ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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2014-04-08 Greatness is Overrated by Justin Locke (Article)

I have no objection to greatness per se, but let’s think about the practical uses - and potential negative effects - of this word.

2013-12-03 Coping with Sudden Power Syndrome by Justin Locke (Article)

Wealth managers are no doubt familiar with the phrase ’sudden wealth syndrome.’ Its symptoms include isolation from former friends, guilt over one’s good fortune and an extreme fear of losing one’s money. Money and power are closely related concepts, and so I would like to introduce the related condition - sudden power syndrome - which is what one experiences when thrust into a new position with significantly greater authority and responsibilities.

2012-11-13 The Real Job Creators by Justin Locke (Article)

The election is behind us, but a politically charged phrase that took a starring role in the campaign lingers on: "job creators." Now that cooler heads are returning, it's time to get past the politics and acknowledge the facts: Capital, by itself, does not create jobs. Jobs are created by salespeople.

2012-10-16 Getting in Touch with Your Inner Rich Kid by Justin Locke (Article)

What does it mean to be wealthy? When I recently spoke at a gathering of wealth managers, I saw my chance to find an answer this question, which has bugged me for years. How much must you have before your 'money' is sudden transfigured into 'wealth'? This all fits into a larger, ongoing quest of mine – to understand why rich and poor kids approach life so differently.

2012-06-05 In Whom Do We Trust? by Justin Locke (Article)

Confidence, either in the banking system or the markets, is really about trust. Metrics like consumer confidence answer nothing more than the question, 'How much do we trust the people running our institutions to create conditions for future growth?' That being the case, you would think our leaders in government and industry might do a better job of maintaining our trust.

2012-05-29 Micromanaging to Failure by Justin Locke (Article)

During my time as bass player with the Boston Pops, our renowned conductor, Arthur Fiedler, constantly pushed us to the limit of what was musically possible. It didn't work 100% of the time, but his faith in our ability as an orchestra more often than not produced exceptional results. By contrast, when a guest conductor tried to dictate every detail of a performance, the results were miserable.

2012-05-08 Why the Best Conductors Sent Us Home Early by Justin Locke (Article)

As a professional speaker, I focus on leadership and management. But I have a major handicap to overcome: the conventional wisdom that a core goal of leadership is to motivate greater effort.

2012-03-27 Success: The Enemy of Creativity by Justin Locke (Article)

Creativity and imagination are universal human traits, yet it's a common idea that certain countries are more creative than others. Can this notion have any basis in fact?

2012-03-20 Are You Spending Too Much Time in the Brine? by Justin Locke (Article)

All my life, I have encountered people who claim that their insight into my clientele exceeds my own. But I've found a cheaper and much more reliable way to get that truly invaluable data.

2011-11-15 Turning Threats into Opportunities by Justin Locke (Article)

Have you ever noticed how major opportunities look like threats when they first appear?

2011-09-13 $20 Million Saved is $20 Million Not Earned by Justin Locke (Article)

A recent news poll showed that Americans were evenly divided over whether Mitt Romney's plans to bulldoze his California home and build a much larger one constituted his right to spend his money as he wished or whether it was in bad taste to build a lavish house at a time of such high unemployment. If I had responded to that poll, I would have encouraged Romney to build as big a house as he could afford.

2011-09-06 I'll Tell You When to Start Leading by Justin Locke (Article)

Far too much leadership advice relies on giving listeners a series of precise steps to follow instead of expanding their perceptions. Understanding the capabilities and motivations of one's charges is what distinguishes successful leadership.

2011-08-16 How Doing a Perfect Job Can Drive Clients Away by Justin Locke (Article)

Nobody is perfect, and having a plan to deal with your imperfections is just as important as improving your performance. That lesson has been deftly illustrated by my local grocer.

2011-07-19 Trust as a Management Tool by Justin Locke (Article)

Orchestral conductors are often compared to CEOs for their ability to inspire teamwork in organizations. But only a certain type of conductor - and CEO - provides the leadership that produces the best results.

2011-07-12 Unexpecting the Expected by Justin Locke (Article)

This is a story of a kid who lived on a farm in the Midwest. A family friend gave him an old, beat-up plywood string bass, and he started to play it just for something to do. His family couldn't afford lessons, so he taught himself out of a method book.

2011-05-17 Your Top Priority Should Be Your Top Priority by Justin Locke (Article)

How do you determine your top priority? Too often, leaders get bogged down by routine, and they fail to meaningfully answer that question.

2011-05-03 The Tension between Belief and Permission by Justin Locke (Article)

It's advice we all get often, but what does it mean to 'believe in yourself?' Such rhetoric sounds great on the surface, but whenever I hear that expression I cringe.

2011-03-29 Change Isn't So Hard by Justin Locke (Article)

Change always encounters resistance. While our natural instinct may be to fight back against that resistance, I have found that a better path is to lessen the original resistance, rather than trying to surmount it.

2011-03-15 Nailing the Invisible Interview by Justin Locke (Article)

I am always looking for a marketing edge, employing everything from social media to traditional collateral. But the other day I saw marketing from the other side. Someone acquired me as a new client, and it was revealing to learn why.

2011-02-22 Are You Ready to Lose Control? by Justin Locke (Article)

We view control the same way we view pregnancy - it's an all-or-nothing condition. Either you are in control, or everything is out of control. We would all be wise to rethink this - to look at how to handle and even embrace some lack of control.

2011-02-08 Be a Problem Setter, not a Problem Solver by Justin Locke (Article)

It's not a good idea to solve every problem. Sometimes, as my experience as a professional musician illustrates, it's better to just make sure everyone knows what the problem is that you want solved.

2011-02-01 Rubbing One's Smell on the Project by Justin Locke (Article)

When you give clients advice, sometimes they ignore it. Though vexing, it is an important reminder that you are their financial advisor and not their financial commander.

2011-01-11 Managing People Who Are Already Motivated by Justin Locke (Article)

As a professional speaker, I am often confused by audiences who want to understand the secret to motivating their employees. Most professionals, including financial advisors, aren't constrained by workers who lack motivation. Their challenge is harnessing their employees' pre-existing energy and drive, and directing it toward a common goal.

2011-01-04 The Wondrous Value of Incompetence by Justin Locke (Article)

Ignorance and incompetence are underappreciated. There may be a lot to say for training, knowledge, and expertise, but with so much emphasis being placed on acquiring more and more knowledge (especially by those in the knowledge-peddling business) a dose of ignorance these days can offer incredible value.

2010-12-14 What the Music Business Taught Me about Selling by Justin Locke (Article)

You provide a service to each of your clients, some of whom may have similar needs but all of whom are unique. Asking your clients what more you could be doing for them is the only way to make sure you're offering the advice they truly want.

2010-12-06 The Worst Boss in the World by Justin Locke (Article)

Since good bosses are the exception and not the rule, early in my professional life I decided to strike out and work for myself. It was an alternative that sounded great on paper, but there's one little thing that I wish someone had told me: When you work for yourself, you are working for many clients, and they are often the worst bosses imaginable.

2010-10-05 Leadership Lessons from the Dance Floor by Justin Locke (Article)

The classic image of leadership is the symphony orchestra conductor, who, standing tall in front of his charges, ensures the perfect synchronization necessary to create the harmony, rhythm and melody that defines great music. That idealized artistic symbolism is not unique, though. An equally compelling example of leadership can be found on the dance floor, writes Justin Locke.

2010-09-21 A Bass Player’s Perspective on Leadership by Justin Locke (Article)

A fascinating phenomenon pervades major symphony orchestras. Whenever a new guest conductor steps onto the podium, a musician will know - within two seconds or less - if they will be an inspiring leader. Justin Locke shares his experience as a professional bass player and the insights he gleaned as to what makes for great leadership.

2010-09-07 Mistake Management Symphony Style by Justin Locke (Article)

Mistakes happen - often. Eliminating them is impossible. The real question is: How do you manage the inevitability of making them? In this guest contribution, Justin Locke shares a few lessons he learned while playing the bass in a professional orchestra.

2010-08-10 Confessions of a First-time Manager by Justin Locke (Article)

When you have a certain degree of skill at a given task, people often assume that you will naturally be able to manage other people who do that same task. That's how Justin Locke because a first-time manager in the orchestral business, and he shares a few important lessons to apply when you receive that important promotion that elevates you above your coworkers.

2010-07-27 Rediscovering Your Listening Skills by Justin Locke (Article)

Listening may be the most critical part of your job, both for acquiring new clients and for maintaining current relationships. Everyone's listening abilities are unique, but many common fears and anxieties can interfere with your innate listening skills. In this guest contribution, Justin Locke identifies a few common problems and suggestions for how to work around them.

2010-06-29 Winning Clients...By Being Dumb by Justin Locke (Article)

In this guest contribution, Justin Locke says "looking dumb" is a better strategy than trying to be smarter than your clients and prospects. Locke is a professional musician and author of a book we previously reviewed, The Principles of Applied Stupidity, and he outlines a key tactic to persuade prospects.


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