6 Ways Leaders Can Develop the Grit They Need
I recently worked with a leader who had strong technical skills but kept getting stuck on one specific procedure that he performed daily. He possessed all the background needed to master his challenging tasks but repeatedly became overwhelmed when he reached a certain point. He threw his hands up when we spoke:
“I just can’t figure out how to get over this hurdle. I need to learn this step but I have a block. Why can’t someone else just do it?”
As I listened to his frustrations I kept thinking about all his knowledge and abilities. They were all there. What was preventing him from being successful? What was holding him back? He lacked grit.
In her eye-opening book, “Grit”, Angela Duckworth explores how people can push themselves forward when they are having trouble reaching their goals. She explains the importance of having passion in what we pursue and then having the ability to stay focused and dig deeper to empower us towards success. Duckworth shares her definition of grit:
“Grit isn’t just working incredibly hard. There are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out real hard problems, it all takes time-longer than most people imagine. Then you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people.”
Here are six ways leaders can develop grit:
1. LOOK AT YOUR CORE VALUES
To become grittier, leaders first must look inwards and identify what is important to their well-being and professional development. Here are some questions leaders can ask themselves to clarify their values:
- Do I become energized being around people or by reflecting on my inner thoughts?
- Do I prefer working in large organizations or smaller companies?
- What products or services excite me?
- Do I need to work in a more nurturing workplace or one that is more self-reliant?
- What type of organizational culture fits my personality?
2. BE CLEAR ON YOUR DIRECTION
Once leaders recognize the values that drive them, they need to seek out work situations that align. For example: if you prefer to work in a team atmosphere, make sure that you are seeking work environments that value teamwork. On the other hand, if you naturally like to work independently, choose projects or companies that encourage alone time. When we want to build our grit, we need to find professional situations that allow us to be true to our values because then we can be more authentic.
3. SHOW UP TO WORK HARD
So here is the thing about growing our grit- we need to work hard at it. What does that mean? Although we may be in a great company or job or career, we still need to be our best and strive towards excellence. That could mean spending more time on a skill we aren’t as strong or developing our strengths to a higher level.
4. DELVE DEEP TO EXPLORE ALL OPTIONS
Part of being gritty, is also letting no stone go unturned. That means making sure we lead with detail and understanding. We need to ask tons of questions, perform an abundance of research and try not to jump to any premature conclusions. A leader with grit is open to honest feedback and guidance.
5. PRACTICE UNTIL MASTERY
Angela Duckworth talks a great deal about the need for people to keep practicing their skills until they are at their best. Just think of great athletes or brilliant inventors, their innate talent got them only so far but their continuous practice led them to greatness.
6. SHARE THE WEALTH
When leaders know who they are, where they are going and have worked hard to master their craft, it is important to share their accomplishments.
- Become a mentor to someone on your team
- Teach a course to share what you have discovered
- Be on a panel and part of an on-going discussion in your field
How can you become a grittier leader?
Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips
Written by: Shileen Weber
When the American Funds’ Capital Group asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.
It was client issues.
At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.
It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.
In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.
But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.
Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.
Content is King
Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.
Review what content is already available to you: Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.
Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.
The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.
Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.
Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.
Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.
Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.
Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.
The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.
Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
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