In 1989 Colin Jackson approached coach Malcolm Arnold with what seemed like a foolhardy idea of inviting one of his biggest rivals, Canadian Mark McCoy, to become part of Arnold's coaching stable.
“It was highly unusual,” Arnold is quoted as saying,“and I wasn’t keen to begin with. But Colin said he thought he had a lot to gain from Mark because he was a very good starter. Ultimately, they worked very well together. They had a very strong bond and I think they both became better athletes for it.”
Such co-operation in sport is not unprecedented.
Bob Rotella, the renowned sports psychologist, tells a story about an incident some months after he started working with Tom Kite in 1984. Tom had started recommending Bob to other golfers on the tour. One of these other golfers got to wondering.
“Wait a minute,” he said to Tom. “If this guy Rotella helps you, why do you want him to help us? We’re your competitors.”
“The way I see it,” Tom replied, “there’s more than enough money out here for all of us. You guys are going to help me get better. And I’m going to help you get better. We’re all going to help each other have fun seeing how good we can get”.
Rotella goes on to explain that Kite had the ideal attitude towards competition and his fellow competitors. He recognised that the other people on the course were not the real opposition that a golfer faces. The first opposition is the game itself: the course, the club, the ball. The second opponent is the golfer himself. Can he discipline his mind to produce the best score his body is capable of?
There is an obvious analogy here with the new breed of financial adviser. By and large, these IFAs realise that the market exists where good clients value strategic advice and financial planning.
Furthermore, those advisers who understand where that value lies, and are able to demonstrate that clearly to clients, are able to charge fees commensurate with that value without experiencing client resistance.
In relation to the sporting scenarios described above, research shows that these progressive businesses also know the benefit of mixing with like-minded advisers that they can learn from for mutual benefit.
For every IFA who says “my clients won’t pay fees” or “clients round here won’t pay for advice” there is a response along the lines of “some of your clients will pay if they can see the benefit” and “yes they will because other advisers are already doing it in this area”.
Many people believe that this transition is in its early stages. Fuelled by the depolarisation review, by concern over reducing commissions, by the frustration born of a lifetime of giving away ‘free’ advice and by concerns over the move to principle lead regulatory such as the Treating Customers Fairly initiative, the numbers of IFAs in transition are increasing.
For those who have stolen a march and who are seeking to not rest on their laurels, where does the future growth lie? More of the same might apply, yet a fertile breeding ground for ideas will come from debate with like-minded individuals.
There is an old Japanese proverb which says “none of us are as smart as all of us”. We might like to think this is not true for us but in reality it probably is.
Clearly certain forums already exist for rich development to be fostered. The Institute of Financial Planning, for example, provides members with a regular flow of information and branch meetings where business development and the value of financial planning can be discussed, developed and acted upon.
There are many ways to categorise people, for example, by physical attributes, by socio-economic groupings or by geography. They can, of course, also be categorised by attitude.
One simple analogy is to consider people as either drains or radiators. Drains are negative entities, sucking enthusiasm and positive energy. Radiators, on the other hand, radiate hope and aspiration, projecting warmth and energy. Seeking out radiators, and steering clear of drains whenever possible, is good.
Colin Jackson’s motive was about physically improving his start times though it is likely that he wouldn’t invite a draining resource into his inner circle. In a similar vein, mixing with positive people who lift you is a genuine thought control strategy used by elite athletic performers and mere mortals alike.
Take a moment to consider the real challenges you face. These are not your fellow (new model) IFAs, some of whom in fact could benefit you, but, moreover, they are the ways in which you will continue to grow, market, develop propositions, sell and deliver.
Jim Constable is a consultant at FP Advance.
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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