So, if ‘excellence’ is the profession’s holy grail, why does it continually fail to take centre-stage?
Well, having been a coach and consultant in financial services for more than twenty years, I can honestly tell you that I’ve been banging the drum for excellence and quality in standards since the moment I came into the ‘industry’ (yes, I use that word on purpose!).
But two decades ago, the industry was just not ready to listen – and some would argue the same can be said today.
Twenty years ago, the ‘industry’ looked very different – not just from a regulatory perspective, but from every perspective. Things started to stir as soon as the regulators emerged, and there was a tidal wave of change headed straight for our shores:
- The regulators and the professional bodies commenced a catalogue of reviews, audits and sector surveys.
- New policies were introduced to raise professional standards and further protect vulnerable clients.
- Qualifications, designations and industry achievements have become a global obsession.
- Commissions have been cut, and even banned in some countries.
- Administration has become overwhelmingly restrictive and time-consuming – and in so many cases totally unnecessary.
- Consumers have become more aware, more complicated and more demanding – they are pickier about what they want.
- Employees and the wider population are no longer motivated solely by money.
- Most recently, your clients have come to expect a deeper relationship with you.
Quite rightly, things had to change. However, despite this wave of change battering our shores, the sector continued to fight back.
But then, I think the penny dropped. Professional practices started to emerge as businesses focused on best practice, quality, sustainability, teamwork and, quite simply, getting the job done to the best of their abilities – while WOWW!-ing the socks off their clients. It was win–win all round.
So what now?
How do we keep that momentum going? How do we keep that focus on quality over qualifications, shift solitary working to teamworking, and move exhaustion to excitement?
We need to think differently. From the moment you exchange services for money, you are in business This is no longer a hobby; it is not a job you do for free (although many of you are guilty of that, too!). Your business is the fuel that drives your team, feeds your family and lights the fire in your belly.
Your business is who you are, so stop simply focusing on the everyday. Hold up the mirror to your business: sit down with your team, get out a blank piece of paper and talk. Explore with your team what ‘awesome’ looks like. Write down what WOWW! looks like – for everyone and in every part of your business.
- your clients
- your service
- your culture
- your team
- your financials
- your communication
- your environment
- your processes and procedures
- your IT and technology
- your key people.
Only once you have burst through the walls of your everyday thinking can you start to build a business that you know deep down you are capable of building. BUT, and yes, it’s a big but, you then need to ask yourself: Have I got what it takes? Do I have the passion and the drive to lead a team to the next level?
In our WOWW! Workshop and in our WOWW! by design development programme, these ten key areas feature very heavily. Because when you start down this road, you need to make it all the way to your destination!
Find out about how the world-leading best practice quality standards can become your business framework.