Hannah: Thanks for joining us today Jarrod.
Jarrod: Thanks Hannah, I really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to catching up.
Hannah: You have such an interesting career, and I’ve known you for it feels like many years now, but you just recently made a transition about six months ago into the consulting world. I know when you were looking at making that change, we had some conversations and you were really interested in that COO, the chief operating officer, of a firm. I’m curious, for people who are listening to this and looking at the alternative career paths, what made you interested in the COO role, and then when along your career path really made you qualified to potentially step into a COO role?
Jarrod: That’s a really interesting question. Pursuing a COO path from an advisory standpoint is probably not the typical path most people seek, especially when they’re coming out of college and from what I’ve seen a lot of them want to go be an advisor or a planner of some sort. For me, part of my love of doing what I’m doing today has been really supporting the people that I’m around. I just tend to be very aligned from an operational standpoint. My passion has stepped more from a outside advisory role with an RA into both a consulting position but also a COO position.
Jarrod: It was really about being able to one, work with an organization and be able to build the operations to support the passion of what we’re doing. What our company’s doing today is we’re helping advisors. To do that, you’ve gotta have good system, you have to have good processes, and ultimately then you have to have good people. I look at the operational responsibility as aligning that. That’s one of the things I feel that I’ve been blessed with. Previously, my experiences, all the way back from even when I was a kid, have helped me to align to think things through an operational process. Secondly, I say, again, really great operation/COO people also can take the strategic and communicate it and be able to then translate it into the tactical as well. It’s being able to go back and forth between those two things when you’re thinking about an organizational infrastructure.
Hannah: In your past roles, were you in a position to be in that COO role?
Jarrod: Yes, I’ve done the work in various capacities throughout my entire career, all the way from leading people, implementing and developing projects, working through operational process design, managing and overseeing client experience enhancements. Really true when you think about anyone that is running operations, their whole goal is to align an organization to run as seamlessly as possible. They’re the support. They’re helping the advisors, the sales people really to look great. Because if they’re out selling, if they’re out working with the end clients, and they close the business or bring in the client then at that point, we all wanna have a great experience. How do you actually take the vision and interpret it into reality so you’ve got that organization?
Jarrod: One analogy I love to use is about building a house. Building a house, most people I know love to go pick out paint or looking at what’s gonna go into their kitchen. However, if you don’t have working plumbing, electricity, or a good foundation, it’s not gonna matter what type of paint or kitchen fixtures you’re gonna put into your house because they’re not gonna run properly. Really, to make things work well on the outside, you’ve gotta have everything built from a strong infrastructure. So, I look at my role as being able to support that infrastructure, and I get a lot of pride in that. Pride in seeing things work well, but two supporting the people that are making it work. Seeing them grow and develop and be successful in their careers.
Hannah: I’m listening to all this, I’m like I totally see the value. Probably because the COO role is not my personal strong suit, I’m curious. We look at different firms, and really from a business side of it, especially from the perspective of new planners entering the profession, what is a point where really a COO is appropriate hire for a firm? Or maybe what are the different indicators that a COO is needed or somebody dedicated to that operation side?
Jarrod: It’s gonna vary from organization to organization. A lot of it is gonna be based on level of complexity and level of ability of the people in the firm. If you’re looking at a progression of a COO role, whether you’re developing someone internally versus bringing someone externally, a lot of times a newer firm, they may need an operations manager or maybe a client services manager and then for a medium or a growing firm may move into more of a director of operations role, and/or a large organization ultimately moving into a COO or chief operating officer. With the inflection points of different firms, it’s really gonna be based on the level of complexity and of breadth that the firm is supporting and serving. When you’re a smaller firm and you have less people that you need to serve and maybe the founder can be more involved in the day to day, you may not need, necessarily, a COO role. You may need, again, a really strong operations manager or even a director of operations.
Jarrod: But as you grow … And that inflection point will vary. It’s typically gonna be in the $4 million in revenue onwards up to around $8 million to $10 million in revenue. I know that’s a pretty wide array for a true COO role. The reason why is that really qualified COOs aren’t cheap. So, you’ve gotta have the revenue to support to bring someone in or promote someone from within. Often, they’ll have a really varied and expansive background in being able to take that intellectual and technological horsepower and put it to work. You need to have an organization that’s gonna be one, able to afford it, but two, have the need for it from the complexity standpoint. Whereas a director of operations can be someone that is in a $1 million to $2 million firm on up to, again, a $4 million to $7 million firm, and they can still be close to a COO, but they’re gonna be much more engaged operationally. Maybe not as much on the strategic standpoint.
Hannah: It’s really exciting to hear you talk about this operations career path. It can also be a lucrative career path. You’re not just gonna always be at a certain level. There really is growth and salary growth potential.
Jarrod: Absolutely. It’s like anything else in life. If you have a line of sight and you’re looking towards that development and you wanna improve yourself and you’re bringing value to the company, and you’ve gotta get in a good company culture, financially it’s gonna follow. I think back to a story my dad told me growing up. He said pick a role, pick a career that you’re passionate about. Financially, you’ll be rewarded. Financially, it’ll follow. When I’ve worked with younger individuals or people in various stages of their career, they’re looking at money first. They may be in a job they absolutely hate, they don’t like. It’s really sad to see people that are in those types of positions, whereas just picking that passion that is helping them to take them where they wanna go. The money will ultimately follow. That would be my one piece of advice, is find something you’re passionate about. Not every day is gonna be great, but if you’re still working towards that goal, eventually the financial rewards will become apparent.
Hannah: You mentioned the skillsets of the people in the firm. For the listeners to this podcast right now, what are ways that they can be developing their operational skillset?
Jarrod: With an operation skillset, you’ve gotta be a bit of a jack of all trades to a degree. Don’t be afraid to try things out of your wheelhouse. Learn as much as you can. I would say folks that may be coming out of a financial planning program, if you have a really strong desire, you like working in the operations, maybe more the back office structure, it’s still a great idea to pursue advanced education. Getting your CFP, pursuing even an advanced degree like an MBA of sorts. Trying a lot of different things. Because when you move up into those higher level roles, like a dealer role or in the COO role, you’ve gotta be able to see the connections between different things. That inter-connectiveness of the firm is not gonna be just singular. It’s how do pieces work together.
Jarrod: One way to think about it is like a puzzle. We see a puzzle piece, we can see it for what it is. Sometimes in our careers, we only ever see that piece. When you start getting into the strategic portion of your career and in that, again, that COO role, it’s being able to take the puzzle pieces and put them together. Sometimes you see how they can fit with other pieces still, to make the picture become more alive or more vibrant in color based on where you’re wanting to go. Long story to your question Hannah is try lots of different roles. Figure out what makes an organization work from soup to nuts. And don’t ever be afraid to continue to learn. Just because you graduate or get your CFP or your MBA or whatnot, have that lifelong learning, that pursuit of education. Because it will help you from any career you choose, and most definitely in an operations path.
Hannah: For the people listening to this who are really focused on financial planning and they’re like I know that I wanna be a lead financial planner, what would be your advice to them, especially on the operations side of it?
Jarrod: That’s really interesting. With financial planners, I know for me when I first got out and got my CFP, I was so focused on I wanna go serve clients. I want to go help them and run a financial plan and explain the Monte Carlo and things that are involved with the financial planning. Where sometimes I felt I was shortsighted is I didn’t understand what happens once I hand that plan in. So, if you’re a financial planner and you may wanna be your own business owner, maybe you’re a business owner now, seeing all the pieces behind, because to actually can help you engage your client more deeply. If you’re able to explain the process or if a glitch happens, and glitches happen in life, it’s being able to go in and maintain that confidence with your client so that one, you can explain it to them, but then you can follow up and follow through on any of the back office transaction needs or the back office technology needs still to make sure your client is engaged and that you’re still representing their best values.
Hannah: One thing I’m really passionate about, especially with newer planners, is that you really need to understand the dynamics of the business that you’re working in. I’m curious, from your perspective, especially now as you’re consulting other firms and you’re getting that inside look into different financial planning firms, what is it that new planners need to be aware of or different indicators they need to be looking at as they’re starting in these firms and working through their career path?
Jarrod: If you’re new into your career and you’re new into a firm, one thing I would recommend is, and I’ve done this in prior organizations, is to go and spend time shadowing with each member of the organization. Coffee’s not a terribly expensive thing for us to purchase or take someone out. Go and take your peers out for a cup of coffee. Or bring them a cup of coffee. A Starbucks. That time will be very well spent. And there’s a great book that I would recommend anyone read. It’s by Dale Carnegie, it’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. That book talks about principle. It’s about really getting to know people, taking time out and to learn what they do. Be caring about what they do, want to understand what they do.
Jarrod: That will help you, in whatever path you’re wanting to take, to be more well rounded and have that deeper interconnection and understanding. Also, what it does for newer planners or newer individuals into a firm, you start figuring out what areas you like and what areas you don’t like. That can save you time and months if not years in your pursuit of your career, by figuring that out. If you figure it out earlier, just because you take a little bit of extra time, you spend some time with the folks around you, find out what makes them tick and what got them where they’re at, it can really help to enhance a career in any capacity in the financial services industry by doing just a simple thing as having a cup of coffee with someone.
Hannah: One of the best things around financial planning and is career paths, and thankfully it is. We need firms to be building up career paths. What are you seeing as the trends in career paths or what are you seeing happening in that space right now?
Jarrod: In career paths, there’s still a pretty broad gap. A lot of firms I’ve spoken with, they know that they want to get to a career path with their organization, but they’re not sure how. Often, one of the things I’ve seen has been they’ve not ever done it before. A lot of organizations, they may have, again, read a study, but they’ve not really implemented a true career path. When you’re thinking about a career path, you need to have, really there’s three key things. One, you need to have the purpose of the path. Where are we getting to? What’s the end goal? Two, what are the levels? Really, thinking about game of finance. If anybody has ever played video games or board games or whatever, there’s different levels. That also will really resonate to the millennial audience. At this level, at a financial planner level one, you need to have this type of job role and responsibility and skillset, and then ultimately you hop to level two. Game of finance and having the levels, that point, so that clarity of purpose and alignment.
Jarrod: The second one is have it with intention. So often one of the things I’ve seen with firms is they go in, they’ll bring someone in, they have a great idea of wanting to have a career path, but they don’t always necessarily follow through on it. That’s where you start seeing individuals, and I’ve seen it as well, where they become disengaged or disenfranchised because they’ve been somewhere for two, three, four years and they’re not seeing any momentum or growth, necessarily. And they sometimes will leave. Again, that needs to be shared on both sides by engaging your manager or senior advisor, but I’d also say for any senior advisors listening, also engage your millennials. Really asking where do you wanna go? What would you like to do? Getting that information out of them.
Jarrod: Really, the third area, what I would say, is gonna be on follow through with action. Words are cheap. Action is really where the heart of it is. By following through on that action, whether it’s you set a commitment, you actually follow through and deliver, and that’s on both sides. If you’re newer in the industry and you’re like I’m gonna get my CFP, I’m gonna go do all the things that my boss or senior advisor says that I need to do, and I’m proactively engaging with them, I’m following through on it. I’d say the opposite is true if you’re committing to hiring someone and bringing them in and you set action items or deliverables they need to accomplish, when they do, reward them. Whether that’s with a title, whether that’s with a monetary compensation, or whether that’s with some new type of responsibility or project. I’d say that those areas are still the same things that I see today and it’s often harder to implement a career path because it needs those three things. Frankly, it’s gonna take time.
Hannah: I really like this idea, and we’re gonna be talking about this more on the podcast in the coming months, of managing up. I heard you say that several times in there. Ideally, you would walk into a firm and it’d already be planned out and mapped out, but there is some level of new planners walking into these firms where they can help co-create or help create this career path for themselves. Would you agree with that?
Jarrod: I would, because let’s say that you’re in a team of three and you’re brought in and you’re now the fourth person. You have 25% impact in that organization. Or, if the organization has nine people, now you’re the tenth, you have a 10% impact of that organization. That can significantly move the needle in an organization positively or negatively. I’ll give a recommendation for something great for managing up and managing down. Several years ago, at the FPA leadership conference, I had the opportunity to hear a speaker, her name is Shari Harley. She has a website called Candid Culture. On her website, she had a book called How You Can Say Anything to Anyone. The whole premise is all about you say it through asking questions. So, if you’re managing up to an advisor, we can often tell. I want more money, I want more responsibility. I want, I want, I want. Whereas you can still say the same thing, but you say it through asking.
Jarrod: You can say, an example, what would the career path look like for someone who wants to be a senior financial advisor? What type of skillsets do I need to master to show you that I’m ready to have this type of responsibility? By asking those questions and engaging proactively, your supervisor or financial advisor can really show that you’re thinking through this because the same skillset’s also gonna be true when you’re working with clients. Clients, you’ve gotta get that information out of them, and a lot of times you do this by asking questions. I would say for those of you that may be hiring managers listening to this, asking your employees where you wanna be at in three years? What do you think is the right way to get there? This is where, Hannah, as you mentioned, the co-creation side. It’s really allowing to form a partnership on both sides. It’s that shared accountability, where you have both the supervisor and the employee and they’re working in alignment, trying to work in harmony so that you’re able to wanna accomplish the roles of the company, but two, you’re working on a path side by side. You’re working on a path together.
Hannah: I know a lot of what you’re doing in your consulting work right now is helping firms come together to do this and really operate well as a team, but I’m curious, especially being the advocate for new planners, at what point does somebody need to realize that they’re not making headway? What are the indicators that somebody needs to move on from a firm?
Jarrod: That’s always a slippery question to ask, is when’s the right time for an exit. It’s something you’re always thinking about. You’re either managing a person up through an organization or you’re managing them out. When I think of a question where I have advised people, or unfortunately whenever I’ve had to terminate someone, it is often the most painful and challenging experience that you go through, because again, if you’re a caring, empathetic leader, you care about people. You want them to be successful. People in the audience may have heard is it a skill issue? Skill is training, feedback, coaching, development. Can you give them the skillset to develop them? Or, is it a will issue? Is it an attitude challenge, where they just don’t have the work ethic, they don’t have the ambition, they don’t have the right attitude to engage with their team? Are they respectful? Kind? Are the resonating within the organization?
Jarrod: One of the things that we’ve advised firms to think through is really look through the lens of your core values. We all have core values, either our own personal core values and/or we have our company core values. If you’re looking at the lens of your core values in an organization, first of all, is this individual identifying and following through on the core values? If they’re not, you need to have that coaching conversation with them. If they are, then we need to say okay, are they acting inconsistent with our core values? Or, if they are acting consistent with our core values and we need to make a change, maybe we need to review the core values. The biggest time to think through moving someone out, it would be one of two reasons. One, and this is really on the positive side, is they are beyond what the job is. These are your shooting starts. They become bored because they can do more. Look for that opportunity. Look for that engagement on those shooting star employees and say can you do more? Maybe you cut out 10%, 20%, 30% of their role and give them an opportunity. But, you have to engage with them. You have to proactively work with them and try to get that feedback. Where do you wanna go? And then see if they can follow through on it.
Jarrod: Two, if it’s just not a fit if it’s time for them to transition on, you have a crucial conversation with them. You can ask them help me to understand why you wanna be here. I’m seeing that you’re not passionate about the role. Every day you come in, there’s challenges. Tell me what’s going on. You can get those out of them through asking the questions. Even if you’re not and you’ve gotta make that hard decision to move on, I would make it and just pull the Band-Aid off and move forward because what’s happening, if you have an individual that is detracting your organization, they’re actually slowing productivity. They’re negatively impacting culture for everybody else. You may have your people around you that are thankful when that individual actually leaves, and then you see again more of a bright day in the organization because people are able to focus on what they’re passionate about.
Hannah: For the shooting star, that rising star that’s in a firm, speaking to them, and again in that approach of that career mentor if you would, what’s the point where you realize that maybe you want more from your job than what your firm is offering? Kind of a reverse. Not so much from the firm’s perspective on when to leave, but from the employee’s perspective on when to leave.
Jarrod: If you fit the shooting star mold, and this may speak to a lot of the audience, one I would say not to just leave just because. Every company I’ve ever been a part of, they all have their quirks. None of them are perfect, because we’re not perfect as people. I would say engage with your manager. Let them know you’re ready to take on that opportunity. Let them know you’re ready to take on responsibility. Also, show them through your engagement. Whether that’s, again, your outside engagement too. Are you getting involved in FPA or any local boards or supporting your alumni association or any other activities wanting to give back? Are you showing you’re ready to take on that next level of responsibility? If you have done that and you’ve engaged and they’ve said you know what? We’ve got a five-year waiting period. You just have to do this job for the next five years. That’s when it can be really tough. It can be really tough because if you’re looking to seek that next opportunity, really, you’ve gotta be true to yourself. Looking at what are you passionate about? What’s the right job for you?
Jarrod: I had to do this myself. I went and made a list on what am I passionate about? What job do I truly wanna do? Where do I think I’m gonna be able to add the most value? What’s gonna take me to the next level I wanna be at in my career? And how can I serve the most people? Making that list, and then also not doing it alone. Seeking outside counsel, seeking mentors. They may be in the organization, they may be a close confidant, maybe even your boss. But, also seeking outside mentors as well. There’s lots of mentors from FPA and just in the financial services industry as a whole. Looking at someone who has that experience, that background, who probably was where you are at some point in their career because they can provide a lot of great feedback and guidance and actually, potentially help you. And too, they actually may be hiring. Maybe they know somewhere where there’s a job that meets your goals and you have the right skillset and there can be an alignment. Engaging your mentors, especially if you’re gonna make any life change, that wisdom, that counsel you’re getting from the outside can help to reduce anxiety and help to also make the transitions go more smoothly when and if that decision occurs.
Hannah: That really resonates, hearing you say that. I know I had outside people who were able to look into my situation when I was first starting out and gave me a completely different perspective. I was like no, that’s not right. And then I was like, oh my gosh, it is. And it made a huge difference.
Jarrod: Every individual I’ve talked with over the years and mentored, the situations are all a little bit different. But, one of the things I would say I’ve found a lot of joy in helping out the mentees I’ve worked with in various capacities. I would encourage the listeners to not be afraid to reach out. Not be afraid to go and ask. Because mentors, they like that. Especially those that wanna give back and they want to help. One common fallacy that I hear from especially younger folks, they’re like I don’t wanna bother them. They’re too busy. My encouragement to them is that they want to help you. They’re there for you. Yes, they’re busy, but they will make themselves available if you reach out. People that want to do better, they want to improve and they need help, I have found overwhelmingly in my career that others, both in financial services and even outside of financial services, are so willing to give up their time, give their guidance, and really give their support and encouragement if we just ask. In consulting, that’s one of the hardest things I see, is people taking the courage to ask. Secondly, it’s having the courage to accept. To accept the advice. Accept the feedback and guidance.
Hannah: In looking on, you’re working with Angie Herbers now, and I saw a portion on the website about next generation leadership development. I’m really interested in that right now and really curious what does that look like? From a leadership standpoint, what do new planners and the next generation of these firms, what do they need to develop in that and how do they do that?
Jarrod: With next generation leadership development, we’re all developing. With up and coming advisors, you see there’s a gap in the industry, that you’ve got a lot of those older, more seasoned, tenured advisors and you have a lot of younger advisors. There’s not a big group of individuals that are in those middle career years, in the mid to late 30s to the early 50s. There’s kind of a gap. There’s not a whole lot in that arena. So, you see a lot of individuals that are coming up. With next generation leadership development, there’s actually some great things that the custodians have come out with and some of the other organizations where they’ll have the Schwab Executive Leadership Program or the Fidelity G2 Program that are for those up and coming advisors, those up and coming leaders. That’s one of the things you’re seeing in the industry, is a transition to support and give business leadership towards that next generation of talent.
Jarrod: I’d say in addition to that, that leadership development doesn’t all have to be done within the firm. It can be done through external activities too, such as getting involved in a next-gen leadership or the FPA leadership, being involved in a committee, giving back and getting support. Because the skillset that I’ve seen, and again I went through this myself as well, is you build the skillset. It layers on top of each other and you learn little nuggets about, again, how to manage people, how to lead a committee, how to lead a project, an implementation, or even a conference. That follow through was one of the things that will build your reputation over the career. You can also do that inside the organization as well. What I call it is the put me in coach mentality. If there’s something that no one else wants to do in your organization and you’re willing to say put me in coach, put me in boss, let me go try that. I may not completely know how, but I’m willing to go try. It’s nothing nobody else wants to do. Other opportunities can come from that.
Jarrod: With those opportunities, mentoring development from inside your company an occur. I’d also say, if you’re inside the company, asking your boss or your senior financial advisor, say I’m looking for a mentor. Would you be open to spending one week or a couple hours a week with me or a couple hours a month with me? I have questions I’d love to ask and get insight. But, come prepared. Come prepared on what you wanna learn. Because the mentor’s there to give it to you, and they can develop you through that. I’d say last but not least is through colleges now and through, again, organizations such as FPA and the CFP board, there’s mentee/mentor matches. If you’re seeking out a mentor or you want to be a mentor, you can go on and register and submit your information through, again, a lot of different types of organizations and be partnered with a mentee and mentor that may or may not be in your company or your city or your state, but you can be able to partner and give back for those that one, have the desire and capacity and ability to give back and two, if you’re wanting to mentor, there’s lots of great young men and women out there that are seeking a mentor as well.
Jarrod: Those would be some ways to develop. If you’re in an organization, I’d say last but not least, letting your supervisor know that you’re working with a mentor. You’re working and you’re getting involved in other organizations. You’re developing. That often is a signal to that leader that they want to also work with you, they wanna bring you up as well, because they’re showing a higher level of engagement for that individual.
Hannah: What’s so great about all these skillsets is that they go with you. You don’t leave them at a firm. It’s something that builds on your career. It’s the 20-year-old who’s investing in their Roth IRA. It’s what you’re doing in your career, really.
Jarrod: Absolutely. It’s funny, when you go in and get that experience or you develop that mentor relationship or you get your CFP, it’s transferrable. It goes with you throughout the rest of your life. That experience, that knowledge. If anybody who has ever traveled overseas and they’ve seen Rome, they’ve seen the pyramids, or they’ve gone to McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, once you see it you have that memory with you. You’ve got that experience. Not taking those lightly, because those experiences make up who we are. Anything you do from a job or a project or you gain a skill or you develop a relationship, you’ll take that with you through the rest of your life.
Hannah: You are working with Angie Herbers, and I know one of the things whenever I hear her name is this diamond team. Can you walk through what is that diamond team? What are the different roles? Is there a career path through that? What is the level of progression in a diamond team?
Jarrod: With a diamond team, the one thing to think about it through is if any of you watch baseball. Baseball, you’ve got a diamond. You’ve got the pitcher. First, second, third base. The catcher. You’ve got different people that are playing different roles. If any of you are baseball fans, the opening day in whatever city you’re in is probably either occurring or has just occurred. They all have different skillsets, but they all support each other to serve the team. When we think about a diamond team in financial advisory firms, we think about folks that may be in a rainmaker/development/leader type of role, where they’re really bringing in the business. Part of their responsibility is to bring in that business. Think about that really as the top of the diamond. The right and left hand sides, think about them more as a lead advisor type of role. Someone that’s more in a service capacity. They’re serving the clients, and they’re serving them really well. Maybe a little bit of revenue growth through net new assets or net new wallet share or some referral business, but they’re really responsible for client service. Really, at the bottom point of the diamond, we think of that as an individual that may be newer into their career.
Jarrod: They may be, again, that associate advisor or associate financial planner type of role. They’re working with lower tier clients. Maybe they’re doing more of the analysis or some of the base financial planning work. But, they’re all supporting within that one diamond in an advisory capacity. Whereas you have a separate one, more from a client services standpoint, or if you’re large enough and you have an investment management department, that can be structured in a similar way. The career path or career track through that progression aligns with it. Ideally, someone that’s younger in their career will start out in that associate position, then maybe move into more the advisor/lead position, and ultimately into the senior role, where now they’re bringing in assets. It follows along with the career path, but two, that diamond, because they’re all working in that team, just like on the baseball field. They all have a job and someone’s gotta catch the ball to get the out, do the pop fly, or they’ve gotta try to throw the runner out if they’re trying to score on home plate. They all have a different job, but they work together in that team to support that group of clients. As organizations grow, we’ve seen where they may actually have multiple diamond teams, because what it’s about is maximizing capacity in that client experience within that team, within that group of clients that’s working with that set of advisors.
Hannah: For one of these diamond teams, what are you seeing is the number of clients that they can support?
Jarrod: That’s an interesting question. That will vary from diamond team to diamond team because of complexity and client size, and then finally efficiency. We’ve seen some teams that are supporting a couple few hundred clients, and then others that are supporting more. Because if you have a diamond team that’s supporting more of a multi-family office file of clients, you’re not gonna be able to have as many. Whereas, I you have a diamond team that’s supporting the HENRY clients, the high earners not rich yet, those ones that they just don’t have the same level of need or level of complexity, the amount you can support is much greater. The other area that has a big impact on that team is, as we started out in the beginning of our conversation, is that support infrastructure. The more and the support infrastructure you have, the stronger that foundation, the more efficient that team can be to support that level of client. So, it’s gonna vary from organization to organization. I would just say, and my encouragement is, to start. To start working and crafting that team. Start thinking about your operations or client services team. Ultimately support that. Because that allows individuals to focus on their highest and best use and they tend to be more productive when they’re focusing on those highest and best use skills.
Hannah: One of the things that we’ve talked a lot recently on the podcast about is paraplanners, and even this idea of working virtually. Do you see that as a theme coming in the profession or have you seen that with the clients you’ve been working with?
Jarrod: I’ve seen the virtual model work well. To make any type of virtual situation work well, you’ve gotta have really good communication. Make sure what’s your communications set up. In my last organization I worked with, we actually developed out a virtual paraplanner or financial planning division that supported advisors all over the country. With that, I’ve also seen where you have job resourcing now as well. Where you may be an advisor now and say I only need to have a paraplanner or an entry level advisor and I need them for two hours a week, five hours a week, ten hours a week, whatnot. You can actually source that resource from around the country. I anticipate we’ll continue to see more of that, because you wanna find the right people with the right skillsets to help you at the right time. It’s almost more in that gig economy status.
Jarrod: Two, if you are a paraplanner and looking for those types of roles, it’s a great way to develop that experience. I anticipate that will continue, but also, beyond that, I anticipate the ability for virtual advisors to grow as well. If we think about our integration and reliance on technology today, we can theoretically do anything anywhere. Being a financial advisor, you’re managing that relationship, but you’re also working with data. You’re working with knowledge. Your clients may not be in the same city, state, and/or country as you. Even if they are in the same city, they’re also busy. Sometimes, they may wanna call in via Skype or GoToMeeting or any other of the web communication platforms because they’re busy. That way, it actually expands your ability to source and support a client and it expands your ability to be diverse geographically.
Hannah: And, it’s not just millennial clients that are wanting to meet virtually.
Jarrod: No, no. Your tenured X-ers and baby boomer clients have embraced the technology landscape as well.
Hannah: In terms of your consulting work, what are you seeing as trends with new planners today? The good and the great stuff that’s coming out, but also the places, if you would, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Jarrod: With new planners that are coming out, newer into their career, the good stuff is there are lots of jobs. Often, when I’ve talked with colleagues or have gone to the various schools and looked at recruiting, they’re coming out with three to four offers a lot of times, especially for the top students. So, with the newer planners, there’s lots of jobs out there. If you’re newer into the career and you like where you’re at or you’re wanting to make a change, one, know you’ve got options. I’d say that’s a really good thing. We have a very healthy job market. And often companies, they are competitive. They wanna bring you in, they wanna try to get that talent. It really makes you, again, a great commodity.
Jarrod: The other really great thing I think for new planners is our ability to learn and to prepare from the knowledge resources out there. With advent of online media, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, the amount of learning, the amount of engagement that you can find out what’s going on in the industry will help propel you to new heights in your career that some of the more seasoned planners may not have had, or if they did have they did not embrace. Again, getting that development, getting that resource, and really making it what you want it to be. I’d say that the third item that’s really great is that shared community. There’s a lot of shared community with the next-gen movement to be able to find other like-minded individuals. Whether you go to a conference or you just meet in your local city or you meet in a virtual capacity, there’s this, again, a good shared community. You’re working and seeing individuals that are in a similar life stage, similar career stage. That shared community can actually help give you feedback, help give you guidance, and/or resources to help you propel your career.
Jarrod: From the negative side, the side that may be a little bit more detracting, with people that are two, three, four, five years out, it’s still gonna take time. It doesn’t happen overnight. One of the things I’ve seen with some of my millennial advisors and/or planners is coming out and saying hey, I’ve done this role for three years. I’m ready to be a senior planner. I’m ready to be X. It’s gonna just take time. The reason why it takes time is, this is gonna sound cliché, and again this is gonna age myself a bit Hannah, but if anybody’s ever seen Karate Kid and they think of Mr. Miyagi, wax on, wax off is that skillset, that repetitiveness is you’re really mastering, you’re fine-tuning your craft. It can take actually years sometimes to fine-tune your craft to be ready to be put into the situation that you just know the knowledge, you know the information. So, I’d say patience. Patience is one of the hardest things I see from newer planners because they’re ready to go, they’re ambitious. That’s a challenge.
Jarrod: The other challenge is not all firms are ready or they have implemented a career path methodology. They’ve got the right onboarding structure. That can also be an opportunity because it can give a new advisor or planner the ability to go in and implement or build something in an organization. But, the advisory firm, they’re moving forward, but they’re still playing catch up in trying to develop some of that infrastructure the advisors that are coming out or newer in their career may be looking for.
Hannah: Thank you, Jarrod. Is there anything else you wanna be sure to add?
Jarrod: I’ll end on one note. For those of you in the listener pool, there’s a great book that I read a number of years ago. It’s by Marshall Goldsmith. The name of the book is called What Got Me Here Won’t Get Me There. There’s lots of great books. If any of you are interested and wanna get a book recommendation, feel free to reach out to me through the social webs. The book What got You Here Won’t Get You There is something that we can always look back and reinvent ourselves and know that we may need different skillsets to get to a higher level to move forward where we wanna go. Just because we graduated from college, that’s what got us to graduation. That may not get us to being a firm owner. That may not get us to being senior partner or even being COO. What skillsets, what type of lifelong learning do we need to continue to build within ourselves as we are pursuing our passion and pursuing our purpose towards where we wanna go? That’s last book recommendation for your audience Hannah, is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith.