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The role a compelling vision plays in firm performance

Oct 21, 2021

Editor’s note: This article is the first in a seven-part series on how to optimize the performance of your wealth and asset management firm.

Many wealth and asset management firms have a compelling vision: an idea that motivates people to become part of something important. Others have a strong strategy for growth, modernization or other goals.

But for sustainable success, firm leaders must marry both components in a way that excites your team and helps your organization reach its full potential.

A compelling, focused vision includes the four Ps:

  • People
  • Picture
  • Plan
  • Process

If a firm has the four Ps in place, it has a compelling vision — and a plan that fits that vision seamlessly.

1. People

Achieving your vision can feel personal, especially if you’re the owner of your firm. But a successful vision requires a full team effort; you won’t get there on your own.

Involving associates from all levels is an indispensable step in crafting your vision, and one that too many firms neglect.

By giving employees a personal stake in your vision, you motivate them to help you achieve it.

Often, that means incorporating input from four generations of workers. Although doing so can be a challenge, it can also help you balance fresh, bold perspectives with seasoned expertise.

For a vision to be compelling, it must engage the hearts and minds of your entire enterprise.

2. Picture

Keep the big picture in mind by first making sure you set aside time to focus solely on your vision. Crafting a solid vision isn’t something you can do in 30-minute bursts in between clearing out your inbox and putting out fires.

To see the big picture and craft a bold vision, you have to step back from the daily obligations and distractions and envision how you want to transform the firm.

To help you establish at least a dozen specific goals or contexts for success, ask yourself:

  • Where do you want your organization to be in one, three, five and 10 years?
  • What place do you want to have in the firm at those points in time?
  • What influence do you want it to have in the industry? In your community? In the lives of your employees, shareholders and clients?
  • What will excite and inspire your employees?
  • What does growth mean to you?

A big, bold picture of the firm’s future gets people excited about the potential of the organization — and their careers at the firm.

Your chances for success climb the more you can connect your business objectives with both rational and emotional reasons for action. Firms that operate in prime excel at connecting the head and the heart to create something that interlinks purpose, cause and passion with the necessary steps to achieve them.

3. Plan

You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Strategic planning is a must if you want to bring your vision to life.

Start by developing three or four specific strategic initiatives that promote your vision. Perhaps one initiative is to deliver client excellence. Another might be to develop your people.

Here’s where prioritizing collaboration and gathering input across the enterprise is most important. You need information from employees at all levels to get a clear view of how — and how well — each part of the system works with and for your clients.

What complaints are your client relationship managers and service representatives hearing? What support does your business development team need? The answers will help to inform your initiatives and overall strategy.

4. Process

You’ve got your vision, your team is on board and you’ve got a strategic plan that supports that vision.

Now it’s time to establish the process by which you’re going to implement and measure the steps to achieve your vision.

To get started, assemble small, dedicated “theme teams” to develop and implement activities and accountability around each initiative.

  • As you select participants in the visioning and strategy process, ask them to provide a dozen or so points of context on which to focus. These might include projected revenues, projected profits, new markets, growth targets and other achievements.
  • To help keep your team motivated, divide your firm’s vision into short-term goals. For example, if you want to reach a revenue target in three years, determine how much of that increase needs to occur in year one. The idea is to come up with a complete series of annual goals that build up to a three-year vision.
  • Also establish 90-day activities that progress individual teams toward each goal. These focused, 90-day pulse periods help to prevent burnout and give your teams a way to course-correct quickly. After each period, lead the teams in an evaluation of how they did and establish activities for the next pulse period.
  • Create accountability by assigning activities to a person or group. Widespread accountability helps to fuel that progress.

Don’t forget to build in some type of reward system to thank and incentivize employees to bring their best ideas to the table and to follow through on their assigned actions. 

About our prime series

Prime is a state of being that occurs when your firm’s strategy, leadership, associates, technology and operations are aligned to deliver exceptional business outcomes. Our series covers the key steps to help you get there. In addition, see our additional articles on:


Paul Leroue
Chief Marketing Officer and Principal
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