As advisors – and entrepreneurs – it’s hard to come across a marketing idea we don’t love. Because of this, we all have a tendency to lose the balance between strategic thinking and the little things that need to be done to ensure the big picture vision is properly executed. Many of us forget the little details are essential to executing a large-scale project. We’re convinced it’s the small stuff we need to ignore, when, in fact, these details should be held with the same importance.

This also reminds me of something an advisor told me recently when he said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Too many advisors dismiss questions about details with a wave of their hand and claim “I’m a big-picture thinker.” This kind of thinking is both flawed and troublesome and can breed poor customer service, under-performance, wasted opportunity, mistakes, inconsistencies, rework, and oversights. The best entrepreneurs know when to be focused on high-level strategy and when to focus on details. The key is to be nimble and flex between both ends of the spectrum depending on the situation.

So, how can advisors keep the scale balanced in their dynamic role? They must stay focused on the finish line while also becoming more aware of what needs to be done to get there. Even the grandest project depends on the success of the smallest components. Here are a few ways to incorporate detail into large-scale initiatives you have planned for 2013:

  1. Define a clear purpose and strategy. First and foremost, introduce major company initiatives to your team. This will ensure proper tactical delegation and execution. After all, an advisor’s success depends not only on having a clear vision, but the ability to articulate that vision to all levels of staff.
  2. Identify and communicate team roles. To get this initiative rolling in the right direction, clarify how every single team member contributes to each vital element of the project. This is a crucial step to achieving your vision in the timeframe you’ve selected. Get the right people involved; it’s okay to delegate some of the detail work to someone with a flair for detail – the important thing is you support and recognize the function. Your employees must know and understand the overarching strategy of your practice and what the priorities are so they can make the important trade-offs when dealing with other duties that compete for their time.
  3. Monitor your team’s progress. Develop metrics you need measured throughout the course of the project and meet regularly with your team to discuss progress.
  4. Celebrate milestones. As each phase of the initiative is completed, remember to recognize key team members involved. Nothing motivates a team more than achievement.

These simple actions are things any advisor can do to incorporate detail into their vision. It will improve the effectiveness of your team and, if implemented correctly, can have a tremendous effect on the overall growth of a practice. Think about it for a moment, our entire environment is simply an accumulation of tiny details – and major projects are no different.
To help you incorporate this concept into your environment, go to, click on Free Tools, and enter the code 6 Most to receive a form I use in my practice every day. This form is the cornerstone to my success when I need to maintain balance between visionary thinking and grounded details of my every day. Encourage your employees to use this as well, and see a major improvement in how the small details are executed.

Downplaying these actions as insignificant and dismissing them as minutia is dangerous. Every action and every detail has bottom-line repercussions. Balanced attention to both the small details and the big picture produces excellence and that’s why we must all sweat the small stuff.

Take a moment and apply this thinking to your personal life. Remember, although we measure our lives in years, we live them in days, hours, minutes, and seconds.

Ron Carson is Founder and CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group, a comprehensive wealth planning firm, and Founder of Peak Advisor Alliance, the largest advisor coaching program in the country. He also co-authored the practice management book Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice and its revised second edition Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Success as a New-Era Advisor.

Joe Steuter, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Peak Advisor Alliance, contributed to this article.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Financial Planning content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access