On December 1, 2017, I merged my practice with Affinity Wealth Management. A lot has changed in the last year and I have learned a great deal about organizations, leadership, and most importantly myself. Here are some of the highlights.
- Recognize Change is Hard – change can be hard for everyone. Change makes people unsure of their position and with change comes a “Who Moved My Cheese” moment or series of moments. I’ve always been one to embrace change, looking at it as an opportunity to or create something better. But not everyone is quite as comfortable with it as me. I’ve certainly learned to be more “nurturing” during times of change by communicating more and getting into details and reassuring those who need to be reassured.
- It’s OK to say “I don’t know” – As a leader, I’ve always felt that when an employee asked a question that I should have an instant answer. Through coaching, I’ve learned that it’s OK to let employees know that you don’t have all the immediate answers and that they are being worked on or that particular issue is not a priority right now.
- To go fast, you need to slow down – I’m amazed about how much of a cultural, procedural and technological change we’ve been able to implement at Affinity Wealth over the last year. What allowed us to get all this done? Be very focused on the big tasks and don’t go on to the next until that one is done. I will use technology as an example – in the beginning we were trying to change too many systems at once. By focusing on one at a time – prep, transition and then ongoing training – we were able to shorten our timelines greatly and staff were more comfortable with new technology. I also have a tendency to work on 50 things at once – thereby stressing out the people around me. Narrowing my focus has helped me improve as a leader but has also allowed our staff to catch up with what’s in my head.
- Culture Matters – I think it was Peter Drucker who said, “Culture eats Processes for lunch everyday”. It couldn’t be more true. Companies need to have core values, executives within those companies need to live, teach and remind their employees of what those core values are. Hiring and firing first and foremost should be based off can this candidate/employee be a net positive to the culture the company is trying to create. I love the core values that Affinity stands for – Client, Community, Collaboration, Curiosity, Commitment, and Compassion
- Not everyone is going to get on the bus – No matter how much you nurture, train, communicate and involve your people there are some that are going to either resist or be downright negative towards the change that is coming along. What I’ve learned is that it is OK to move on from the negativity and that person, if they are not living up to the values and don’t embrace the forward-looking nature of the company. Letting someone go is the worst part of being an owner of a company but what I’ve found is that when disgruntled employees find greener pastures the entire energy of the firm rises greatly. I’ve even had employees come up to me say “what took you so long”.
Overall it’s been a great year of growth and change. I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring.