Instead, we need to focus on mentoring young consultants and developing them into great professionals. A process of building strong wealth management teams is a start. It is also important to hire junior associates into a team, who will give them the opportunity to get to know the consulting business from the ground up and create a plan for further development with an emphasis on consulting and mentoring. This can be a win-win situation, but I cannot stress enough the importance of having a well thought out plan. If this plan is a sink or swim scenario, you are not doing your new hire or yourself any favors.
If you want good people, you have to offer competitive and timely compensation. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to overpay or even meet the unrealistic expectations some people come with after lower secondary education. However, this means that you need to be competitive in your compensation structure and have a plan for the future.
Many people will accept a lower income initially knowing they will work for higher rewards in the future while working for a company that lives up to their values. But don’t take this for granted because it can work against you quickly if you get complacent and end up losing good people. I firmly believe that when you find good people, you find a way to hire and retain them. Again, don’t make the mistake of believing this is the right approach for your new hire because you’ve gotten into a sinking or swimming situation and are earning commissions from the start. The fact is, not everyone is meant to be a fully contracted consultant, and employed consultants can add significant value to your business. We need to give advisors the opportunity to be successful either way. The industry needs hunters and shepherds.
Share the cake
One of the biggest mistakes I see in consultants is their fear of sharing ownership of their company. We hold ownership so tight that we miss the exponential opportunity that can result from sharing success with others. If you have a young superstar consultant on your team, don’t be afraid to bring him into your practice as a partner. If they are a high quality person and a professional, you will make multiple returns for what you give up. If you ever intend to develop your practice a little more and multiply your worth, you must be open to letting other people in. With the right people, it will be the best decision you ever made.
The world has changed in many ways for most of us since we started our careers, and so have the expectations of the next generation of consultants. If this industry is to continue to be competitive in attracting top talent, we need to change the way we work. In all honesty, a 90% failure rate is just unacceptable and that concerns us all.