What do you think of this theory from 32 years in corporate America, 16 of those coaching business owners and leaders in the financial industry? Successful 20+ year advisor business owners typically hit their capacity twice in their business life cycle and capacity was the primary culprit.
Plateaus Are Preventable
Plateaus in growth tend to happen when a business owner and/or financial advisor hit their capacity either personally or collectively as a small team. They didn’t see it coming or ignored the signs. Employee expectations and remote working experiences through the pandemic have only exacerbated these capacity challenges, adding more distractions. Yet they know growth is essential and press beyond the capacity where problems start showing up.
Staff gets frustrated, long hours persist, problems at home come up and clients now start to have issues. Does any of this resonate for you? At some point, they went beyond capacity and either subconsciously ignored or missed it. They missed the signs as their experience tells them to keep going.
Eventually, the pain and frustration peak to a level the subconscious wakes up and sees the reality. It’s the ‘frog in hot water’ analogy. Advisors and teams with a business coach or accountability confidante rarely find themselves here if they’re acting on those conversations.
The business owner at this point responds in one of two ways. Some will press themselves and their people to the point of burnout, turnover and/or a ton of frustration. The experience instills a fear of success where the belief “success” comes with too high a price to pursue. It’s like business owner PTSD and it leads to a stall point where he/she must recalibrate with their core values and goals in life to move forward. There must be a renewed alignment of values, vision, people, and strategy to have critical momentum to break through the plateau and accompanying “J-curve” towards more growth. It’s a brief phase in the business life cycle needed to slow down to speed up.
The business leaders who get through this “J-curve” the quickest and most effectively understand what got them here won’t likely get them beyond. For anything to change, they must change. The desire and commitment must be there to invest in themselves as business owners/leaders, not just being good technicians, marketers, or sales professionals. Next-level growth always requires new leadership skills and specialization to breakthrough. Business owners wear many hats personally and professionally. Some align with their strengths and other hats are traps for self-sabotage.
A leadership assessment like our Insight Compass is a powerful tool used to crack the code of behavior change and level up those leadership attributes needed for new growth. By unpacking all those hats leaders wear against their strengths and potential weakness, the owner’s unique personality becomes the central piece of the business strategy puzzle and others must fit to complete the picture. Alignment of processes, systems and people create a next-level growth culture where freedom and fun can be found.
One thing for certain, plateaus in growth tend to provoke a crisis of belief. Can I/we really achieve the freedom and prosperity I want in my life and WILL IT BE WORTH IT?
Not easy questions but answers lie within the capacity triangle. The capacity triangle is an ideal lifestyle, business and capacity. First, what lifestyle are you trying to create? Visualize what you want to be doing, with whom and where over the next 3-5 years. Second, is your business congruent with this or is your ego getting in the way? Yes, I said ego, like awards, conferences, industry accolades and even client kudos all vie for attention from your ego. Managing guilt, ego and stress while listening to their inner voice and source of guidance are essential for navigating capacity issues. Advisors and business owners who deserve our highest respect know success is a combination of things, and business achievements are just one of the big ones among others. Lifestyle drives the business strategy which dictates the capacity needs.
Some contemplate selling at this point because the enthusiasm and motivation are long gone. It’s time to transition the business. For others, a lifestyle business is a calculated move, and they have all the freedom and prosperity they want at this point in their lives. Then there are many others who are not done yet, they have more in the tank and don’t want to find themselves bored with a “JOB.” They want to tap into inspiration to dig a little deeper and want to realize more of their potential in all aspects of life.
What is the secret for breakthrough next-level growth? Is it becoming a great negotiator, marketer, business builder or expert in your field? Sure, it’s a mix of these things for sure but the real secret I see is having an inner desire to be better versions of oneself and getting the most out of their God-given strengths. It’s being motivated by a heightened sense of “why” that inspires them to move even more from an independent to interdependent leadership style. Then it’s about surrounding themselves with competent people who compliment them.
We Have Choices
Everyone has the choice which is an incredible gift and action is what turns it into something you enjoy. If you’re at this point in your career and business, consider taking a very quick and powerful first step. Find out the one or two things that can propel you forward or hold you back by taking this complimentary “Confident Leader Insight Assessment”. Click HERE to take this brief but powerful assessment. The report is immediate and if you have any questions about it, I’ll personally reply to your email at email@example.com or schedule a complimentary laser session to go over the key results.
How can you solve all of the problems of overcapacity in the short run? You think it is as easy as working harder and harder. After all, that is what you have always done, but in the long run, your subconscious knows this is not the answer.
Let me give you some perspective. Why is it that some advisors can manage hundreds of millions of dollars of client’s wealth with a large team of staff, client demands, who take time for their family and keep it all in check? In other words, achieve some personally comforting form of balance in their life? What is the secret to accomplishing ideal capacity?
Good habits can lead you off course
Some say it is good habits, but even good habits can lead you astray. For example, let’s say you run a successful practice, have several ideal families or clients you look after. You are disciplined to grow your financial advisory practice because of the good habits you continue to grow the business. Eventually, these good habits cause you to hit capacity, or worse, build way past capacity. Now what? Do you continue your good habits and grow your practice even when it cuts into family or personal time? Hey, when I was young and single running a practice, I just kept on working while friends were going out having a good time. I sacrificed some of my personal time in order to grow the business. We all do it. But then something gives. What then? You are pushed into a corner. You must make decisions, all with good and potentially bad consequences. Which angle do you choose? Capacity, lifestyle or business? Either way, if you choose business or lifestyle, you have not chosen to tackle capacity, unless when you choose business, you work on your business and work on tackling capacity. But I highly doubt it because it usually takes a second set of eyes to set the record straight on capacity.
Get out of your own way
Albert Einstein wrote, “The significant problems we face cannot be changed with the same level of thinking as when we created them”. So how do we change our thinking?
As Steven Covey wrote in his famous book ”7 Habits of Highly Successful People” (Simon & Schuster Publishing; Anniversary Edition (November 19, 2013), “Begin with the end in mind.” As Simon Sinek wrote in his book “Start with Why” (Portfolio Publishing; Reprint edition December 27, 2011), “What is your why? What is it all for?”
Start with the most important things first, not second or third or last, first. In my case, it was family. Everything else seemed simple after that. If you are looking for help with capacity, consider taking the assessment mentioned earlier and schedule some time for a chat. Now turn your phone or computer off and plan to focus on the most important thing first this holiday season. Trust me, the work will still be there next year.
If you would like to discuss how you can tackle capacity in 2022, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a Confident Leader Insight Call with me.