5 ways to get your firm unstuck

You’ve been doing great growing your firm, but suddenly, you find the business is in a rut. You’re stuck and you aren’t sure how to get things moving again.

There are five things you can do to get your firm out of a rut: Get the right people in the right seats, refocus, improve your technology, create a positive feedback loop and find the right long-term partners.

I’ll dive into each of these in this article to give you actionable tips to get your firm unstuck.


I was recently talking with an adviser who said they had a great person in their office who was in the wrong role. I asked them how long that person had been in the role, and the adviser told me 13 years.

For 13 years, that stakeholder wasn’t working in a role that aligned with their passions and skills. While there can be hesitancy to make a change when you like the stakeholder — or for you, if you’re a stakeholder who likes your manager — not making necessary changes can allow you to fall into complacency that will keep you from growing.

The turnover that’s caused by bad hires and not putting your stakeholders in positions that align with their passions can be costly.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost of hiring a new stakeholder is $4,425.

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Hire slow, fire fast.” At Carson, we engage in a lengthy process with candidates to ensure they are a good fit for the organization.

Gerry Herbison, executive coach at Carson Coaching, says getting the right people in the right seats starts with the job description. He describes a pyramid of six traits, with personality traits, intelligence and values forming the base of the pyramid and knowledge, skills and ability at its top.

“The problem is that we hire for the top three and fire for the bottom three,” Herbison said. To avoid this, write your job description to clearly define what you’re looking for in personality traits, intelligence and values.

While some might argue that hiring for cultural fit hampers diversity and inclusion efforts, that’s not the case when you’re hiring workers for qualities like adaptability, caring about their work, following through on things they say they’ll do, proactively handling challenges, putting clients first and being innovative.

Our core values transcend cultural and ethnic groups and ensure we hire people who will be a culture fit, add value and bring their own unique perspective and skills to the table.

One way we find the right fits is through assessments and deliberate interview processes. Candidates take a DISC assessment to see if their working style fits well with the team they’d join, then they meet with a myriad of people prior to being hired.

Herbison also recommends using behavioral-based interview questions and having group and individual interviews with everybody the candidate would work closely with to ensure a good fit.

When it comes to stakeholders who are already well ingrained in the team, you have to ensure you’re frequently reassessing their goals and engaging in open communication so you don’t let 13 years go by having a talented person in the wrong role.


If you’re stuck because you’ve lost focus, you can rediscover your focus, mission and passions through introspection.

One way to get refocused is to sit down and write your own eulogy. Would you be able to say the things you want to say about yourself?

Another way to do this is through a process called Blueprinting, which can help you reevaluate your “why” and identify your long-term goals.

“Our purpose doesn’t tend to change too much, versus missions and visions [which] might,” said Greg Opitz, executive coach with Carson Coaching. “Blueprinting helps keep us moving our lives in the direction we want it to move.”

Blueprinting will help you focus so you’re in charge of your direction and ensure that you’re running your practice and that it’s not running you.


Do you want to be the chief technology officer of your firm? If the answer is no, figure out how to outsource that — whether it’s hiring somebody full time, partnering with another firm or hiring a consultant.

Keeping up to date with the best technology and how to pull it all together is a core part of your business, and somebody needs to be looking at it.

There’s no one way to handle technology in the advisory space. Your technology has to be right for you and your clients to ensure you’re not wasting time, such as having to enter client information five times or spending time on tasks that tech can solve.

The key is to know you’re likely going to have multiple systems, and it’s not about which is right or wrong — rather, it’s about integrating those systems in a way that provides a better, frictionless experience for the client. An expert in this space can help you do that.


Spectrem Group recently released research that found a gap exists between what clients expect and the services they actually receive.

One way to avoid that is to create a positive feedback loop with your clients through things like advisory councils and client surveys. Doing this is like installing a 360-degree review in your practice. You’ll get feedback on how you’re performing and be able to pivot in real time.

Another way to ensure clients are getting what they’re expecting is to adopt an internal operating system so that it’s clear which stakeholders own which projects. It may not always be clear to whom feedback is directed, because many firms don’t have clear owners of processes or responsibilities. When you have those in place, you can more easily address feedback.


Are you surrounding yourself with people who are holding you back or propelling you forward?

Ensuring you have the right broker-dealer, business partners and centers of influence to move you forward is a great way to get your firm unstuck.

If you find that you’re no longer moving forward, consider partnering with a larger organization to propel your growth. A good long-term partner should have the capabilities to strengthen the areas where you aren’t strong so you can focus on what you’re good at.

These five activities might help get your firm out of its rut, but it’s up to you whether you get unstuck.

[MORE: The impact versus the job: Lessons on making a noble profession]

Jamie Hopkins is director of retirement research for Carson Group and managing director of Carson Coaching.

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The post 5 ways to get your firm unstuck appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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