April 10, 2012
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
Over the years, I’ve seen what works well and what doesn’t for advisors. I’ve noticed that even the best-intentioned, highest-minded advisor usually struggles if he or she operates in a vacuum.
Sure, there’s a lot to be said for rugged individualism. The allure of independence rightfully appeals to those of us (myself included) who are attracted to the fee-only RIA model for investment and wealth management. But what I’ve come to believe over time is that we do our best work when we intentionally assert our independence within a network of unaffiliated colleagues – those people otherwise known as your competition.
When you commit time and energy to regularly network with the right peers, I’ve seen magic take place. In my business and yours, it enhances business growth; it enhances the personal satisfaction you get from your career; and, most important, it helps you better serve your clients.
You get smarter
One of my favorite quotes comes from chemist Linus Pauling, who said: “If you want to have good ideas, you must have many ideas.”
Pauling was the only person ever to receive two unshared Nobel prizes, one in chemistry and the other the peace prize. Having many ideas worked well for him, and the best way to generate more ideas is to collaborate with others. The more we interact with colleagues, the more we all learn. Meaningful networking can deepen and broaden your areas of expertise in unexpected ways.
This is especially so if you’re willing to interact with those who may occasionally challenge you with constructive criticism.
Whether we’re talking about business or life, it’s healthy to temper your own beliefs, even those you hold most firmly, by letting someone poke at them from time to time with objective, critical thinking. Like aerating a well-tended lawn, such critiques help new ideas to sprout as well as expand your existing knowledge. I’m not talking about petty name-calling or knee-jerk finger-pointing; I mean those fertilizing exchanges during which you can almost feel your brain stretching across newfound turf.
You can be a better advisor to your clients
I was cheating in the last section, because Pauling’s quote doesn’t actually end where I left it. He continued his thought: “Most of [the many ideas] will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.”
That’s an important addendum. Brainstorming with a network offers you a peer-reviewed reality check on your assumptions, as well as a chance to practice the discussions that you inevitably will need to have with your clients and prospects. If you can’t defend your ideas among your colleagues, you may need to rethink your position – or keep practicing. If it doesn’t make sense to your peers, it’s likely to make even less sense to your clients.
Would you like to send this article to a friend?Remember, if you have a question or comment, send it to .