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November 18, 2021

Characteristics of a High-Performing Team

When you think of a high-performing team, what comes to mind? Do you envision your favourite sports team, a company you admire, or perhaps an advisory team within your firm that has been ranked first in the country? High-performing teams are groups of individuals with different skills and experiences who work together at an elevated level towards a common goal. They come in all shapes and sizes, from as small as three, to eight people or more. But no matter the size, they all share similar characteristics that help them achieve superior results.

Wealth advisory teams have become a mainstay in the financial services industry. Research shows that advisors within teams have 8.8% annual revenue growth compared to 6.9% for individual advisors. There is a depth of potential within a team which, when leveraged correctly, contributes to the entire team’s success. Here is a look at some key elements to help you form your winning team.

Set the culture

The foundation of every high-performing team is its culture. This is the unique element that allows you to be creative and set an identity. This can be accomplished in three steps:

  1. Create your vision: A team aligned towards a common purpose can achieve tremendous results. This can be tailored to your marketing strategy targeting a new segment, a net asset goal by year-end, or even a decision to incorporate responsible investing into your approach. Whatever the vision, ensure you’re transparent with the team.
  2. Establish your values: Values are the cornerstone of any great team. They should reflect what your business stands for, such as honesty and integrity. They can also reflect your character, ensuring your team lives up to the same standard you’ve set for yourself.
  3. Develop a shared mindset: A shared mindset can help your team think alike, and allow you to be at ease knowing your team has the same priorities and concerns as you. An example can be “caring for clients first.” That simple phrase empowers your team to think and react similarly, ensuring a synchronized corporate culture.

Define roles and responsibilities

It’s crucial to define the roles and responsibilities of your team members. When doing so, be sure to lean into everyone’s strengths. Some individuals are more analytical, while others are great with clients. Give them roles that empower them to be the best they can be, such as client service or financial analysis. This is extremely important as it allows your team to be as efficient as possible.

You also want to ensure that every step of the customer journey has an assigned team member, from discovery to implementation. By doing so, you increase transparency and accountability within the team. Keep this structure as your team grows. By delegating certain tasks and responsibilities accordingly, you can focus on your business.

Be an engaged leader

Finally, lead! High-performing teams have engaging leaders. While being a leader may not be what you signed up for, all advisors have the natural ability to lead. Leverage your skillset, experience and integrate some best practices to ensure your team is achieving expectations. This starts by instilling trust and respect within the team through:

  • Transparency: Create an open-door policy with complete transparency. Having a system in place to gather feedback from your team can help you know what’s going on and address it directly.
  • Communication: Establish clear forms of communication and leverage the right tools to be as effective as possible (messaging, video calls, emails, etc.). When thinking of communication, set a weekly meeting that fits with your team’s schedule to keep every member aligned and engaged.
  • Set the tone: As a leader, you must set the right standards for the team. Your team looks to you for guidance, so ensure they are always on the same page as to what they are looking to achieve. Outline your expectations, for example: 24-hour client request turnaround, or a three-meeting sales cycle. Whichever expectations you do set, make sure they are being respected by the entire team. Reward their commitment and hard work regularly, which will inspire them to be at their best.

High-performing teams have a lot of elements that make them successful. Consistent performance is not achieved through luck, but rather by preparation, hard work and timely execution. These practice management tips are not the only things to consider when building a high-performing team. Remember a high-performance culture is a journey, not a destination. Leverage your team’s strengths, and when all working together, they will provide exceptional results.

About the Author

Claudio Cipolla

Claudio Cipolla

Blog author
Practice Management

As Director, Campaigns, in the Practice Management team at CI Global Asset Management, Claudio brings over ten years of experience in the financial services industry working with top tier institutions to the Practice Management team. He began his career as a financial advisor working with high net worth families, and then pivoted to leading high performing teams on growing their practice. Claudio also recently completed his Executive MBA in Boston. There, he worked closely with international leaders, consulting on various fintech projects at the C Level. Recognized for his thought leadership, Claudio is continually contributing to the industry through presentations and consultations. With his depth of expertise, Claudio will provide strategic best practices to investment advisors across Canada.

Important Disclaimers

FOR ADVISOR USE ONLY. No portion of this communication may be reproduced or distributed to clients as it may not comply with Sales Communications requirements.

This document is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal, legal, accounting, tax or investment advice, or construed as an endorsement or recommendation of any entity or security discussed. Every effort has been made to ensure that the material contained in this document is accurate at the time of publication.  Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document. All charts and illustrations in this document are for illustrative purposes only. They are not intended to predict or project investment results. Individuals should seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding any particular investment. Investors should consult their professional advisors prior to implementing any changes to their investment strategies. 

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Published November 11, 2021