By: Michelle Hoskin, Standards International
We’ve talked about striving for excellence and how excellence should really be the only standard! But, like I said (in my session!), achieving excellence is not a one-man (or woman!) job! It takes a collaborative approach, pulling in all of the best qualities of the people around you!
So, what are those essential and key principles and behaviours that sort the wheat from the chaff, that pick out the valuable from the useless and the thriving from the surviving? What are those characteristics that you need in your team kit bag?
Let’s take a look and just before we do, I’d like to say I don’t consider any of these as desirable: in my mind they are essential and should be considered the bare minimum for every team member in every financial advisory and planning firm in the world – without exception!
- Professionalism – this kind of goes without saying, but you have to love this profession and everything that it stands for more than life itself.
- Moral values and ethics – a person’s moral compass has to be bang on point. No wavering from the innate desire to do things right for the right reasons. Can this be taught? I am not sure it can… but when you look hard enough you will find it and only then can you harness its power to unleash its potential.
- Honesty and integrity – we always talk about this as a ‘must have’ but I rarely see this being set as a benchmark during the hiring process. Sadly, people can be dishonest for various reasons, so we need to flush these people out before we even let them in. Integrity on the other hand is a whole different kettle of fish and in my opinion is right up there with the need to breathe!
- Dependability and accuracy – they have to care about what they are doing and how they are doing it. No cutting corners, no broken promises. Dependability and accuracy build trust and without trust there is nothing.
- Priority of the client’s interests – not just your customers but also any other person you’re serving in any given moment. That could be a fellow team member, the boss or one of your firm’s clients. Service can turn into serving, when done right, by the right person!
- Due care and diligence – this links to some of the qualities above. We should always come back to care and attention to detail. There is nothing more frustrating than a person who just can’t be bothered to do the job properly.
- Compliance – we can’t escape it! It’s our essential baseline platform which we have to meet. An appreciation of the rules and a willingness to follow them goes a long way!
- Confidence – a confident person will have no problem with raising a concern or flagging an issue head on! Confidence is a massive quality which goes a long way to make for a fruitful contribution to the success of any team.
- Communication – the key to happiness, the key to trust, the key to successful relationships and a happy team! It’s good to talk and even more so when it’s constructive, fluid and free flowing.
- Objectivity – a balanced view is a healthy view. It is essential that we have people who see things from other people’s points of view and who can appreciate other perspectives. No one wants to be ranted at by a person on their high horse or their soapbox – and that includes the boss!
- Confidentiality – we talk about some serious and extremely private stuff. A business’s intellectual property (IP) and the affairs of the clients are top secret and should be kept that way.
- Disclosure – this is similar to honesty. You have to be happy to speak out and be confident to say what’s on your mind, what may have gone wrong or what you have seen as a potential issue.
- Competence – if you need the skills, learn then; if you don’t have them, don’t say you do! You have to have the right skills to do the job in the right way and at the right time. People’s true abilities and skills show their face eventually, so not knowing everything is not a weakness, it’s a platform – you can build on what you have and achieve your best!
When demonstrated, these characteristics and behaviours are essential in defining the whole person – and when these key qualities are not just met but exceeded, I believe excellence will become a reality.
So, factor these into your recruitment process, your team profiling, and your appraisal and development programmes. Set them as your internal benchmarks for behaviours and achieve excellence as your standard!