Last month, we examined how defining your corporate mission is critical to your daily duties and the way you and your staff go about fulfilling them each week. "It starts when you write it down," I said—not just to have something to hang on a wall, but a creed to live by, a standard to aspire to and a pledge to your clients. Properly implemented, Mission Statements impact both clients and staff:
The hiring process is an interesting one, in that you and your candidate are interviewing each other for compatibility, common values and traces of what each of you is seeking. In preparation for a rare third interview, I’ve had great success giving this "homework assignment" to any candidate in whom I sensed a spark, an entrepreneurial genome and a teachable spirit: "Please read Tom Brokaw’s "The Greatest Generation," and write me a two-page Personal Impact Statement. Tell me how it affected you—perhaps how you related it to candid discussions with your grandparents about WW II and its aftermath. And then give me a sense of how you’d apply what you learned to your duties here…"
Every time I’ve done this, the exercise has separated the "nice book" shoulder-shruggers from the "Wow—thank you for asking me to read this!" personally impacted candidates. This latter group had had a revelation about our mission—far beyond the words they’d first read on the wall in our lobby—and wrote about the privilege it would be to serve such people and their now-retiring children. All of us should aspire to venerate our clients, and to be respectful, especially in the little things, for as we adjust our inner attitudes, all the Big Stuff—suitability/compliance, community reputation and, yes, even income—all naturally take care of themselves.
When your new clients experience you and your team in this way for the first time, the difference in corporate culture, especially when compared to an institutional brokerage firm, can be quite dramatic. Everything about you should demonstrate a personal touch, an attentiveness and an inbred courtesy—from the way they’re greeted, offered refreshments, through the multiple-appointment processes, to their name-engraved leather client binder, to the Christmas basket they receive that year, to the unique birthday cards that you personally sign each week, to the sumptuous annual Client Partner Appreciation Gala you host—all of this should drip excellence from every pore of your corporate being.
Next month: Hiring for excellence and growth
"Everything about you should demonstrate a personal touch, an attentiveness and an inbred courtesy."
Thomas K. Brueckner is president and CEO of Senior Financial Resources, Inc. in Nashua, N.H., and Strategic Asset Conservation, Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is a Senior Market Advisor 2011 Advisor of the Year Finalist.