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The Intentional Team Model
The Intentional Team Model
Too often, when tackling a major initiative, you get thrown into the confusion and dysfunctional dynamics of your client’s so-called team. When you ask about an element of the planning process, the client is likely to shrug it off, “I’ve got it all covered.” The irony of the statement is that even he can’t tell you what it all is.
As advisors, we know that covering it all takes the coordinated efforts of a well-appointed team. But does the client know that? Does he know he’s assembled a team by default? Is anyone even coordinating the efforts? Defining the objectives? Without some commonality of a goal, how does anyone know when it is achieved? Or when even one phase of it is done?
Creating an Intentional Team
The Intentional Team concept gives you an integrated model for assembling a strong team and managing your clients’ needs over the long-term. As you consider the Intentional Team Model, consider what role feels most natural to you and most appropriate for your skill set, not just from a technical perspective, but from the standpoint of relationship capabilities and process. How are your talents best offered? What can you best bring to the table? In what areas are you simply plugging a gap?
Given your own strengths, begin to build around a strong Core Team. When you’re choosing your team, identifying compatible personalities is as important as finding the right expertise. Your Core Team’s personalities should work well together, and the roles should cover four essential areas of competence: tax, legal, investment and risk management. Your team must be able to think globally, past the boundaries of their own individual realms. They must be willing to take comprehensive responsibility for their own area of expertise and behave as true team players. That means allowing other members to shine and caring only about the combined success as judged by the client. Your Core Team must work together for one purpose: Achieve the best for your client.
If the Core Team is inherently strategic, the Virtual Team is more tactical. You must pull together a Virtual Team as needed for a specific purpose or to address a particular planning gap. You, and possibly one or more members of your Core Team, may work along with other carefully selected experts. When the defined objective is achieved, that Virtual Team generally disbands. Under your leadership, the Virtual Team comes together to quickly rally around a solution.
For the Intentional Team model to be successful, it’s up to you to define your team’s goals through each planning cycle. When the team comes together, you set the vision and objectives from the onset. Leading with the client’s mantra ensures efficiency and avoids any meandering around what the “client would want.” As captain, it’s your job to set the tone, direction and objectives to keep your team focused on the needs at hand.
With an Intentional Team in place, no longer will a client’s make-shift team be fumbling around. They will be all-stars, working together at peak performance, and driving hard toward the finish line.
Todd Fithian is the CEO of The Legacy Company, a sought-after speaker and one of the industry’s foremost authorities on attracting, engaging and retaining clients. He is the co-author of the Right Side of the Table.