Statistics indicate that financial advisors in teams outperform their sole practitioner peers, just like people in marriages tend to live longer, happier and healthier lives than their single counterparts. However, it’s not the team or marriage alone that creates those statistics. It’s a marriage/ team comprised of the right people that come together for the right reason at the right time in their lives.

If you are missing even one of those three variables, the risks of severe problems and/or dissolution rise dramatically. As I’ve counseled my children, “don’t fall in love with marriage, fall in love with a person that is a perfect fit for you to walk through life with.” The same thing holds true for a team member. Fall in love with a person, that’s a perfect fit for you, your practice and your clientele to walk through life with."

1. At the Right Time

Forming a team or adding a new team member should be a last resort…never a first resort. Whenever you add a new person to your life (a spouse, a child, a friend or a partner), it creates another level of responsibility and complexity and the benefits should far outweigh the cost. Make sure you are where you need to be developmentally and structurally, that you’ve been in the business long enough to understand your own particular strengths and weaknesses and your practice is on solid footing so that the transition is as smooth and seamless as possible.

2. For the Right Reason

You always want to forge any personal and/or professional relationship from a position of strength. Forging a team with three, fourth and fifth-quintile producers doesn’t miraculously turn them into first quintile performers. Before you consider teaming up or adding team members, you must enhance your practice structurally, systemically and educationally. You can then look for someone whose talents, skills and capabilities complement your own; as is so eloquently stated in Proverbs 27:17, “iron sharpening iron.” This is how you create synergy in the classic 1+1 = 3.

3. With the Right Person

For any relationship to have both synergy and sustainability it must be built on a common philosophical foundation, with a complementary set of talents, skills, experiences and passions. Let’s take these two concepts one at a time:

Common Philosophical Foundation

Like a home built on an unstable foundation goes unnoticed, until the passage of time and severe storms reveal its weakness; the same is true in relationships. They both might look really great on the surface, but a nice façade can only mask structural challenges for so long. You must have thoughtful and frank discussions about issues like: mission and vision, collaboration and delegation, wealth management and investment management, client service and compensation and ultimately a commitment to work/life balance. The majority of teams fail because they are not philosophically aligned around the core foundational tenets of the practice.

Complementary Talents

The single most common mistake we see is team leaders “hiring in their own likeness,” or as we like to call it, “the mini me syndrome.” With a nod to Austin Powers, this is where we hire someone, “who is exactly like us in every way, except 1/8 our size!” Given the breadth and depth of responsibilities and capabilities necessary to deploy a comprehensive wealth management and/or institutional practice—a diverse talent pool is absolutely vital to your long-term success. Your team will need: strategic thought and tactical application, business attraction and retention, high touch and high tech capabilities and where possible, demographic and cultural diversity of insight. When it comes to talents and skills you don’t need your counterpart, you need your counterpoint.

The Constructing a Synergistic Team Toolkit will provide you with the architectural framework needed to construct and manage a synergistic team.

Access the Toolkit, interactive tools and multimedia library of resources by downloading the CEO Advisor Institute App for iPad.