In a previous post, I talked about creating a mental picture of your future success; it’s an important first step in business planning. But your planning shouldn’t end there.
Your vision needs to be matched with your priorities.
For many financial advisors, this is another area of business planning that can be easily overlooked. When the markets are bouncing around and business seems tough, everything can become a priority. There is a tendency tinker and not simply focus on those aspects of your business that will have the greatest impact on your results.
When the markets are on an upswing and things are going well, there’s a penchant to leave “well enough” alone. Priorities can be set aside or even forgotten.
Steven Covey says,
“To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize that not doing everything that comes along is okay. There’s no need to overextend yourself. All it takes is realizing that it’s all right to say no when necessary and then focus on your highest priorities.”
I see this tendency with many financial advisors when we begin a coaching engagement. As we initially go through a process for establishing priorities, they create excruciatingly long lists. They don’t want to miss anything.
But when we stop to take the time to discuss each item, the true priorities become apparent.
Quite often there are only two or three strategies that will have a significant impact on their near-term performance. So we put these priorities in order and they go to work. They put first things first. Results quickly follow.
And new priorities become apparent.
Establishing priorities reminds of a quote I once heard attributed to Bill Gates: “Only through focus can you do world-class things, no matter how capable you are.” By focusing on priorities, you are:
- Eliminating distractions – it’s easier to say “no”.
- Giving yourself a chance to make meaningful change – changes that last.
- Allowing yourself to finish what you start – not keeping a zillion balls in the air.
- Doing something as well as it can possibly be done – truly striving for excellence.
So, with your mental picture of success firmly in place, decide on your priorities. Stay focused. Don’t waiver.
The results will surprise you!