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Business Bankers: Getting to the heart of your client’s business

Your annual client meetings are preceded by analysis of their financials and ensuring covenants of loan agreements are still within bounds.  Next you spend time with the clients to ensure their business is on track. But how much time do you put into digging deeper into the long-term general welfare of the client and their business?  Is this even your responsibility since the bank’s investment is protected with collateral and insurance policies? The answer to the question depends on your bank’s marketing strategy.  If your marketing is

Financial Advisors: Have you discussed your client’s largest asset with them?

You carefully analyze your client’s needs to create an appropriately balanced portfolio for them.  You then diligently manage the portfolio by continuously monitoring corporate earnings, the markets and the economy.  But for most business owners, their largest single asset is outside your control. That asset is their company. What is your responsibility for maximizing the value of your client’s company? After all, that is

Attorneys: You counsel business clients to take action. Are they following your advice?

Have you ever had the situation where you provided a business client exactly the advice needed but wondered if they could successfully implement the business end? Or, maybe you knew implementation would happen but speculated if that implementation would go smoothly and/or maximize the business’ potential?   The question then becomes how much ongoing operational advice and oversight are you able to provide?   Outside of actually conducting onsite and ongoing detailed reviews of their operations, how do you best help your clients?

Management Lessons from Coach Steve Kerr

For the fourth year in row, the NBA finals is a match-up between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  If the Cavs win, it will primarily be due to the super-human strength and talent of LeBron James.  However, a Warriors win would further validate the management talents of Coach Steve Kerr. A recent article in the New York Times focused on how Coach Kerr and the Warriors spend halftime. Looking at these 15 minute routines you begin to see how Kerr’s management style leads to success.

What’s your passion?

I recently met a plumber who told me a story I’ve heard many times before.  This plumber started his company because he had a skill he enjoyed, enjoyed using that skill to help others and desired the autonomy of “being his own boss.” Like most of us who have started a company, this owner had the passion and motivation to strike out on his own. As the plumber’s business grew, he started adding both skilled and office staff to keep up with demand.  Before long, he found himself running a company instead of being engaged in the skill he enjoyed. 

Checklists = Increased Efficiency

Wouldn’t it be nice if your staff worked with the precision of a fighter pilot and the efficiency of an operating room?  If there was a method for reducing errors while increasing profitability? There is and that method is called “checklists”.

Going Off-Mission to Stay On Mission

The president of a local company (and now a client) initially said to me: “I’d like to work with you but taking that time would be taking me off-mission.”  That is not the first owner who expressed concern about going “off-mission” and letting things lapse back at the office.  This always leads into a discussion on the different meanings or uses of “mission”: the standard or military definition versus when paired with the word “statement”.

Family Business: Preparing for the 21st Century

“Family businesses that manage these five innate advantages are well placed to make the 21st century a family business century.”  This assertion is the conclusion of a Harvard Business Review* article I recently discovered.  So, what are these advantages and is your business prepared to fully benefit from them?  Here’s a brief summary of each along with the questions businesses and families need to ask themselves.

Think out loud – Carefully

You will find that anything you say has enormous impact on the people around you.  You may make an offhand comment and find that people have scurried around to do what they thought you sent them a signal to do, even though you were merely thinking out loud.  If you do think out loud, you may be viewed as indecisive because people feel that you change your mind too often.  Similarly, a hint of a negative comment about one of your employees is likely to echo through the grapevine and reverberate to a much greater extent than you ever intended or believed possible.  Consequently, you may not have anyone to talk about your own problems in the organization.  You may not be able to think out loud.  Many CEOs take on confidential advisers for this reason.  Doing so is not a sign of weakness or an indication that you can’t perform your job; it is simply a functional necessity.  You will probably find that you do need to talk things out, and it helps to have someone you trust serving as a sounding board.