Strategic Planning- Implementing Your Vision With the Right People and Positions

In the previous blog, we talked about creating a vision for your firm by answering eight questions to help clarify your vision.  In this post we will discuss some ideas for getting the right people in your firm to help carry out your vision.

We all know that having the right people in the organization is critical to building a successful organization.  As Jim Collins stated in his book, Good to Great, it comes down to getting the right people in the right seats. But what does that mean, and how does an organization go about getting the “right people” and make sure that they are in the “right seats?”

Let’s tackle the “right seats” question first.  When your staff is in the right seats, they are working in a position in your organization that utilizes their greatest skills, abilities, and passions.

The skills, abilities, and passions of your employees or potential employees is often a little easier to identify, so let’s begin here. The passion of your employee or potential employee is likely evident in that they have been in the financial advisory field for a number of years.  Presumably, they enjoy working with people and with numbers.  If you are hiring someone for an administrative position, have they come from a similar position or industry that also has required client service or office operations? Their greatest skills can be found by previous positions they have held.  What were their accomplishments?  Are they more client facing people (advisors, client service), more systems and process oriented (operations, research), or a combination (Portfolio Manager).

To gauge a current or prospective  employee’s unique abilities or qualities,  a number of “personality tests” like the Kolbe A, Personalysis, or Profiles XT can be administered to see how well the candidate’s skills, unique abilities and unique qualities fits with a particular position.

You can further identify the right people for your organization by finding individuals who share your core values- those you identified at the beginning of your strategic planning process.  As Gino Wickman, points out in his book Traction when describing the role of a leader in an organization, “Your job is to hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize all of your people around core values and Unique Abilities®.  That’s the way to build an organization with all the right people in the right seats.”

The Unique Abilities® mentioned above was created by Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach, Inc.  Dan is a business and entrepreneur coach who works with, among other industry professionals, financial advisors.  While I won’t get into the details of Unique Ability® in this post, it is a very useful tool for you and your staff to identify what type of skills you possess.  There is also a book titled Unique Ability, Creating the Life You Want, by Catherine Nomura, Julia Waller, and Shannon Waller which is based on the concepts developed by Dan.  In it, the authors help the reader identify their Unique Ability®.  When you and your staff are in positions where you are using your Unique Ability®, you have identified the correct seats.

The “seats” in your organization are the functions and roles on your organization chart.  A simple way to create the organization chart for your firm is to answer this question: What organizational structure allows my firm to move forward in the next six to 12 months? While you may want to look out a little further to try to decide what your firm will look like, keeping it to six to 12 months will help you focus on the immediate needs to drive the business forward. Many of the needs in the next six to 12 months will be very similar to your needs further into the future.

When creating the organization chart, create the structure first based on functions and roles in the firm. Don’t worry about putting names of current employees on the functions.  It is initially more important to map the functions and roles and who they will report to. Once the structure is set up, and from what you have learned above about yourself and your staff about the “right people” and the “right seats,” you can begin placing people in positions in the organization structure based on their strengths, abilities and interests.

In the next post, we will discuss some additional points to consider regarding positions and structure to get your firm to the next level.

Build your business wisely.

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