While coffee cake in the breakroom and Summer Fridays sound great, these aren’t reasons you stay with a company.
Think about the positions you’ve held and the positions you’ve left. Was part of the reason you left because of the people?
Well, people are what make a culture what it is or isn’t.
Here at Consolidated Planning, our focus on people-first has made our culture what it is over the years. From our staff and advisors to the clients our advisors serve, our culture is rooted in our people and our processes.
Culture is sometimes an overlooked component when evaluating firms but it shouldn’t be. In what’s laid out below, we’re confident that you’ll have a renewed urgency to consider the current culture you’re part of and why that should matter to you and your clients, all to help you decide what kind of financial advising firm you want to associate yourself with, or not.
Determine And Prioritize Your Values In Your Financial Advising Career
First and foremost you need to determine your values. Your values and goals are at the root of why you’re even here right now reading this article.
You want more in your career than just making money.
Understanding and following your values is the answer here. If you’re not sure where you stand with your values, take a few moments to reflect on these questions:
- What kind of financial advisor do you want to be: consultative or transactional?
- What are your long-term career aspirations?
- What kind of environment do you thrive in: being managed, having support and autonomy, or working alone?
- What motivates you: money, relationships, making an impact in other’s lives?
Your honest answers matter here. Your values will help determine the framework for how you will serve your clients in a few ways:
- Your level of trustworthiness: do you consistently put what’s best for your client above yourself?
- Your objectives in client meetings: do you want to sell products or provide true planning for your clients?
- Your professionalism: how do you carry yourself? Do you encourage your clients to be part of the decision making?
- Your accountability: will you show up for your clients, even if you’re having a bad day?
You know what else determines the framework for how you will serve your clients? The firm you work with.
How Do You Determine What Culture Is Best For Your Financial Advising Career?
Let’s start by defining what culture is and what culture isn’t. Culture is all about belief. It’s not something you necessarily see but something that you feel.
The right culture fit is an alignment between your personal and professional values, goals, and work style to that of the firm you choose to work with.
Finding your culture fit can actually lead to increased job satisfaction, performance, and ultimately, knowing you’re with the right firm to build your financial advising practice with.
Not just for now but for the long haul.
Determining the firm’s culture allows for proper alignment between your values and the firm’s values. When misalignment happens when trying to choose the best firm for you, it shows. It shows in your productivity and your client interactions.
If you feel misaligned with your firm’s culture, it doesn’t have to continue that way.
Everything that is felt by you, is felt by your clients in one way or another. So, what kind of environment are you and your clients experiencing?
Remember, you become your firm’s culture.
We’ve all heard that we are a product of our environment. As an advisor, your clients will be aware of the culture. Try to hide the truth of that culture all you can but ultimately that misalignment trickles down to your clients. Ask yourself these things:
- Do you want your clients to be part of that culture and that experience?
- Is that culture doing them justice?
The culture of a firm influences your motivation, your relationships, the way you approach financial planning, and the output of your work.
So choose wisely.
Ok, so, a positive culture isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. But, this kind of culture won’t make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells – it promotes and supports teamwork, collaboration and with that, mutual respect among colleagues. With this, you’re pushed to be the best version of yourself for yourself and your clients.
Yes, these kinds of environments exist.
And they encourage open communication and feedback, creativity, and innovation in helping you build your practice.
With shared visions and shared goals, you will have a clear path to build your practice in a few ways:
- An entire organization committed to their planning philosophy
- Access to resources to make you a better advisor
- A focus on serving clients
It’s hard being a financial advisor on great days and even harder on the bad days but the people at your firm will make all the difference here.
When you feel supported, everyone benefits. The firm, the advisors, and the clients.
A poor culture isn’t always recognizable. This can be masked as conflicts arising, an overwhelming sense of competition, or a heavy focus on money or products. The problem with poor culture is it thrives on good people staying silent.
This overwhelming sense of competition can be attributed to a lack of leadership and a lack of opportunities for you to move the needle forward.
Don’t get us wrong, competition is good with the right emphasis. Healthy competition can push advisors to become a better version of themselves by learning from others and leveraging their unique abilities.
If you’re feeling a lack of support or encouragement from your firm, what’s at stake if you stay there? What could you be missing out on?
Sure, you can still build a successful practice even with a poor culture but think of how you could scale your practice with a proper alignment of your visions and goals.
LACK OF CULTURE
A lack of culture can have advisors feel like they are floundering. There is no one to guide them, no philosophy to follow, and likely little to no support.
If people are what give a firm its identity and its culture, a lack of culture can be a lonely feeling.
While many financial advisors find themselves working by themselves, in a silo, that doesn’t have to be the case in your career.
What might this kind of culture feel like?
- You are doing things your own way
- There are no processes in place
- You have no connection with fellow advisors
- There are no opportunities for growth and development
But, some firms really are just a group of people sharing a space, or a logo, with no shared vision, values, or goals.
But maybe that is what you want, and that’s ok. Just remember, your reputation reflects the firm.
Ask yourself, what does the firm look like that you want to be associated with? Surely it’s not a firm that puts your reputation at risk.
Why Does Culture Matter For Your Financial Advising Career?
At this point you might be wondering if culture really matters in the trajectory of your financial advising career.
Well, it certainly does.
Culture affects everything a firm does both inwardly and outwardly, from its belief system to its mission to how it supports its personnel to how it represents itself in the local community.
During your interview process, pay special attention to the questions you’re asking and the answers you’re hearing. Here are some questions you might want to ask in your search for a good culture fit:
- What are the core values of the firm?
- What is the management style?
- What is the planning philosophy?
- What are the team dynamics, if any?
- Are there professional development opportunities?
These questions can help you get a better sense of whether the company aligns with your own values and goals.
In our experience, consistency equals culture. And the planning process and interview process at Consolidated Planning provides consistency from advisor-to-advisor and client-to-client. If you want to learn more about what a positive culture looks like for your career, reach out to a recruiter to chat.
2023-153187 Exp. 3/2025
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