The Billion-Dollar Mindset: What Drives Top Advisors?

Adopting these 12 characteristics can change your growth trajectory

There’s a certain level of awe that accompanies a review of the names that appear on lists like the Forbes Top Wealth Advisors and Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors. Many of these individuals and others like them have broken through the proverbial billion-dollar ceiling—representing a pinnacle of achievement in the wealth management industry.To be sure, there are plenty of high-quality advisors and superstar teams who have what we call “billion-dollar mindsets”— even though they may manage less than a billion dollars in client assets. The common thread amongst the uber-successful is that they have profitable businesses with strong teams and next-gen talent and are on solid growth trajectory.But what is it specifically that the industry’s elite are doing differently than the majority of their peers? Surely, they have tremendous business developmentskills and a natural connected network; these are the obvious things. But it’s really much more than that.

In our conversations with top advisors, we find that they share the following 12 characteristics:

  • They are forward thinking and big picture focused—because they know that success is about being progressive, not stationary.
  • They are long-term greedy—as opposed to focusing solely on short-term economics.
  • They have a growth mindset—with a willingness to be innovative.
  • They are flexible and open to change—embracing “healthy” risks.
  • They are highly self-confident and self-motivated—trusting in their own potential and growth trajectory.
  • They are individualists—often intolerant of bureaucratic inefficiencies.
  • They are open-minded and never let their thinking become insular—always looking to surround themselves with those who can expand their perspective.
  • They act more like a business than a practice—with a focus on building enterprise value.
  • They have a strong support team including solid next gen talent—business continuity is always at the forefront.
  • They and their partners are closely aligned in terms of their goals and visions—ensuring the ship is always steering in one direction: forward.
  • They embrace the fiduciary mindset wholeheartedly—always putting their clients’ interests first.
  • They are never fully satisfied with the status quo—because they’re always looking to do more and do better for clients, their team and their business overall.
  • Related: A Model of Supported Advisor Independence That Fills the “Fear Gap”Achieving such levels of success isn’t an easy task—but it’s certainly doable. It takes a focused, concerted, can-do effort with a constant dose of motivation and drive. These folks have deliberately set the bar high at the start, and continually raise it with each step along the way. And they’ve surrounded themselves with others who want to be on the same trajectory.So, whether you’re part of a team managing a billion and aiming for 5, or a single advisor who is aspiring to reach a billion, the directive is the same: Raise your bar higherand take the time to develop a mindset focused on these 12 characteristics.