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Advisors in Transition

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There are 3 things a rider does when he jumps a fence: look up, heels down and release. The rider looks up to lead the horse beyond the fence and direct him to the next jump. If the rider focuses on the fence, the horse will stop at the jump. The rider’s heels are down to keep him balanced and stay stable in the saddle. As he approaches the fence, he releases the reins by moving them about 1/3 of the way up the horse’s neck so the horse can stretch his neck to jump without getting his mouth pinched by the bit. Rider and horse are over the fence. Exhilarating!

Many advisors should be thinking about their next jump whether it’s an internal succession or a sale to an outside firm. The exit struggle exists because advisors can’t picture what’s beyond the jump that is succession. They can’t picture their life differently than it is today so it’s easier to keep doing what they know until some next stage is evident or forced. The solution won’t just appear, you need to begin to actively visualize and create your own possible outcomes. Until you know where you are going, you will likely continue to refuse the fence and risk getting thrown.   You need to keep your head up and look beyond the jump and lead your firm over the fence into the future.

It is much easier to transfer a balanced stable firm.  Organize and systematize all the workflows for the firm. Have your team document the client care experience and the back office procedures so there is a consistency of client care and continuity of office management. Your firm’s story will be more compelling then. Keep your heels down, and you and your firm will be stable and able to jump.

Let go. Just like the rider who approaches the jump releases the reins so the horse can stretch his neck without pain. Trust your team, let them reach. You need to release and know that the advisor and firm are ready to make the jump. Look up, heels down, release! It will be an exhilarating ride!

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