It’s time once more to start thinking about your New Year’s resolution. Most often, people will set goals for personal growth, focusing on ways to improve their physical and mental well-being: eating healthier and exercising more, watching less TV or spending less time on social media, and getting more involved in the community are a few common ones. But what about making resolutions for your business?
Here at Commonwealth, the Practice Management team encourages advisors—as well as each other—to strive to continuously improve our work, business practices, and leadership. Year-end is an ideal time to reflect on successes and missteps, as well as to prepare to start the New Year on the right foot.
To help make 2020 your best year yet, I've compiled this list of suggested New Year's resolutions for financial advisors. You may choose to adopt one—or maybe all five!
1) Take Time to Make Time for Yourself
As we head into 2020, schedule regular restorative time first, including vacations, long weekends, and occasional days off. This may feel unnatural; you're probably accustomed to scheduling these breaks around your work, not the opposite. But by making your personal time a priority this year, you'll see two important benefits:
You'll have several exciting experiences to look forward to right off the bat.
You'll be more likely to take time away from the office on a regular basis. This will help you stay focused and motivated for a longer period of time—and help prevent last-minute sick days.
2) Set Goals and Create a Plan
If you're not sure exactly where you're headed, it's hard to find the motivation to reach that destination. Or, in the words of Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.” To help ensure that you're making progress toward your goals throughout 2020, I suggest scheduling time to think big picture and create a business plan.
Draft a simple, one-page business plan for 2020 that focuses on the activities and goals that are most important to you and your team. This is an invaluable exercise for goal-setting at an advisory firm. Next, regularly revisit this document to review and revise it, as well as to track your progress. You may want to consider creating an electronic calendar alert to remind you to do this once per month or every quarter—or you may want to schedule meetings with colleagues and employees to do this as a group.
3) Let Go and Watch Them Grow
You've selected smart, capable professionals to support your work and embody your firm's values. Consider embracing 2020 as the year in which you allow these employees to grow and fully come into their own.
What's the best way to do this? Give them greater autonomy. Delegate any tasks that may be better suited to your staff's expertise or ones they've expressed an interest in spearheading. Once you delegate, let them go! They may stumble or even fail, but with your support and encouragement, they will learn and grow through the experience. By the end of the year, you will be pleasantly surprised to see how they are flourishing—and how much happier both you and your employees are as a result!
4) Learn More by Reading More
You don't need to go back to school or sign up for a new designation to continuously learn about your clients, industry trends, leadership, or business growth. You just need to read habitually. Here are a few tips to help you do this:
Keep a running list of books you want to read during 2020. To begin, check out the following list of books that some of Commonwealth’s leaders are reading, which reflect a mix of business topics, history, social welfare, and personal interests:
Subscribe to a news aggregator to pull articles from your preferred magazine or news source. This makes pertinent, interesting reading readily accessible.
If you find a specific article or book intriguing, keep up the momentum. Read additional articles or books by the author or dig deeper into the topic by reading other authors' points of view.
Dedicate a specific time every week for reading. For example, block off half an hour every Tuesday morning for reading, learning, and thinking.
5) Have Fun!
It's all too easy for you and your staff to become engrossed in the day-to-day demands of the firm. But it's important to take periodic breaks that promote your company culture. This may include a group outing to a baseball game, volunteering at a local charity, or another event that you and your team find fun and worthwhile.
In addition to these planned events, engage in fun every week. Use this time to relax, laugh, and enjoy one another's company. Here are a few activities that Commonwealth employees have appreciated:
Conduct taste tests. Try out five different energy drinks, power bars, or chocolate. Have your team vote on which one is your firm's favorite.
Share one fun fact about yourselves, such as a favorite vacation, memory from college, formative experience, or a bit about your families.
Give kudos to your partners and employees. Share an example of superb customer service, an example of an employee's critical-thinking skills, or a story of a colleague's kindness. Consider taking turns each week to sing one another's praises.
Conduct a scavenger hunt to collect artifacts that tell your firm’s story.
Volunteer as a group at a local nonprofit (e.g., an animal shelter or a food pantry). Feel good while you do good!
Making a New Year’s resolution (and sticking with it!) is a great step toward achieving a goal or improving your life. But it’s just as important to focus on your business as it is your personal life. Adopting one—or maybe all—of these suggestions can put you and those you work with on a better path to happiness and success!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2014, but we’ve updated it to bring you more relevant and timely information.
This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice.