Two critical questions for next year’s strategic plan, as you put in your finishing touches:
1. How will you measure your success?
2. How will you activate your goals and hit the ground running?
Metrics: Lagging and Leading Indicators*
Back in my cold-calling cowgirl days (the roaring 80s), it was 100 dials. On average, these calls yielded 28 contacts, yielding 3 appointments, yielding 1 client. Some weeks there were no appointments; some weeks there were 5 appointments. While the average seemed to hold over time, the experience of getting the result was something I had little to no control over — a lagging indicator. What I did have control over was the activity, or making the calls — the leading indicator.
I’m a committed fan to big numbers as goals for the year, whether it’s revenue, AUM, or new clients. You may fall short of overly ambitious goals, but in my experience, you will often surpass what you might have considered “achievable.” So, make the big goal numbers. But the leading indicator is where the rubber hits the road. It’s hard enough setting ambitious goals, nevermind achieving them. Make it easier on yourself by determining the activity necessary to reach them. For great examples of how to break down some common ambitious advisor goals into measurable activity you can control, check out this article from Beyond AUM.
Activators: Thrust and Ignition
In my lifetime, I have probably generated a million goals. Seriously. (The result of having the scary combination of Gallup strengths Ideation® and Achiever® at the top of the list.) I confess 999,900 of those goals are in some ethereal goals graveyard. But the 100 I’ve nailed were born of thrust and ignition. You’ve got to be ready to thrust your way through obstacles by keeping it simple, being kind to yourself, and getting clear on what might get in your way. Then you ignite the goal with the kick-off.
Keep it simple: What 2-3 things have to happen for the goal to be reached?
Be kind to yourself: Don’t commit to 10 BHAG goals; pick your top 3 or 4 for the year so that you can go deep on those and feel good about doing them well.
Get clear on the obstacles: Be prepared for the inevitable interruptions, surprises, and difficulties by articulating how you will address them in advance.
Your strategic plan is not complete until you have your kick-off planned. Now that you know what needs to happen, what’s the first thing you’ll do? Again, KISS* — it could be as simple as “make a prioritized list of the three most heinous processes that need structure and a workflow.”
You’ve got this! This is the year that it all turns around — because you focused on what you can control.
Have an amazing 2020 — the year of clarity!
*I owe this brilliant metaphor to my friend, Mary Meadows Livingston.
**KISS: Keep it simple, sister.