Although we advisors lead busy lives, it is important to go beyond our practices and into our communities to learn valuable leadership lessons. Time and availability are the largest barriers for extracurricular involvement. However, advisors who effectively manage their time have more capacity to engage with the community than they may realize.
Seek servant leadership opportunities that align with your passions, such as running for a political office, volunteering at shelters, coaching a local sports team or helping out at schools. Advisors who lead in their practice and in their community will develop new and stronger relationships, enhance their leadership skills and elevate their careers.
Translate Prospecting Skills Into Community-Based Networking
Use the prospecting skills you’ve developed as an advisor to build a servant leadership presence within a community. Successful prospecting does not always take place in an office. Similarly, you should meet the members of the community where they are to listen to their thoughts and learn their needs. A more approachable environment will allow all parties to be heard and understood. When you reach out to community members or prospects, you may be vulnerable to rejection, so you will need to rise above any negativity and prepare for objections to your professional or community goals.
Ethical advisors treat every prospect equally — no matter who has potential to become a client. Likewise, servant leaders act in the interests of their community with a degree of uncertainty about the result. For example, a servant leader can pursue a political position despite the unpredictable election results.
Focus on the improvements you can make within your community. Even if you do not convert a prospect to a client or win every vote, each interaction is a way to earn recognition and promote your purpose.
Serve Your Clients And Community With Strong Leadership
Advisors often look to mentors, other professionals or motivational speakers for best practices to apply to their professional and personal lives. Leading advisors should take advice and adapt it to their unique goals.
Differentiate your practice and do not confine yourself to a certain set of clients or an outdated procedure. Translate this concept into your community outreach efforts and explore all opportunities to serve a diverse set of people within the community. Find a unique opportunity or a gap that you can work to fill through servant leadership.
Similar to how advisors prepare for client meetings and research ahead of time, serve your community in a meaningful and deliberate way. Put your community’s needs above your own and strive to make an impact – just as you prioritize your clients’ best interests.
Reflect Back On Leadership Experiences
A good leader takes the opportunity to reflect back on past experiences and apply relevant lessons in their personal, professional and public lives. For example, one day, I journaled about the nine lessons I learned from my political campaign that I can apply to my practice.
1. We have more capacity to serve others than we think.
2. Follow your purpose without knowing the outcome.
3. Meet others where they are and listen to them.
4. Be who you are and not who others want you to be.
5. Rise above the collective silliness and negativity.
6. Be prepared and thoughtful.
7. Do things others aren’t willing to do.
8. Have fun in the process.
9. Always do the next right thing.
Professional networks such as the Million Dollar Round Table can provide financial advisors with the inspiration and encouragement to maintain a successful practice and simultaneously engage in community outreach. Many associations offer members the opportunity to volunteer and donate to charitable causes through established programs like the MDRT Foundation. Through these networks, you can learn from other advisors’ successes and use community outreach as motivation for greater leadership in your professional life.
Although it can be difficult to balance a professional, public and personal life, it is essential for advisors to become involved in their communities and put their leadership skills into practice. Servant leadership is a perpetual effort in which actions may end, but their impact is ongoing. This circular motion enables you to make a difference in your community and satisfy any greater purposes you may strive to fulfill.
After you become a community leader, you can use the same skills to become a leader within your practice and earn the respect and trust of your clients.
Adam Solano, LACP, CRPC, is past president of NAIFA-Chicago and NAIFA-Illinois. He is a 21-year member of the Million Dollar Round Table and a 13-time Court of the Table qualifier. In 2015, he was featured on MDRT’s main platform in a session titled “MDRT Speaks.” Adam may be contacted at [email protected]