Day 4: I have opened the cabinet where we keep snacks 5 times already this morning. There are still no cookies. I'm not sure what I expect but somehow I am disappointed each time.— John Anderson (@SEIJohnA) March 19, 2020
Across the country, many financial advisors, staff and others in the business woke up facing another day of working from home. Although it came quickly, almost out of nowhere, it seems like it is the new normal. We all seem to be resilient. We seem to be figuring it out quickly with minimal interruption to our clients. It is working.
As we are all facing some unprecedented times, I thought I would share some of the best ideas and tips that I am seeing from financial advisors and industry professionals. That was the idea when we started Practically Speaking (right after the financial crisis of 2008 – 2009) so it seems like we are coming full circle and doing it again.
Staff and you
No matter how many employees/planners you have in your office, the fact is that you are now spread out and not in the same office. The side conversations, the quick status updates and the success stories are missed, the sense of team can be lost. Starting Monday morning (my first work at home day), I started doing a daily video “check in” call with the team. As I see it, there are a few benefits:
- We start the day connecting with each other. It sets the tone for the rest of the day as professionals.
- It allows us to really connect; using video, we see each other instead of a faceless voice on the other end of a call. We smile, joke and share what we are working on, problems we face and successes we are having. We make sure that we aren’t running down the same issues or calling the same people for answers.
- We set timelines and goals for the day so we are all accountable.
Clients and you
It can’t be said enough. Over-communication is important in times like this, but personalization is key. I have seen some amazing communication from successful advisors around the country but I have seen some cold ones, too. There has to be balance between the cold numbers on things like time it takes for recovery out of a recession to the emotional toll that clients are facing such as “is it different this time?”
I have seen advisors who are sharing (video or emails) on how their office is coping with the new work at home reality. I watched a video with an advisor in his home office that went something like this:
“Rest assured that whether we are in the office or quarantining at our homes, technology enables us to meet, transact or just converse with our clients without interruption. For us, it is business not as usual by any means, but we are in constant contact with clients, staff and our partners as we navigate this together. We are still available, conversations are being had and our commitment to planning and our clients is steadfast.”
What I loved about that message was the calm leadership projected by the advisor. He went on to discuss what each of his team members was doing, as well as how he was interacting with his partners and vendors. The 2-minute video, shot on his webcam, is hosted on the firm’s site but was also blasted out via social media and emails.
This is a time where we can all come together (figuratively) to share ideas and best practices. I would love to hear from you via comments to this blog, twitter or LinkedIn. Share what is working for you – things like a letter that you wrote, a video that you sent, a conversation that you had. What is working – what didn’t work. Our new normal is keeping us in our homes for a while, why not still be part of a community?
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