Getting Your Team to Buy In To Your Vision
There’s an old saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It carries real wisdom, especially for the financial advisor. It’s every leader’s challenge, but few seem to have unlocked this question: how do I get my team to buy into my vision for the business?
The truth is that your vision is just that: a vision. Without the right support, your vision will struggle to become a polished reality. You’re not just an advisor with goals to grow your practice. You’re a leader who needs reliable excellence to support your picture of the future. Thankfully, it’s not about luck – it’s about your leadership.
That’s why today we’re diving into a crucial component of becoming a leader that knows how to sharpen the value of your team. To lead them in a way that fosters a sense of ownership and creativity. If you’re an advisor who wants to turn your staff into your most reliable asset, keep reading.
The Vision–Execution Gap
Advisors know the routine well. You go to a conference or seminar, and you come back with fresh ideas and inspiration for the future of your practice. You walk into the office excitedly, but your team is more on the hesitant side. They don’t always share your excitement; worse, they’re nervous about the increased workload your new vision will likely require.
If we’re not careful, our business might look like a road trip – one person in the driver’s seat with everyone else strapped in for the ride. If you want to drive meaningful business growth, your employees need an actual seat at the “creative table”. If this sounds familiar, stick around. It might not be a conference, but the gap between an advisor’s vision and their team’s support is all too common. And it’s up to you to make a difference.
As much as you may wish it, your team won’t just become a creative, eager, and self-motivated bunch overnight–or by accident. So how can you help them get there?
Open Up Collaborative Decision Making
If your excitement doesn’t get your team to buy into the vision, what will? One of the central answers is participation. When people have a chance to participate in decisions, it gives them their own opportunity to build excitement and trust in the direction. For the vision to be sustained, those two ingredients are necessary.
What If My Team Won’t Take Ownership?
In some cases, you may give your team the opportunity to participate, and you may be disappointed in the feedback (or lack of it). When you do give your team the opportunity, how can you get them to be more invested in the discussion?
To borrow from a famous phrase, “It’s not you. It’s me.” In more cases than we like to admit, our teams’ lack of participation may be more a result of our leadership style than their lack of initiative. This is where we hit an important truth: how you invite people into your vision is more important than just inviting them. Here are a few ways that you can help coax more invested participation out of your team.
GIVE FREEDOM TO SPEAK CANDIDLY.
While your team may need to grow thicker skin from time to time, there’s another side to this coin. When your team is scared of hurting your feelings – and facing the consequences – because of honest feedback, you’ve immediately handicapped your ability to improve. Decide to be ok with your team disagreeing with you and be willing to be corrected in the process. Even if you don’t think you’re wrong, you still get a sober assessment of where your team isn’t on board with your plan.
DON’T IMMEDIATELY DISMISS IDEAS.
One of the fastest ways to disengage your staff is to dismiss their ideas consistently. If your staff feels unappreciated or misunderstood, you chip away at their willingness to bring you their creative ideas. Give your team members the opportunity to flesh out their thinking and develop their own critical thinking skills. Don’t immediately shut down ideas.
BE WILLING TO IMPLEMENT THEIR IDEAS.
As a leader, you might not always trust your team’s ideas, especially if the stakes are high. I would encourage you though, where the stakes are lower, to be willing to implement their insight (even if it’s not exactly how you would have done it). As you and your employees get practice sharing and implementing ideas, their capacity for creativity will accelerate rapidly. And that’s well worth some discomfort on your part.
DON’T BE APOCALYPTIC.
You often carry more weight on your shoulders than your team is aware. One of the fastest ways to crush creativity is to put the full weight of a crisis on them. If there’s an urgent situation where you need their creative juices flowing, be honest, but posture your prompts positively. Rather than blurting out, “Our lease is being canceled and we need to find a new space right away!!” — posture it as, “What would you want in an office space if we had to move?” Get the idea? One produces panic, and the other produces insight.
A Healthy Creative Process Delivers Better Creative Results
If you try these ideas, don’t be discouraged if they don’t change your team overnight. A bumpy take-off is still a take-off when given enough runway. Be ready to make this collaborative approach a part of your culture, not just an item on the calendar.
If your team gets regular “exercise” of that muscle, it gets stronger. It may be atrophied to start, but you can cultivate that strength given time and consistency. And on rough days, know that the goal is worth it. Your practice will flourish when your team is marked by excellence, reliability, and ownership.