Those weren’t the words my brother and I expected to hear one Friday night when we met my 69-year-old dad at the emergency room. His skin had turned the familiar yellow color of jaundice, but early indications were that his symptoms were from something far less serious than a cancer diagnosis. That all changed over the course of the next few days.
As the hours…and eventually days…went by, my brother and I took shifts at the hospital, staying with my dad to make sure we didn’t miss any of the doctors’ visits. What you don’t realize until you’re in this type of situation, is that you never know when the doctors will come by. Each doctor has a different schedule, those schedules aren’t published anywhere and they are always subject to change. Day after day then turn into a constant waiting game, that you have no choice but to play. My brother and I waited for almost a week, through multiple tests and a change of hospitals, just to get a diagnosis.
When the oncologist gave us the news, my mind went blank – all of the appointments, calls and to-do items were gone. For the entire week, I walked around in a fog. Whether it was about work “stuff” or my kids’ sports schedules, no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t focus or concentrate.
During that week, I didn’t step foot in my office. Suffice it to say, this was far from my normal behavior. This week though, I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Between trying to be there for my dad and keeping up with my responsibilities to my wife and kids at home, I simply didn’t have anything left to give.
Fortunately for me, I experienced the most important reason for building a team (which also happens to be the one no one talks about.) That reason, is the sense of security you feel when you become the client for a little while.
I often talk to clients about self-care and the need to follow the advice of flight attendants when they say, “please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” Without the confidence of having a team in place, I’m not sure I could have followed my own advice during this difficult time.
When my partners and I teamed up in 1998, we each brought a specific set of benefits to the table that made us more efficient and effective as a whole. Those specialized skills allowed each of us to focus on our particular areas of interest, and to build a team that focused on maximizing growth potential. Over the past two decades though, creating and building our team has also led to another added benefit – having people there for you and your family, when the unexpected happens to you.
As advisors, we help clients prepare for their futures. We take the time to understand their goals and dreams and to create plans that help them achieve those goals. What I had never really considered though, was what might happen if it was time for my clients to realize their goals, but I had something going on personally that prevented me from being there to facilitate the realization of those dreams.
As a 43-year-old advisor with clients who are 15 to 20 years older than me, I just always kind of assumed that I would be personally available to help in any transitions they encountered. Yet here I was, preoccupied with my own family situation, and knowing that my clients’ lives weren’t going to stop in the meantime. My only comfort in my inability to help, was that I had partners and an amazing team who could.
Despite the chaos in my personal life, I knew that the systems my partners and I had in place, and the team that we had built, could manage without me. While I was dealing with a family issue, my clients were still putting children through school, planning for summer weddings and getting ready for their retirement. While I was away, my clients and their plans never skipped a beat.
As advisors, our clients come to us for confidence and reassurance. But when life happens to us as the advisor, it can be hard to provide something that (at least in the short run,) you don’t even have yourself. That’s where the greatest benefit of having a team comes in. A well-built team creates continuity of care for your business, your clients and when you need it the most- for you.
– Chip Munn
Our Advisor Success Scorecard is a great way to self-scout your practice and can create ways to measure things that you may not have found a way to quantify before.
Download the single most important marketing, selling and positioning tool for your practice now:
Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.