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Expectations vs. Agreements

Most advisors face one or both of these challenges as their business grows:

(1) Getting in front of enough qualified prospects; and

(2) Building and working with a team that can support their growth

While many of the the advisors and agents who have reached out to me over the years have been looking for help with the first of these, more and more I find myself talking with advisors who have more business than they can handle and can’t get production out of their assistant or team.  

They end up disappointed and doing the work that the assistant should be doing. Applications are not prepared, money isn’t moved and tasks like filing a Change of Beneficiary form get pushed off until they’re 5 weeks behind. 

If you have business opportunities that are on hold because you’re doing the paperwork, followup, appointment-setting with existing clients, marketing, or anything else that could be done by someone else, you’re depriving yourself of the opportunity to grow your business.

But how do you delegate these other tasks in a way that ensures they will be done right and on time?

Stop expecting and being disappointed. Make clear agreements instead.

Management by expectation will almost always lead to disappointment. If you’re expecting that a task will be given priority but your assistant doesn’t know that, your expectation that they would understand the urgency of this task and give it priority will usually result in disappointment.

Often, I’ll hear an advisor say, “It’s just common sense that this needed to be done first (or submitted somewhere, or whatever).” My usual reply is that there is no such thing as common sense. Your sense may have been that this item should have been given priority. Their sense was that they already had priority tasks and this just was meant to be added to the pile.

When you assign something to an assistant, take these steps:

1. Explain what you want, when you want it by, and when and how you want progress reported to you.

2. Ask what might be in the way of that happening.

3. Ask if there’s anything they need to complete the task as explained, including anything they need from you.

4. Ask if they will agree to the terms of the assignment.

When you have an expectation, there can be reasons that what you wanted doesn’t come in the time frame and in the form in which you wanted it. When there’s an explicit agreement, however, failure to give you what you want is breach of that agreement. It rises to a much higher level of importance to your team and is more likely to be done in the way—and in the timeframe—you were hoping for.  

You’ll also want to calendar your own follow up so that the task doesn’t fall through the cracks. And it may help you to have your assistant email you to confirm the details of the assignment. 

I can help you perfect your systems and get more out of your team. Contact me and we’ll set up a conversation.

Manage by Agreement, not Expectation, and keep REACHING…

16 Disciplines

I suppose it would have been more fun if I called them 16 “hot tubs” for advisors, or less intimidating if I called them “practices,” but after 17 years of working with and observing how the most successful advisors, it's clear that there are branches of knowledge involved. 


Practice these simple 16 disciplines daily and watch how quickly and easily your practice grows.

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