Closer to home, the portfolio manager doesn’t care if the marketing specialist is a “thinking” or “feeling” type; he just cares that new, prospective clients are showing up every month. Success creates a lot of goodwill within any team.
Complementary personalities and harmony among team members aren’t the keys to success that many team architects assume. Instead, if team leaders focus on the essential behaviors that lead to success, harmony and rewards will increase, causing conflicts to decrease. There are four core elements of executing for success:
1. Develop an effective business plan that clearly defines the vision of the business and every team member’s role as it pertains to fulfilling the vision.
A meaningful business plan is a “living document” that informs the day-to-day activities of the team. When used effectively, the business plan actually takes a seat at the table in team meetings, and is used by the team leader to clarify expectations for every member of the team (including the leader). One of its roles is to define the big picture of what the business is working to achieve.
2. Define the most effective methods for completing the tasks of each role.
The business plan should also define the methods for achieving the business’ vision: how to do the job. There are good ways, bad ways and excellent ways to accomplish tasks. A successful team will seek out and execute the best ways available to accomplish various tasks even if this means that team members must learn new skills.
3. Establish performance goals for every role.
In order to ensure that all team members, including the leader, are accountable to the plan, every role should have a set of performance goals that define the difference among unacceptable, good and excellent levels of performance. Typically, advisory practices make the mistake of establishing only destination goals: metrics that tell you “how much we want to accomplish” by a certain point of time. For example, a destination goal could be, “We want to bring in five new families with average assets under management of $3 million by the end of the year.”
Instead, performance goals must also be established. Performance goals describe the number of actions that must be taken during a period of time to achieve various desired outcomes. A performance goal would be, “Our marketing role is expected to meet with an average of five CPAs per week and explain our current muni-bond strategy.”
4. Track and report to the entire team how each member is fulfilling his or her performance goals.
In order to maintain fairness, each team member must know if all the other members are achieving their performance goals. The effective team leader not only tracks the progress toward achieving destination goals, but also tracks each team member’s performance against personal performance goals. The results are reported to the entire team.
Executing the four strategies outlined above will help a team become more successful—regardless of the industry. One of the results of this successful team will be harmony. The effective team leader understands this interaction and recognizes that one of his or her most important tasks is to ensure that each team member uses the most effective methods possible and is performing at the expected level. Nothing creates goodwill among team members like success and accelerating rewards.
Ken Haman is the Managing Director at the AllianceBernstein Advisor Institute, visit http://ria.alliancebernstein.com.