Designing Elegant Systems

Tactical plans to help you perform beautifully

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kristine Hartland

​Email Kris
Associate Business Consultant


 - Marketing
 - Advisor Coaching 
 - Growth Programs
 - Tax Strategy & Planning


You have been looking at the big picture through the framework of your business plans and your goals for 2019. Now it’s time to get tactical. We will begin with clarifying what we mean by designing elegant systems, then give you an example of processes that help make a difference. Finally, we will invite you to identify regular routines in your practices that are currently clunky, so we can help you make them more elegant.

Elegant systems are processes and procedures that flow smoothly, are beautifully designed, seamless and easy to execute. There are many examples of what we are referring to in your daily workflow:


  • Scheduling Appointments
  • Data Gathering
  • Preparing for a Client Meeting
  • Creating Your Investment Recs
  • Executing Trades


If the process is beautifully designed, seamless and easy to execute, you can have peaceful productivity. This is how we want to help you reach your goals for 2019. Without taking time to assure you have good systems in place, it is awkward trying to reach new heights of success.

Let’s select one relatively simple but sometimes graceless process and see if we can take it from difficult to divine.

Process: Gathering Client Data

Sample Situation: The process begins after the first meeting with the client. They come in for a second meeting and inevitably leave something out. Often the goals they share are not well thought out and lack the specificity required to create a true plan. There are even times when a plan is completed with data still missing, and we have to work around it. The process can drag out so long that there is a disconnect between what they shared in the first meeting and what they are thinking when they come in for the
plan delivery. They may even doubt the number they gave you for their expenses or suggest something is missing from their net worth.

Problem: Some clients are really organized and good at getting data. They may be future-oriented and clear about what their retirement and other goals look like, but others struggle with this. Can we make it easier for them? Or us? Can we make it more fun?

Elegant System:  

Begin asking for information before they even come in for the first time. For instance, you can say, “You do not have to bring in any information, but if you would like to enhance the value of our meeting feel free to bring as much of the checklist as you are comfortable with.”



Simplify the process as much as possible, but not so that the data is not complete. Here are some possible steps:


PREP FOR THE PMM INTERVIEW:

(for example only, there are several variations of elegant systems)

  • Introductory Email – "We are delighted to have set aside 60 to 90 minutes for you on x date for you (and other party).

    To make this meeting as informative and productive as you wish, I am providing a complete checklist of what would be needed to prepare a comprehensive financial plan for you, should you engage our services. Feel free to bring in whatever you wish to this initial meeting."

    The list should be beautiful, clear and not repeating anything you already know about them.
  • Digital Data via Total View - "Should you decide at this meeting to set up an initial account with us, we will be able to provide access to Total View. An integrated listing of all your assets and liabilities, updated daily in one place. Should you choose this, it will assure all your positions and values are up to date. Bring your access information for your accounts."
  • Goals and Objectives – Link to a worksheet or website that gives them examples and ideas and will clarify what information should be included to allow you to create the pathway from where they are to their desired outcome.   


DURING THE PMM INTERVIEW:

  • Use the data checklist to acknowledge what they have brought in. Highlight anything missing. Agree on a date and method for them to provide the additional data.
  • Share the timeline for your process. Consider whether it is too short or too long. Be flexible to what is going on with the client but be clear that receipt of the data is the trigger for the timeline to begin.
  • Make copies while the PMM Interview is taking place if they permit you to do so. This allows them to leave with originals and gives you the chance to go over more of the specifics following the meeting so that the conference doesn’t run too long.


AFTER ENGAGEMENT:

  • Follow up on due dates. Also be sure that you follow up and meet any due dates on your part. This sets a tone for the manner in which you do business. Often the client will follow your lead.
  • Provide a net worth and cash flow statement back to the client before finalizing the plan to be sure the numbers look right to them. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking a client has a $2,000 discretionary income and having them disagree with the expenses they provided and say they do not have any excess income to invest.



While this does not guarantee an organized, thorough, condensed or truly elegant process, it sets you up for a better chance of success. Some of you already have this type of system and might need to work on another area. 

The point is that when you match elegant systems with a trained and engaged team, you can achieve extraordinary results. A natural beginning to move from clunky to elegant is to look at those things that are frustrating you in your daily routine. Particularly if they are key activities for your role, list them out and see which one will make the most significant difference, take the least time or be inexpensive to resolve. Then let us add it to your project plan. We’ll help you move from feeling jerked around all the time to feeling like the master in control in the elegant new business world you are creating to support your success.






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