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A Return to Discipline in 2012 Focus on What You Can Control …and Make it a Ritual

BACK OF THE NAPKIN

Well, we made it through another year! And as we enter 2012, most of us would like nothing more than to put the global economic events of 2011 behind us. The past few years have been “interesting” to say the least and, although we enjoyed a brief respite from the challenges of 2008, we soon became victim to another round of international uncertainty and capital market chaos. Our clients are nervous, and justifiably so. But it doesn’t end there. If the well-publicized predictions of Nostradamus and ancient Mayan calendars are correct, then none of this will matter very much because we won’t be here a year from now to care. Although these apocalyptic visions and end-of-world scenarios make for spectacular Hollywood productions, history has taught us that it may turn out to be “business as usual” for a long time to come. Who remembers the overblown fears around Y2K? In contrast, the current economic picture brings a very real and present challenge to those engaged in the business of investing. As the churning threat of global crises continues to unfold, the advisor of 2012 will need to engineer a whole new level of discipline, in order to withstand the mounting pressures that will invariably come from both the capital markets and anxious clients.

“The advisor of 2012 will need to engineer a whole new level of discipline.”

Let’s take a closer look at each of the three pieces of the “PIE”… Step 1. Plan your Outcomes This is the starting point and where you will gain massive clarity on what you want to accomplish during 2012. Take quality time away from the office to develop a comprehensive Business Plan and Marketing Plan. Define your outcomes and objectives in clear and specific detail – leaving nothing open to interpretation. Your Business Plan should address each of the following, at minimum:

Your Marketing Plan should address each of the following, at minimum:

• Team Structure • Roles and Responsibilities • Mission Statement • Investment Philosophy • Value Proposition • Asset Targets • Revenue Targets • Activity Targets • Service Model • Personal Development Initiatives

• Target Markets • Target Plan • Centres of Influence • Cross-Referral Opportunities • Focus Products • Scripts for Messaging • Asset Gathering Modalities • Marketing Budget • Marketing Campaigns • Client Appreciation Strategies

Several years ago, I developed a very simple schematic to mechanize the structure of discipline in my own personal life. Since that time, I’ve shared it with countless investment professionals who have readily applied it to their advisory practices with great success. You will find the sequence to be especially powerful during extended periods of uncertainty, due to capital market unrest.

Business Planning is something that everyone knows about, but is perhaps the least understood and most neglected tool in an advisor’s arsenal. Avoid planning for the sake of planning. Rather, develop a powerful, living roadmap for your practice and continue to update the document as the weeks go by. Assign specific timelines and team member accountabilities at every step along the way. Consider the current economic environment during the planning process, and employ appropriate client-facing strategies designed to manage human nature and investor psychology.

PIE The Structure of Discipline:

> To receive your complimentary Business/Marketing Plan template, please contact your Renaissance sales representative.

Step 1 Plan Your Outcomes

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Step 2 Install Daily Rituals

Step 3 Evaluate the Results


PIE

THE STRUCTURE OF DISCIPLINE:

PLAN YOUR OUTCOMES INSTALL DAILY RITUALS EVALUATE THE RESULTS

Some examples of new rituals are: • Introducing healthy lunches and snacks into your routine • Implementing a meeting-rotation strategy with your A & B clients • Scheduling regular team meetings for open communication and sharing • Making daily warm calls to the prospects in your database • Reviewing several client portfolios per day and making switch recommendations

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It’s important to remember that, as a creature of habit, you will need to endorse these NEW rituals through active repetition until they become fully habituated and have replaced the old rituals.

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2 ALS ITU

RESULTS HE T TE

Insert your new empowering rituals into your template and prepare to install the new patterns – becoming the design engineer of your own habits!

INSTALL DA I L YR

YOUR OUTCOM AN ES L P

Step 3. Evaluate the Results There’s only one way to know if you’re on track to achieving your desired outcomes – and that’s through a strategic and disciplined evaluation process. In stark contrast to a typical “annual review” session, I strongly suggest implementing a much more dynamic, ongoing approach to analyzing your results.

E V A LU A

“Pre-schedule PIE Review Meetings at the end of each month to critically analyze where you stand.” Step 2. Install Daily Rituals As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We have a strong, innate tendency to fall into certain daily patterns of behaviour, which become habituated into our life’s routine. That process continues as we tacitly endorse those patterns through acceptance and repetition. These patterns may include ritual ways of thinking, speaking, eating, or behaving – some of them may serve us well, but some of them may not. In Step 1, we spent quality time clarifying and planning our outcomes, and now we can look toward installing the daily rituals that will get us there quickly and efficiently. Start off by printing a blank daily template from your calendar software. Work through each time segment, starting from first thing in the morning, and write down all of your routine daily patterns of behaviour. Once you’ve created an accurate snapshot of your typical day, decide on those rituals that may be classified as “toxic” in nature – these are the counter-productive (or destructive) habits that may have crept into your routine when you weren’t looking. Toxic rituals may simply include time-wasters, such as surfing the net, chatting with co-workers, going for extended lunches, or attending unnecessary meetings. Mindfully analyze your daily routine and highlight all the rituals you wish to delete from your life. Once you’ve accomplished that task, you’re now free to install new resourceful, empowering, productive rituals in their place.

In other words, pre-schedule “PIE Review Meetings” at the end of each month (or even weekly), to critically analyze where you stand in relation to your documented outcomes. Take the evaluation procedure even deeper by respectfully holding each team member accountable for their daily rituals. We have no control of what 2012 will bring our way, or how the capital markets will adjust to the looming crisis of global debt, but we do have control of how we position ourselves during this time. Consider today’s investment landscape as a clarion call to re-institute optimal structure and discipline in your advisory practice. This year will be a tremendous opportunity to deepen existing client relationships and gather new long-term assets. I wish you continued success and a record-breaking 2012.

Grant Shorten is Director of Strategic Insights at Renaissance Investments. He offers insights and approaches that will work with your clients and have an immediate impact on your practice. www.advisor.ca/togo Podcast > A Year for Discipline www.renaissanceinvestments.ca/en/practicemanagement/

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ReturntoDiscipline2012