Many business owners have a habit of hiring employees who are similar to themselves. This is understandable, as they want to work with people they empathize with. Or sometimes they may see a younger version of themselves in the applicant.
However, this tendency can be a mistake from a business perspective. When you’re running a business, you have an increased obligation compared with previous positions in which you only had to look out for yourself and your individual sales. Now, the livelihood of your employees and clients is in your hands.
To achieve a well-rounded operation, don’t seek only those employees who are similar to you. Instead, hire individuals who have refined skills that you lack, and then have patience to allow your team to grow. By creating a complementary team, you equip yourself to provide unmatched service, enabling you to adapt to business challenges while securing the future of those who are committed to you and your business.
The Ideal Team Grows Together
Although a well-balanced team creates an effective business, continued success depends on the growth of each individual employee. A technical employee might not see the appeal of interacting with clients, yet they will find great satisfaction in their behind-the-scenes work.
Every staff member should have the opportunity to grow in the work they enjoy doing — whether through a new opportunity within the organization or within their current role. Feeling that they’ve achieved something and are recognized for development in what they do best furthers their motivation to achieve great results.
Those who can build a team from scratch must be willing to invest time to see this growth in others. Although we’re in a culture of instant gratification, where people want success overnight, they need to put in the effort and prepare for gradual growth. For example, running a business requires building numerous essential skills in your employees, such as consistent learning, reading body language and establishing strong relationships. Fortunately, our industry and MDRT in particular have an impressive reputation for the willingness to share ideas and spend time helping others achieve success.
Make Your Clients Part Of The Team
Clients can be some of your most valuable team members. If your clients believe they are a part of your team, they will remain loyal to you. Just as growth within your team is gradual, building client trust takes time. One strategy our team uses is to show clients the work we do behind the scenes instead of simply presenting solutions.
For example, we may go to a client meeting bringing all the research in a big pile of papers with a summary sheet on top. We give the clients the option to talk through all the background research we did or to just go over the summary. Surprisingly, the client rarely wants to go through all the research! But it does make them aware of the time and thought we have put into our work. This builds their confidence in us and increases their comfort levels with us. Often as advisors, we make our jobs seem very easy because we’re good at what we do, but sometimes clients don’t know what goes on behind the scenes to get the end result. It’s really important to ensure that our work doesn’t appear effortless.
Building a foundation of trust should be based on relationships with all your staff — not just one advisor. That way, clients feel at home within your overall practice. The inevitable business move of transitioning clients to another team member can be done without tension and may even occur naturally. Perhaps you can position an administrator or paraplanner to regularly sit in on client meetings and make them available to provide answers to client questions that come up outside of meetings. This way, when your staff grows into a new role, your clients are already comfortable with the relationship and they remain loyal to your business.
Adapting To Challenges As A Team
My practice’s strong team dynamic has equipped us for the drastically changed business environment we now find ourselves in as most of us work in a virtual setting. While it’s in our nature to meet with staff or clients in person, we have quickly adjusted to video calls — thanks to our complementary skills. We maintain our collaborative spirit through daily team check-ins to discuss the challenges from the previous day and the priorities for the day ahead. Regular communication enables us to preserve our well-balanced roles within the team structure and deliver the service clients rely on.
The current situation highlights the benefits and importance of having a multidisciplined team that has the willingness to do what needs to be done and make the client the focus of everything they do. You can’t predict the challenges your business will face, but you can set up a well-balanced team that is equipped to overcome any barriers to success together.