The recent swoon in the global financial markets has shifted the focus of business consultants to a soft subject that they can control. Established thinkers like Mark Tibergian, Seth Godin, Mike Blackman and Sarah Kay have started to talk about experiences. This week’s blog will expand on their ideas and hopefully create a positive experience for our readers.
What are my favorite consiglieres talking about? None of them is talking about the financial markets or ETFs. They are writing and talking about big issues that impact our lives.
Most of us believe that the grass of someone else’s life is greaner than ours. Social media has stoked this belief and the tweets of celebrities create an unrealistic view that their life is perfect. I will never forget an interview with Debra Winger when she was at the pinicle of her fame after the success of An Officer and a Gentleman. The interviewer asked Ms. Winger for information about her life that would surprise us. She paused and responded that she too passed gas. Celebrities are human beings too! Financial advisors and their firms try to create that invincle aura. Clients and advisors will benefit from some of Debra Winger’s humility. No one has all of the answers and our detailed asset allocation proposals and finiacial plans are based on assumtions that could be incorrect.
We have to put ourselves out there and live life. This investment will provide unexpected returns. When staying with my parents in Dallas I would join them for their Sunday school class. The avgeage age of the class is 71 years old. Sounds boring but I was inspired. The teacher and his wife had spent 24 years in Manhattan supporting people who were impacted and stressed by the rampant income inequality of the city. When I asked what did you teach them? The instructor repied “I just listened and communicated that I loved them.” Each class ends with the group forming a circle and holding hands. The instructor asks how can we pray and support you, and we ALL were relieved to share the concerns and conspiracy theories in our head and in Sarah’s backpack. The requests varied from friends who are in the hospital to children who were struggling with issues that the members knew from personal experiences that they would share. It also feels better to say our thoughts out loud. I was not expecting to learn anything from this group but here we are - an unexpected life experience.
We can hope to control the experience our clients have when we meet. Life coaches and friends can help. Sarah Kay’s Ted talk and Seth Godin’s new book are great references. One of my life coaches is Mike Blackman. He coached me to listen more than I talked. Hard to do, but the client experience will be enhanced if you try it. Authentic experiences and true friends are timeless. After 23 years away from Dallas the High School experiences I had with my friends still endure and we both are willing to do anything for each other. Experiencing that today still feels great!
Groucho Marx got it right. We need to build a unique and welcoming firm that professionals and clients want to join.