work, if you have a bad hand, i.e. no blueprint, poor platform, unorganized practice, poor service levels, etc. you simply cannot bluff your way to success.

One advantage, unlike poker is that you have an opportunity to improve your outcome if you re-organize, become focused, implement a plan and follow through!


The Chairman’s Council |  Master Advisor

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