How do I find ideal capacity in my financial advisor practice?

I have a theory. A theory based on 26 plus years of experience in the financial industry. I hit capacity hard twice in my practice over 20 years and it was not a fun time. A financial advisor and or their team hits capacity, but does nothing about it. Eventually they surpass capacity and eventually things start to cause problems. Staff get frustrated, long hours persist, problems at home come up and clients now start to have issues. Sound familiar. At some-point passing capacity hit us in our subconscious and we chose to ignore it. Eventually our subconscious goes into overdrive and problems start to appear. Someone besides yourself discover that you are past capacity. After all, you ignored the warning signs from the the staff sometimes from your clients, your family and yourself. Your subconscious kicks in and decides to take over. This is when clarity hits home that something has to be done. Advisors and teams with a coach or accountability person usually never get to this point if they listen to their coach. But advisors or small business owners tend to ignore the signs as their experience tells them to keep going. Eventually it will work out, we will get past it and persist. Your subconscious is telling you that your life and lifestyle are being sacrificed and the question “is it all really worth it, and why am I doing all of this“ jumps into your head from nowhere. You start asking bigger questions for a reason. Is this business worth it? Maybe I should just sell because I am not enjoying it anymore. More questions come from your subconscious as the days get longer and longer. How can you solve all of the the problems of over capacity in the short run? You think it is as easy as working harder and harder. After all, that is what you have always done, but in the long run your subconscious knows this is not the answer.


What is the answer in the long run?

Not an easy question but it lies within the capacity triangle. The capacity triangle is ideal capacity, ideal business and ideal lifestyle. First, what lifestyle are you trying to create? Second, is your business congruent with this or is your ego getting in the way? Yes I said ego, as awards, conferences and industry accolades all vie for attention from your ego. We respect the advisor that spends a lot of time with their family and also respect top producers and their accomplishments. But each person can accomplish both by expanding and innovating their thinking. It is simple, but it is not easy to do.
Let me give you some perspective. Why is it that some advisors can manage hundreds of millions of dollars of client’s wealth, with a large team of staff, client demands, who takes time for their family and keep it all in check. In other words, achieve some personally comforting form of balance in their life? What is the secret to accomplishing ideal capacity?
What is their secret? Are they great marketers, business builders or just have great habits? Sure it is all of the above, but the one thing they learned to manage the best is their powerful subconscious. Learning to manage guilt, ego, stress, and learn to listen to their inner voice that can guide them in good and bad times.

Good habits can lead you off course

Some say it is good habits, but even good habits can lead you astray. For example let’s say you run a successful practice, have several ideal families or clients you look after. You are disciplined to grow your financial advisory practice, because of your good habits you continue to grow the business. Eventually theses good habits cause you to hit capacity, or worse, build way past capacity. Now what? Do you continue your good habits and grow your practice, even when it cuts into family or personal time? Hey, when I was young and single running a practice, I just kept on working, while friends were going out having a good time. I sacrificed some of my personal time in order to grow the business. We all do it. But then something gives. What then? You are pushed into a corner. You must make decisions, all with good and potentially bad consequences. Which angle do you choose? Capacity, lifestyle or business? Either way, if you choose business or lifestyle you have not chosen to tackle capacity, unless, when you choose business, you work on your business and work on tackling capacity. But I highly doubt it, because it usually takes a second set of eyes to set the record straight on capacity.

Get out of your own way

We get in our own way most of the time. It takes a, family member, close friend, sometimes a colleague, even your own staff or manager to let you know when you are well past capacity.
Even more importantly, your coach or mentor is the one who can spot it a mile away. Let’s face it, you are superman, you can handle it, you keep telling yourself. No problem, just dig in and it will get better. You have been through it before and survived. How can you not only stop the crazy circle of working past capacity, but change it for the better. That is what tackling capacity is all about. Albert Einstein wrote “The significant problems we face cannot be changed with the same level of thinking as when we created them”. So how do we change our thinking?
As Steven Covey wrote in his famous book” 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” Simon & Schuster Publishing; Anniversary Edition (Nov. 19 2013) “ Begin with the end in mind. As Simon Sinek write in his book “Start with Why” by Portfolio Publishing; Reprint edition (Dec 27 2011) “What is your why? What is it all for? Start with the most important things first, not second or third or last, first. In my case, it was family. Everything else seemed simple after that. If you are looking for help with capacity, consider our “Capacity Innovation Program” at Advisor Practice Management. Now turn your phone or computer off and plan to focus on the most important thing first this holiday season. Trust me, the work will still be there next year.