Highlights

  • Ultimately, the challenges all advisors face relate to building a high performing practice.
  • CEO Advisor Institute exists to help advisors build, manage, and grow a world-class business.
  • We’ve refined our framework over time, and it rests on three key pillars.

We understand that the fundamental challenge all of our clients face involves building, managing and growing a high performing practice. While investment products and services are part of the solution, they are by no means all of it. The CEO Advisor Institute is designed to help financial advisors, branch managers and complex directors address this challenge. It rests on three philosophical pillars:

The 1st Pillar – Helping advisors to manage and grow their increasingly complex practices: structurally, systemically, technologically and interpersonally. These are four distinct, but interrelated, concepts necessary to managing any complex business. However when you look at the psychographic profile of top producers, male or female, they are cut from the cloth of “John or Jane Wayne.” They are focused, driven, autonomous and fiercely independent people; who want to basically get up every morning, jump on their horse, ride off into the wilderness and shoot something, throw it on the fire and eat it, go to sleep and then get up the next day and get right back on the horse. By doing this job extremely well, they may wake up in 10-to-15 years to realize they are running a small to medium-sized business. However, there is little training in our industry and even less in their DNA that equips them to run a practice of such scale. Plateaus in this business occur (initially at around $300K in gross, then again around $700K, then again between $1-1.2M and then about every $700K-1M thereafter). When the level of complexity gets so great that “what got you here won’t get you there,” it takes a fundamental reengineering of the practice to break through that plateau and move to the next level.

The 2nd Pillar – Introducing the concept of balance to challenge one of our industry’s foundational tenets. Our industry operates on the premise that we all get a choice: have a very successful and productive career or a profound and meaningful life…pick one! Ask many top advisors, complex directors and/or senior executives, “So you work about 50 hours a week?” and too often you will hear, “50 hours…I have that for breakfast, we put in 60-70 hours around here,” as though somehow this is a badge of honor. I’ll never forget one senior executive who, on his way for a quick workout at the corporate gym, ran into his boss who commented, “I wish I had time to go workout”… message received loud and clear. This false dichotomy presumes we can lead bifurcated lives: That if our personal life is unraveling, then such challenges don’t follow us into the office; and if our professional lives are imploding, then those challenges don’t walk through the door of our home. I therefore believe that we must “treat the patient” both personally and professionally. By aligning these two worlds to work in harmony, they can become mutually supportive and create an extraordinary synergy where 1+1=3.

The 3rd Pillar – Instilling philosophical and historical perspective. Unfortunately we operate in a profession that can’t spell the former and rarely studies the latter. Our single greatest challenge as an industry is not managing our clients’ assets but managing their emotions. If I could separate your clients from their assets, so all you had to do was manage their money and not them, how much easier would your job be? So the next time you’re wandering through your local Barnes & Noble, I do not want to find you in the investment section. You have been managing portfolios for years and there is nothing new under that sun. Instead I want to find you in the psychology section, the history section, the sociology section and even the philosophy/spirituality sections. By now you have mastered the art of managing assets, so master the art of managing people. One of the people this will benefit the most is you. We often experience emotional volatility even more frequently and intensely than our clientele, because we have machines blinking green or red at us all day every day. No one needs the powerful combination of philosophical and historical perspective more than us.

These are the three foundations upon which all of my work has been built over the last 15 years, and the framework for our CEO Advisor Institute.