Making Meetings Count

We should also be prepared for internal meetings and take advantage of the time we have scheduled with managers and leadership. If we’re struggling with an assignment we’ve been given, we should outline what specifically has been troubling us and how our managers can help us instead of merely saying that we’ve had a hard time with the assignment.

We should also outline the steps we’ve taken thus far to get the assignment back on track and outline the plan. Basically, we should strive to answer any questions our managers may have before they even have to ask. I’ve found that when you specify what information and support you need from your manager and colleagues, they are more likely to help you in a timely manner.

Honoring Internal Deadlines

If we are treating our higher-ups like clients, that also means we’re taking the deadlines they set seriously. And we need to tell them if we’re not going to make the deadlines as soon as we know, then set up a mitigation strategy. Clients hire financial advisors to make their lives easier, and in the same way we should strive to make the lives of our managers and colleagues easier however we can (within reason—if you’re only being asked to rotate PDFs for your first year on the job, you can and should look for something else). In addition to doing what we’re asked to do, we can and should proactively seek out projects and assignments that have not been delegated to us. If we see areas for improvement in our firm, we should speak up and develop a project plan to address pain points.

There are three main reasons millennials and Gen Zs leave their jobs: 1) they are dissatisfied with pay; 2) they haven’t had enough opportunities to advance; and 3) they aren’t getting enough development and training. While many advisory firms pay pretty competitively, they have some work to do on giving their underlings opportunities to develop and advance. I firmly believe the industry will continue to evolve. There’s a lot of work already being done to make advisory firms optimal work environments for motivated young professionals.

In the meantime, as many firms still lack mentorship and training infrastructure, we should take our professional development into our own hands. We can do this by learning from those around us, developing expertise that is lacking in our firms and servicing our managers as if they were clients.

Janki Patel is a management consultant at the Ensemble Practice in Seattle.

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