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Want to Boost Productivity in Your Advisory Firm? Here’s how.

January 8, 2020

By Adrian johnstone

Staying productive for an entire workday is a challenge, and it gets harder the more successful you and your firm are. More clients mean more responsibilities. So how do you grow your advisory firm while maintaining a high level of productivity?

It’s not impossible. With the right combination of processes and tools, you can achieve sustainable growth while enhancing your productivity. 

Set daily priorities

When you begin work for the day, do you know what your top priority should be? If not, you may find yourself getting surprised by important tasks that crop up late in the day. 

Studies have shown that our ability to make decisions diminishes throughout the day. This is called decision fatigue, and it’s why leaders like Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day. One less decision in the morning saves a little mental energy for more important tasks.

So if you’re spending all morning answering emails and saving tough decisions for later in the day, you’ve got your priorities upside down.

Before you open your inbox in the morning, write down your tasks for the day and prioritize one or two of them. Don’t wait until the afternoon to tackle your most difficult assignment – do it first thing in the morning. This way, even if you get side tracked later in the day, you’ll know you’ve accomplished at least one important task.

Another way to reduce decision fatigue is to use technology that automates routine processes, like deciding whom to pass work to after you’ve completed your responsibilities. This eliminates decisions that take up precious time and energy and don’t add value to your day.

Focus your energy with scheduled time blocks

In addition to setting daily priorities, the most productive professionals block out time in their schedule to focus only on work that requires intense mental concentration. During these blocks, you should eliminate distractions and commit to a single task.

The purpose of this exercise is to get into what some researchers call a “flow state.” As noted in the Harvard Business Review, flow is “an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” 

In fact, a 10-year McKinsey study found that executives in a flow state reported being five times more productive than in a distractible state. The researchers concluded that increasing time spent in flow by 15-20% could double overall workplace productivity.

Clearing an hour in your schedule for distraction free work on a single, important task with clearly defined goals is one of the best ways to achieve this level of productivity. 

Take a performance-based approach to hiring

Your organization’s overall productivity level depends on the people you hire. If your employees aren’t quite right for the job, they’ll not only take longer to complete tasks, but they’ll be more likely to make mistakes. And eventually they’ll leave your company for an opportunity that is more suited to their skills and passion.

A performance-based recruiting approach can ensure the people you hire are a good fit for your firm:

  1. Define what a performer looks like: For each role within your organization, develop a profile that defines the hard skills, soft skills and personality traits of a top performer. Think about what kind of educational background they should possess. Also consider cultural fit. 
  2. Prioritize performer attributes: Once you have a list of performer attribute, prioritize them. Which are you willing to compromise on? Place those at the bottom of your list and focus on the most important ones when reviewing new candidates.
  3. Match candidates to your performer profile: Refer to your performer profile throughout the recruitment process. This will help you make hires that contribute to business growth.

Once you hire the right employees, they’ll need the right tools to complete their work. Thoughtfully designed technology empowers employees to take control of their role with accuracy and efficiency. For instance, tools that allow workers to see every aspect of each client relationship are better able to satisfy and exceed client expectations.

Review your digital toolkit

Advisors familiar with customer relationship management tools understand how important technology is to business growth. Over the last two decades, digital transformation has reshaped how advisory firms attract clients and generate value.

Now it’s time for the next step. Advisors across the globe are beginning to see the need to move beyond traditional tools. Having the right tools to bring your technology ecosystem together is essential for sustainable scalability. 

User-tailored dashboards

Everyone within an advisory firm has a unique definition of productivity – so why should everyone be stuck looking at the same dashboard day in and day out? Not everyone needs the same information available all the time.

Customizable dashboards empower advisors and support staff to focus on the information that matters most to their unique responsibilities. For instance, users can get instant access to their assigned clients, key dates and essential information, all at a glance. When all users can get their jobs done efficiently, the entire organization benefits. 

Growth visualization

The ability to be productive often depends on how well you can organize your day. Some of the most productive people in the world spend the first hours of each day planning exactly what they hope to accomplish. At the organizational level, the same principle applies.

After all, you can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you stand today. Modern platforms help advisors achieve growth by visualizing important metrics. Traditionally, this information is trapped in disparate platforms – it can take days or longer to collect relevant data and analyze it for opportunities.

Cutting edge digital tools change the paradigm by bringing all of this information together in one central location. In addition, segmentation tools allow stakeholders to manage client lists with extreme precision. That means you can spend your time where it is mostly likely to benefit your business.

Workflow automation and analytics

If one word is bound to be synonymous with productivity in the 2020s, it’s automation. 

Across industries, investments in artificial intelligence and automation are on the rise. In fact, spending on AI systems is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38% between 2018 and 2022. 

Advisory firms can already leverage automation to streamline their digital workflows and enhance productivity. Beyond tasks and processes, enhanced platforms can automatically manage dates, alerts, compliance commitments and more. 

In addition, powerful workflow analytics enable continuous improvement of processes. Creating a feedback loop using comprehensive workflow reports gives advisory stakeholders the data they need to make decisions that lead to growth.

Integrated marketing tools

Nurturing leads and attracting clients are essential tasks that every advisory firm needs to complete. Without a strong pipeline of prospective clients, advisors risk losing business to client churn. 

By integrating your marketing and communications tools directly within your platform, you can manage client relations with ease. For instance, seamless integration empowers you to build and launch creative campaigns and increase your reach. Whether you’re planning events, rolling out an email campaign or crafting a digital marketing campaign, the right tools can help you succeed.

In 2020 and beyond, advisory firm success will increasingly depend on the organization’s ability to manage sustainable growth. Get your free copy of our eBook “Built for Growth: A Guide to Growing Your Advice Firm” to learn more.

Built for Growth: A Guide to Growing Your Advice Firm

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