The Biggest Killer of Motivation Is . . .

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Success.

Really?

The first time I heard this quote, I was surprised. After all, who would guess that success could have a negative effect on motivation? But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

How many times have you heard an adviser say, “It worked so well I quit doing it”? Once the struggles of the first few years in the business are behind them, it’s not usual for more experienced advisers to stop doing some of the things that made them successful in the first place.

This can be especially true when it comes to focusing on top-line growth. A great example is the practice of asking clients for introductions to others. As advisers become increasingly successful, many seem to forget about the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to grow their business.

Have You Made a Conscious Decision about Growth?
Who’s to say when a firm should continue growing and when it’s fine to stop? Especially in the independent world, ongoing growth is a matter of choice. If an adviser’s own perception is that he or she is successful, is there really a need to continually focus on growth?

It may not matter if you consciously choose to create a lifestyle practice, where the top line is secondary to lifestyle choices. The trouble comes when you change course without even realizing it. Eventually, you may be surprised to discover that the firm’s top line is declining.

The scenario isn’t difficult to imagine: One day, you realize that an increasing number of clients are passing away, most of your remaining clients are in distribution mode, and you haven’t brought in enough new clients to replace the assets leaving the firm. At the same time, you discover that you’re “out of shape” in terms of doing the activities required to sustain long-term growth. On top of that, imagine that you begin to experience client attrition because you have no succession plan, and new clients want a long-term relationship with their advisory firm.

The moral here is that we should never take success for granted. While advisers may choose to back off growth for a slower pace, some level of growth is essential to a business’s long-term health and vitality.

Joni YoungwirthJoni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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