Without a winner's circle in leadership, an advisory practice will lag behind its peers. Building a winner's circle is just as important to your success as market resurgence.

What is a winner's circle? It's a group of employees, partners, associates and business alliances who have been or are associated with the practice through its many ups and downs. Simply speaking, it's people chosen to work together and share ideas on projects for the common good of the practice. The healthy debate and free flow of ideas stimulate creative thinking and open-mindedness. The leader can then choose the best path to achieve overall project goals.

The commitment to build a winner's circle should be in vogue. A credible winner's circle can strengthen the decision-making process within the leadership ranks in advisory practices. A winner's circle can stand the test of economic time, whether the times are good, bad or uncertain.

Establishing a credible winner's circle breeds accountability, humility, trust and transparency in theleadership ranks. Here is some practical advice for building your winner's circle:

* Be intentional. Every business relationship either helps you stay on course or nudges you off course from your core purpose and core values. Core purpose relates to why your financial practice exists, and core values relate to what your financial practice stands for. For example, educating others and independent thinking come quickly to mind.

* Be patient. Recognize that building a winner's circle takes time and patience. You will need different teams for different endeavors, which makes it important to recruit the right people.

* Encourage debate. Debating ideas is crucial in a winner's circle. But after the debate has ended, be sure that your winner's circle is unified in its vision, but diversified in its skills. The leader must identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the winner's circle.

* Look for different points of view. Realize that the leader is not the smartest person in the winner's circle on every project or subject. The winner's circle will not achieve greatness on most projects if the leader is always the one with the ideas.

* Avoid choosing yes-men or yes-women. A yes-person cannot help the winner's circle grow, nor serve as a legitimate sounding board for the group's ideas. It is already too easy for some leaders to fall in love with their own ideas.

I encourage you to build a winner's circle in your advisory practice. A winner's circle can have a huge impact on the direction of your practice in this ever-changing global environment.


Christopher I. Franklin is the CEO of Titan Financial Services, a Washington, D.C.-based financial management company that offers exclusive services to professional athletes, high-net-worth individuals and celebrities. He can be reached at christopherfranklinonline.com.