There are certain roadblocks that can hold an organization back from achieving its full potential.  TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Elite advisors learned how to turn dysfunction into better results.

“The greatest competitive advantage: ensure your organization is healthy,” said Jeff Gibson, the vice president of consulting at The Table Group.

Smart organizations must focus on strategy, marketing, finance and technology, Gibson said, but he stressed that advisors also need to concentrate on how healthy their organization is.

He said a healthy firm has minimal politics, high morale, high productivity and low turnover.

To drive organization health, Gibson detailed four things advisor should be doing:

  1. Maintain a cohesive leadership team.
  2. Create clarity to keep everyone on the same page.
  3. Over communicate. Repeat critical messages.
  4. Reinforce clarity by asking how it can be made part of the organization’s true culture.

Gibson said that he spent a lot of time trying to get advisors to understand how to master trust, conflict, commitment and accountability.
“You need to ask for help when you need it,” he said. “The basis for building a team is trust.  Without it, everything falls apart. You have to have vulnerability-based trust.”

When it comes to building trust, he said advisors need to make the first move. “You, as a leader, have to go first,” he said. “If you don’t, nobody else is going to do it.”

Surprising to some, Gibson said that organizations need conflict. This allows all the cards to be placed on the table so that the best ideas can be shared.  This does not mean the leader has to take all the ideas, but acknowledging them can go a long way to having more satisfied employees.

Gibson said advisors should mine for conflict in their teams.  “When you don’t deal with conflict it ferments,” he said.

By disagreeing, it allows a team to provide input.  Without this input, leaders cannot know hidden issues and cannot ensure that everyone in onboard.

“This doesn’t mean they get their way, that you give in,” he said. He explained  can get commitment just by ensuring that everyone feels heard.  He suggested using a line like, “I need you to buy in.”

Gibson said every behaviors need to be held accountable. “Being on a team is focusing on the collective results,” he said. “Focus on collective outcomes.”

Gibson concluded, “Teamwork is a choice.  It is a strategic choice in how you manage your firm.” 

Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting.