Planning for beyond the new year

My business partner of 30 years, Pat McClain, likes to say, “That which got us here won’t get us there, or we’d be there already.” He says this as a reminder that we can’t expect to achieve ever-greater results if we continue to do the same old things.

Whether you’re running a large financial firm or a one-person shop, if you want to grow and improve, you’ve almost certainly got to change and evolve.

But while it’s essential, embracing change is one of the hardest things you can do.  

What do you want from 2022, and beyond? Would you like to have more free time to enjoy other pursuits? Would you like to allot more time to helping clients and less time to the day-to-day grind of running the business? Are you willing to invest in the future growth of your firm by adding new talent?

In the end, it comes down to what you want for yourself and your firm in the future. And getting clarity now will help you determine what changes you’ll need to make to accomplish your goals.

For more 25 years, our leadership team has met offsite at the start of each year to set goals for what we’d like to accomplish in the next year, the next three years and the next five. And just to be clear, way back in the beginning, it wasn’t even technically a “leadership team” as there were only a small handful of us comprising the entire organization. Back then, before we’d grown to first 50, then 100, and now roughly 300 people, every member of our firm was part of the annual planning process.

A big part of our process is to take an inventory of where we are right now. We do this by asking ourselves questions such as: What are our core competencies? What do we love doing? Where do we need improvement? What do we need to stop doing? And what external threats do we need to worry about?

After we’ve completed this exercise, we ask ourselves what we’d like to see change in the future. This includes, but is hardly limited to, things like setting realistic goals for how many new clients we’d like to add or coming up with a list of the new services we’d like to provide.

Once we decide where we want to go, we step back and ask ourselves what changes will be necessary to accomplish our objectives.

The answers aren’t always comfortable. We might need a new structure to our organization, or to add some new team members, implement some new technologies, or to bring in outside consultants.

Sometimes, the changes that we determine are necessary (or worthwhile) impact every person in the room.

As co-founder of one of the fastest growing RIAs in America, getting together at the start of every year to decide where we want to go, and how much change we are willing to endure to get there, has been a key determiner in how far we’ve come.

[More: A mass migration of advisers]

Scott Hanson is co-founder of Allworth Financial, formerly Hanson McClain Advisors, a fee-based RIA with $13 billion in AUM.

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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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