Increasing Team Productivity in Just One Hour

Gary Weinlein, CLU, ChFC, BFA™, Practice Consulting Regional Director
February 15, 2019

Time is a precious commodity that it just seems like there isn’t enough of, now more than ever. Whether it’s more time to spend with family or in front of clients, it’s hard to argue that having a well-coordinated team can help you be more intentional about managing time. Over the years in working with many advisors and firms, one of the areas I can pinpoint in making a significant impact on successful firms is the weekly meeting. Not just any meeting, I’m talking about a meeting that is purposeful and intentional. It’s not too long, but packs a lot of focus for you and your entire organization.

No one ever sets out to have a meeting that doesn’t accomplish much, but sometimes we end up landing there if we’re not intentional in the planning process. Let’s look at some of the best practices that apply to setting up the structure of this meeting when you’re putting it into place. Then, as you begin to make this a regular occurrence, you can tweak and adjust to make it fit your firm’s goals and culture. 

Let’s first begin with the meeting structure.

  • The advisor should not be the one to run the meeting if possible. Typically, when the advisor runs the meeting, they tend to get off course, last too long and/or does not get the result they were seeking. So, we want to establish a meeting leader. This person is going to make sure that you start on time, end on time and stay on topic. Typically, this would be someone on your team that has an outgoing personality and doesn’t mind speaking up. This person is not responsible for preparing all the content of the meeting, just the facilitation of it.
  • The meeting should be the same day and time each week. Of course, everyone’s calendar is unique; however, Monday mornings tend to work well. Running this type of meeting later in the day increases the probability that something will come up, and it will fall off the calendar. The challenge with having these meetings on Friday is that team members might fall into the weekend mentality and not be as present as earlier in the week, and likely wouldn’t retain all the information over the weekend anyway. Try not to move the meeting for rescheduling purposes often. While it’s sometimes unavoidable, if you don’t treat the meeting as a priority, your team won’t either.

As I mentioned before, try your weekly meeting under this format for a couple weeks, and then tweak and adjust from there to fit your organization.

Now let’s get into the actual agenda content to be covered in the meeting.

  • Start the meeting with positive focus: Collectively, the team comes up with positive happenings either in their business or in their personal lives to kick things off. This will have a twofold effect: it will allow you to stay connected to your team, and it will also allow your team to stay focused on the positive things instead of on the negative. This is a quick exercise. It should take around five to ten minutes, depending on team size.
  • Production report: Does your team know your production goals? Often I find that a lot of team members don’t know the production goals, and if they don’t know the goals, how are they going to help you get there? This item shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes as well. You want to keep it simple: “Here’s where we’re at for the month, and here’s where we should be.” It’s a high-level review for you and your team to know if you’re on track for your goals.
  • Open prospect pipeline: This list should include your A+ prospects and where they’re at in your process. This list might identify whether they’re in discovery or implementation part of your process, or maybe there are prospects who have fallen off the radar due to a cancelation and no subsequent reschedule or something similar. This will prevent this situation from creating a prospect who falls through the cracks. This pipeline should also include an estimate of the total dollar amount for all of those prospects. As part of this process, identify at least two names on this list and figure out a way to uniquely touch that prospect. Maybe it’s a book, maybe it’s an article, a magazine, a personal note or some combination of the above – adding that personal touch can make all the difference in the world.
  • Discussion of the marketing efforts and initiatives underway: For the purposes of this meeting, the marketing commentary should be high-level delivered by either you or the person on the team responsible for marketing initiatives. For example, “Here is the progress we’ve made for our upcoming seminar; here’s how many folks have RSVP’d. Our newsletter is going out next week.” If RSVP’s are low, the whole team can get on board and help drive prospects by reaching out. This agenda item will ensure that there is enough lead time to get ahead of any potential marketing issue or challenge.
  • Review of the calendar: Start by taking a look back over the previous week. Review all the appointments had last week, and make sure they all have forward motion. Then, take a look at the current week and make sure that everyone is prepped and ready to go. Finally, take a look at the following week just to help you as the advisor get your head around everything that’s coming up.
  • Pending business report: This would include all of the applications that have been signed but not delivered or transferred yet. It’s especially important at this point to identify any cases that have been sitting for more than a month and collaborate with the team on how to get this business pushed through. Again the goal here is to make sure nothing slips through the cracks and stay on top of any potential challenges.
  • End the meeting with the top three accomplishments for each team member, including you the advisor: Everyone goes around the table and so assigns the three most critical things they need to get done in the week. The following week, they report back on whether they were able to get those things done or not, and if not, the important point is to identify why. Everyone is capable of getting three things done in a given week. If that’s not possible, something is wrong. Is it too many interruptions? Is it tax season? Is the marketing department buried? You don’t know there’s a problem until you start identifying it and tracking it.

By following a weekly meeting agenda like this, it gives your firm a nice balance of “in the business” and “on the business” focus. Try to keep the meeting to an hour. Depending on firm size and activity, this might be easier or more difficult, but as long as you’re staying on task as a team, the time spent will be valuable and will help both you and your team prioritize the rest of the week more effectively.

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