As you continue to think about growing your collaboration network, you’ll find yourself moving into roles beyond colleague. That may include others using your knowledge base for training or advice in totally different ways. You may be both supplier and expert or even mentor and partner.
Think you’ll lose your mind if you read one more thing about the importance of networking? You’re not alone. There are enough blogs and Instagram posts about how networking wins careers and ensures a steady pipeline of business. There are even “unnetworking” events to bring people together to not talk about work. So, if networking is a worn out welcome mat, what IS a tactic that can help boost business? Collaboration.
Imagine two scenarios: In the first, you arrive at a standard happy hour, meeting and greeting others in your field, and possibly handing out business cards. You might make a few connections with folks in your field who could be of use if you want to change firms. You might make a few other connections with folks more senior to you, who could be great mentors. Maybe, if you are lucky, you meet someone whose practice is outside of your own niche to whom you can refer business and who can refer business to you as well. Two hours and some terrible wine later, you might have a handful of business cards.
Now the second scenario: You arrive at a conference in your niche area and meet a few folks who work in different industries. You talk about the specific problems the clients of those folks are having and trade resources. You exchange the name of a realtor who is known for handling properties sold in heated divorces with an estate attorney, who also provides you with a new approach to talking to your client about upcoming tax changes that could impact the employees set to retire in the New Year.
In the first scenario, you’ve networked, met folks in your area and in your field and exchanged information. In the second scenario, you’ve exchanged knowledge and resources to solve business problems. The first requires little actual information. The second requires more information and a higher level of communication. Yet, the second scenario helped you solidify a relationship with a client, and possibly acquire new clients through the estate attorney who now knows your approach to client education. The same thing can be said for that estate attorney who now has an easier road through discussing how to de-couple an estate plan.
Most financial advisors collaborate all day with their office staff and teams. A good workflow will ensure that employees know their subject areas and approach others as needed. Most good teams will have players who want to know the elements of other’s tasks so that they can meet each other’ needs. Collaboration in the workplace isso common you probably don’t even realize you are doing it.
But outside of the workplace, collaboration might not seem as common. Enter “collaboration networks.” Those networks are proving successful in other fields, and may be a new trick that your tried and true horse of a career can manage. A collaboration network is a formal group of organizations and individuals who gather to share resources and data. By collaborating, the members can solve problems more quickly, and often in more depth, than if they worked on their own. In doing so, the collaboration network members increase their knowledge base and often get access to resources that may seem too daunting to a novice.
By looking to build your own informal collaboration network you can boost your career as well. To do so, you’ll need a collaboration mindset instead of a networking mindset. Instead of thinking of who might help you bring in new clients, having a collaboration mindset switches you to thinking who you could learn from and about what. It also allows you to identify your weak spots before you encounter them which better positions you in a dynamic industry. Think of those you encounter as potential experts, partners, mentors, and suppliers. As the financial industry changes, so too will those in your collaboration network. For example, a supplier of secure cloud-based services might become an expert at unraveling the complexity of a new cybersecurity law.
As you continue to think about growing your collaboration network, you’ll find yourself moving into roles beyond colleague. That may include others using your knowledge base for training or advice in totally different ways. You may be both supplier and expert or even mentor and partner. Those roles, and how others use you, allow you to find training opportunities that strengthen your career. For example, if you collaborate with a faith leader to speak about financial investment and a church’s need for an endowment (as a service opportunity) that experience in public speaking may help you develop new training modules for a client’s employees. While a networking mindset might have focused on finding clients in the crowd at the church, the collaboration mindset has you thinking about solving the church’s concerns. The impact may be that your client recommends your training sessions to others, who then engage your financial services.
Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering. Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.get xpress proposal