Benchmark Business Group

Employee Clarity = Success

December 5, 2023

Dwight D. Eisenhower once famously said: "You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership."

For financial service professionals, fostering an environment of success is a cornerstone of effective leadership. In our extensive engagements with financial service businesses, a common grievance surfaces: the challenge of hiring competent personnel.

As we dive deeper, it becomes evident that many leaders who believe it's difficult to find good people may not have designed their businesses to ensure employee success. Often, blame is placed on employees without recognizing that the business lacks a structure designed to foster success.

The remedy lies in implementing clarity across three critical dimensions: clarity of results, clarity of action, and clarity of accountability.

Clarity of Results: Provide your team with a clear understanding of the results expected from their tasks and connect those outcomes to the broader significance of their work. While most businesses assign tasks to employees, often, the true result expected is not communicated clearly. For instance, hiring an employee to answer phones is a task, but the result a financial service business truly needs is exceptional customer care and information flow. Define the results you seek, and then employees can align their attitudes and actions accordingly.

Clarity of Action: Design explicit tools and processes outlining the actions necessary for success. Once employees understand the desired results, the next step is to equip them with clear tools and processes. Well-documented processes, job aids, checklists, and training materials become essential business systems. For a financial service professional handling calls, a laminated guide detailing extension numbers, call transfers, voicemail procedures, and conferencing is a practical example. Training on product knowledge, company-specific information, and frequently asked questions provides employees with the confidence and clarity needed to take the right actions.

Clarity of Accountability: Establish a transparent structure of accountability for employees to depend on and work within. With a clear understanding of results and the tools to take appropriate actions, employees must also be aware of their accountabilities. An organizational chart delineating lines of communication and accountability is fundamental. This chart should represent not just accountability but also dependability—employees relying on their managers for guidance and support. Managers, in turn, ensure employees are clear about their accountabilities and equipped with the necessary tools and training for success.

Leadership by design in the financial services realm is about leading through clarity of results, action, and accountability. It is entirely possible to attract and lead exceptional professionals by structuring your financial service business for success. Design your business with clarity to set both yourself and your employees on a path to success in the dynamic landscape of financial services.

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