Training Advisers

If your only tool is a pipe wrench, you will tend to see every problem as a pipe.

The lesson. New advisers and old advisers need to be humble. One method, no matter how wonderful, does not solve every problem.

Despite the limitations of pipe wrenches, advisers would be well advised to behave like plumbers.  Follow their work process:

  • Drive to the job site.
  • Investigate
  • Diagnose the problem.
  • Go back to the truck.
  • Pick out the specialized tools and/or materials that solve the problem.
  • Apply the solution.

All advisers develop on two metrics:

  1. Improve investigative and diagnostic skills.
  2. Build the tool and material inventory.

The difference is the more successful advisers tend to spend more time on investigate and diagnose, while less experienced ones spend more time on tools and materials.  Be careful, customers value investigate and diagnose more than they value tools and materials.

Just as a plumber, the ones with the best combination of diagnostic skills and the tools to address the problem, will be called again and again.

Not a bad strategy.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

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