Financial advisors learned how to apply the lessons of Steve Jobs’ to achieve success, after David Patchen highlighted their relevance at a Raymond James' national conference.

Patchen, regional director of ICD Regional Management for Raymond James Financial Services, culled seven of 14 leadership lessons cited in a separate essay by Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson. The Raymond James National Conference for Professional Development is being held this week at The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.

Patchen discussed how to crossover the practices lifted from Apple’s late co-founder, chair and CEO. Jobs’ Zen-driven mantra involved the ability to:  

• Focus
• Simplify
• Put products before profits
• Not rely on focus groups unnecessarily
• Impute
• Push for perfection
• Engage with clients face-to-face

After returning to Apple in 1997 after being forced out, Jobs narrowed his focus and eliminated things that cost time and money. “He believed deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” Patchen said. “Do you know where your business needs to go?”

As for simplifying, this tenet applies to advisors and their teams, as well as to their clients, he said. Advisors should use simple, easy-to-understand language to convey their message and not overload clients with unnecessary e-mails. “More is not better,” Patchen said.

Putting products before profits means to be outcome-driven, like Jobs, not sales driven.

Jobs tended to dismissed focus groups, Patchen said, because, “Customers don’t know what they don’t know until we show them.”  

Because most people form opinions about a company or product based on its packaging or presentation, Patchen asked the gathering to consider what their respective practices “impute”--how they are recognized or perceived by others.

The final lesson from Jobs -- engage face-to-face -- led Patchen to offer some simple methods such as walking a client to their car, changing the environment or holding a business retreat to spur “spontaneous interactions” for collaboration.

“Create ‘white space’ or ‘open agenda’ time,” Patchen said. “It’s all about the experience … Make yours the best it can be -- and don’t compromise.”