The difference between “perfect timing” and “well-timed” for a move: 4 questions to ask yourself
It has become very common for advisors – regardless of what firm they’re with – to believe they have one move in them; it’s only a matter of when. They often have a bucket list of what they need to accomplish or events that need to take place, and then it will be time to go. We all would like to believe that there will be this one perfect moment in time, when every aspect of life – both personal and professional – is perfectly aligned to support a change; we just need to wait for it to happen. But in an industry that is in a constant state of change, and often in directions that are impossible for advisors to predict and therefore plan for, what happens if that window of opportunity never occurs? Does that mean an advisor must be reconciled to remaining in one place? There is a meaningful difference between “perfect timing” and planning for a well-timed move.
While never perfect (as nothing ever is), some timing may be more advantageous than others. Aiming for “well-timed” is a more reasonable approach based on your business needs and goals. Consider these four questions…
- Should production and assets be at a career high?
For some, the “right time” for making a change is defined by attaining a certain level of success. In this industry, success is often quantified by reaching a certain production or asset level. An advisor planning a move may believe it’s advantageous to wait until hitting a certain production number in hopes of optimizing the transition package economics. While it seems natural to want to move when the business is at a peak, it’s actually advantageous to move when a business is in growth mode. Transition packages typically require growth in revenue and assets in order to receive all of the bonuses paid on the backends. Furthermore, the most successful moves are often sparked by a conviction that another opportunity will in fact fuel an advisor’s growth, helping him to reach his goals, and those of his clients, that much faster.
- Business in the pipeline
Many advisors consider waiting for a time when they are not onboarding a new client relationship or when they have completed quarterly reviews and feel particularly confident in the strength of these relationships. Truth be told, quality advisors are almost always adding new clients and developing new relationships, making it virtually impossible to find a lull in activity during which a move can be scheduled. Certainly there are always concerns over how a move might affect client relationships. Ultimately, what most advisors find is that clients care far more about the personal relationship they have developed with their advisor, than they do the firm name on the business card. Ensuring you have served your clients well will help to solidify that relationship making a move less complicated on their part.
- Putting your house in order
The loss of a team member or staff person is always disruptive and may understandably force an advisor to put a move on hold as they look to put their house back in order. Those that are building out teams – both in terms of next generation partners and support staff – may actually benefit from the additional resources of a new firm in identifying new talent. Look carefully at your resources and plan accordingly for service requirements rather than individuals.
- It’s not business, it’s personal
Beyond the professional landmarks that define a career, many advisors choose to move only after they have reached some milestone in their personal lives, such as a youngest child heading off to college. A move is a huge undertaking and requires time, hard work and focus. The events in life that require our full attention like marriage, births, death and divorce often force advisors to put a move at least temporarily on hold. Consider the investment of time you will need to make and ensure you are well-prepared to do so.
Timing is an important consideration in any decision-making process, but it should not dictate the outcome: It is often too unpredictable to control. If in order to embrace a move you must wait for that one perfect moment when it makes indisputable sense, you must be prepared to be very patient. Since in life and in business perfection doesn’t exist – and this industry is always in a state of flux – it’s not realistic to postpone a move until everything is in perfect harmony. If that were the case, advisors would never successfully make changes, and we certainly know that’s far from the truth. The key is to ensure we have clear goals to aim for; the rest will fall into place.