Beyond Goals: Activity

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I’ve heard it said that only 5 percent of people in any profession put goals in writing, but those 5 percent account for 65 percent of achievement in that industry. If true, that seems like a pretty easy way to increase one’s odds of success doesn’t it?

In my last post, I suggested that this is an excellent time of year to define goals for 2014. Many advisers focus on production-related goals, partly because they’re the easiest ones to set. Whether they address total compensation, recurring revenue, assets that are actively managed, total number of clients, or the number of new “A” clients, goals related to the top line are typically more measureable than goals that have to do with projects, internal management, or qualitative aspects of the business. So, at a minimum, at least your production-related goals should be in writing.

Have an Action Plan
But just setting a goal doesn’t make it come true. Behind every achievement is a consistent daily focus on the goal and an action plan to make it happen.

For example, if you want to reach a particular level of compensation, you have to execute the activities that yield consistent results. Maybe that means hosting intimate events where clients bring friends, or asking your best clients for introductions to specific individuals. It might mean doing random acts of kindness for clients who are experiencing something special or challenging in their lives. It could mean sponsoring a local charity, or simply an ongoing effort to stay top of mind with clients by making sufficient “touches.” (As Bill Good says, if you have to choose to use time for sales or for service, service always wins.)

The bottom line is, activity begets results. We all mean to keep our activity high. But, too often, we start the year with the best of intentions only to let bad habits get in the way of implementation.

Embrace a 20-Point System
For help staying on track, some advisers embrace a 20-point system, assigning their most important weekly revenue-generating activities a specific point value. By the end of the week, the adviser must earn a certain number of points. For the seasoned veteran, it may be 20 points per week; for the novice with no book of clients to service, it may be 20 points per day.

Whatever the individual tasks, and whatever the points to be earned, tools like this serve as a valuable prompt, helping shape behaviors that contribute to the goals you care about. If you want something to evolve in your practice, set a realistic goal, focus on the goal every day, and put energy into the behaviors that can make the goal become reality.

What interferes with you becoming one of the 5 percent?

Joni YoungwirthJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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