SMART goals and a "stop doing" list offer a new spin on strategic planning.
As advisory firms grow and client needs become more involved and complex, a direct result is that operational footprints become larger and larger. For many advisors, this fact quickly becomes a management challenge leading to capacity issues and a barrier to growth.
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Productivity and efficiencies have been a theme in previous articles as critical to success for today’s investment advisor. Continuing this theme, we offer a new way to look at strategic planning.
Developed by ActiFi1, a leading third-party financial services consultancy, SMART goals (Simple, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, Timely) can be an excellent way to develop actions and tactics to move the enterprise forward and should be established and reviewed on a regular basis.
But for many advisors, as strategies change and evolve, you end up with a never-ending list of SMART goals in addition to the day-to-day operations of the firm, resulting in paralysis. In this situation, rather than identifying new strategic projects or implementing additional workflows, there is an opportunity to create a “stop doing” list to free up resources and better apply them toward enhancing client relationships and business growth.
The “stop doing” list is simply a list of things and actions that you as the advisor deem are no longer important or critical for your attention. Ways to identify these items is to sit down with the entire staff and list the top objectives and tasks that need to be accomplished over the next 90 days.
Ask yourselves if the item is important, will it achieve your business objectives, can it be delegated, or outsourced to someone else, or can you stop doing it entirely? One quick and easy litmus test is to ask yourself, “If I started charging my clients to complete the item in question, would they pay for the service?” If the answer is “no,” stop doing it! Repeat this exercise for daily and weekly tasks and action items.
From there, assign a priority to every action item, task project and initiative. From this prioritization, you can quickly see a list of things that you and your staff can comfortably stop doing. Calculate the amount of time that you may save by not doing these things and that “bucket” of time becomes a resource that you can tap into to take on high-value, strategically important business building, efficiency and growth projects that have a high ROI and bottom-line impact.
Not only can the “stop doing” list free up critical resources, it can also go a long way toward motivating and energizing your staff as they will directly see their feedback turn into action.
George Tamer, Director, Strategic Relationships, TD AMERITRADE Institutional
1TD AMERITRADE and ActiFi are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for one another’s services and policies.
TD AMERITRADE, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC/NFA. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Past performance of a security does not guarantee future results. All investments are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal invested.