1. (noun) cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.
Teamwork makes sense for a lot of reasons, but it isn’t second-nature or easy.
Do you and your staff always work together in a “cooperative or coordinated effort”?
If you do, keep it up! But if you struggle with teamwork, take heart because you’re not alone. In fact, you and your staff are rather typical. Most people don’t understand what’s involved in sustained and successful teamwork.
The formula for teamwork is leadership from the advisor plus initiative by the staff. The result is a more focused advisor, a more energized staff and — this is very important — a more profitable business. With effective teamwork, advisors can zero in on three things: meeting with clients, meeting with prospects and delegating work to staff. Think about it. What would happen in your business if you limited your efforts to these three activities? (Answer: You’d be a lot more productive!) If you want effective teamwork, here’s what you can do.
For you, the challenge is to become a better leader. You’re in the driver’s seat — make the most of it. You need to:
(1) Delegate — starting now!
Hand off responsibilities to your staff so you have more time for clients anprospects. Remember, your employees are on board so you don’t have to do everything by yourself. You hired them to free up your time to grow the business. Use their capabilities! It’s easy to delegate the basics, yet most advisors stay too involved in the day-to-day minutiae. Ideally, whenever you think of a business-related task or obligation, delegate it. The most important task to delegate is appointment scheduling.
By handing it over to your staff, you’ll have a consistent appointment stream, week after week.
(2) Avoid micromanaging
After delegating, step aside and let your employees do the work. Don’t look over their shoulders! Trust their abilities and resist the urge to take over a project or task. By letting go, you’ll empower your employees, and they’ll do their work capably and on time.
(3) Be a resource
If employees rely on you too heavily, they become dependent on you. You’re there to guide them and be a resource. When an employee has a question, encourage some independent thinking by asking, “What do you think we should do?” When you ask them questions, employees find out they know more than they realized. If they need your guidance, don’t take the work back. Just provide clear directions and let them complete the task.
For staff, the goal is to become more proactive. My advice: anticipate what’s needed and do the work that allows your boss to spend more time with clients and prospects. You can:
(1) Take the initiative
Be resourceful! You’re there to support your boss by becoming involved whenever you can. A very simple example: handle all incoming calls without disturbing your boss. Instead of taking a message or putting the call into voicemail, tell the caller your boss is not available. Then ask, “How may I help you?” By doing so, you’ll build trust and rapport with clients, save time and maybe even learn something new. Another example of taking the initiative: instead of waiting for a signal, dig into a project or task your boss normally handles. Once you prove you can do it, your boss can step aside. (If
there’s resistance, keep reminding your boss you’re interested in saving him/her time.) When you continue to do more, your boss is freed up to meet with clients — which is how the business makes money.
(2) Be thorough and accurate
When work is delegated to you, it’s your job to double check it. Be as thorough and accurate as possible. When you make careless mistakes, the tendency for most advisors is to micromanage. If your work has to be reviewed, you’re not saving your boss any time. So don’t rush, especially on appointment preparation, and be sure to review what you’ve done before you hand it off to your boss.
(3) Prioritize your workflow
You have a lot to do, and everything is important, but it’s essential to prioritize your work. In the morning, tackle anything related to income production such as appointment scheduling, paperwork processing/follow-up and appointment preparation. In the afternoon, turn to client service, correspondence and miscellaneous tasks. By doing a little bit of everything every day — starting with the most important tasks first — you’ll get more done and feel a sense of accomplishment. Teamwork takes commitment from everyone. There has to be openness, respect and a belief in each other’s abilities. A good attitude is a plus! As Henry Ford said,
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” And success is a better bottom line.