The characteristics that make women successful advisors are often stumbling blocks for advancing their careers. That was the main message Mindy Diamond, president and CEO of recruiting firm Diamond Consultants, tried to emphasize to the women gathered at the Women’s Advisors Forum in New York on Thursday.
Women advisors, she told the gathering, are more driven, empathetic, nurturing and client oriented than their male counterparts and have “uniquely suited DNA for this position.” They’re so dedicated to nurturing clients, however, that they often forget to take the time to think about where they are in their careers.
Women are often so busy juggling competing priorities, Diamond said, “it’s nearly impossible to think about undertaking the due diligence to think am I in the right place in my career to achieve what I want to do.”
Diamond also noted that women tend to “work in the business” and neglect to “work on the business,” meaning they don’t think about the strategic direction of their practices, which holds women back. Time spent assessing, analyzing and strategizing, Diamond said, can yield a greater quality of life, accelerated growth and superior client service.
Diamond identified five mistakes women make in advancing their careers:
Women often wait until there is a sense of urgency before considering their options, she said. Diamond urged advisors to reassess their situation every two to years, regardless of how content they are. She also encouraged them to create their own “personal board of directors.”
Women often lack a clear career strategy. Women need to clarify their goals and be proactive. “You have to know what you want to get it,” she said quoting Gertrude Stein.
Women often allow competing priorities to keep them from expecting more. While there will always be competing priorities, they should not delay career satisfaction because the future is unpredictable, Diamond said.
Women often don’t spend enough time thinking about succession planning. Diamond urged advisors to make succession planning a priority, regardless of age or stage of career. It’s important, she said, to protect the equity advisors have built into their business.
Women tend to be more trusting than men. When joining a new firm, women should demand to see financials and find out where the firm’s revenues are coming from. They should also get an understanding of the firm’s short- and long-term strategies.