Invest in Yourself & Your Investment Advisory Firm
It’s a new year, many of us are making resolutions to invest in becoming our best selves. If you were given the opportunity to take a course to improve yourself and your firm for $20 and less than 12 hours of your time, would you take it?
With just a few clicks, a book can be on your doorstep—or downloaded—and you can be on your way to unlocking new skills and inspiring new ideas. Now more than ever, books can become a portal to an immersive learning experience—no expensive and time-consuming course needed. Many authors also have supporting material such as YouTube videos, which aid your understanding of their material.
Don’t like to read? Don’t forget about audiobooks! You can easily download to your device and listen at your convenience.
Many investment advisors have read longtime favorites The E Myth by Michael Gerber, Wealth Management by Harold Evensky, The New Retirementality by Mitch Anthony and The Sustainable Edge by Ron Carson (if you haven’t go ahead and add those to your library), but sometimes our greatest ideas and innovations can be borrowed from other industries. So, if you’re ready to be inspired, here are a few suggestions from outside of the financial advice industry that every investment advisory owner can benefit from (in no particular order).
by Carol S. Dweck
This book has surfaced on several recommended reading lists and I bought it based on the personal recommendation of a leadership and culture consultant, and whoa, was this book ever a game-changer for me! It focuses on Dr. Dweck’s extensive research on the characteristics of growth and fixed mindsets. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and personality can be developed with effort and attention over time; a fixed mindset is that intelligence and personality are primarily inborn, and that you have to work with what you’ve got. While people have a natural default, there are small triggers that can get people into a growth or a fixed mindset at any given time. This has major implications on their job performance. Obviously, entrepreneurs need to find their way to a growth mindset, at least some of the time.
I have seen many of Dr. Dweck’s concepts referenced in other books and articles. Learning the science behind recognizing and characterizing these states of mind helped me decipher behaviors I already observed in people in my professional and personal life. Whether you’re an advisor, current firm owner or aspiring future firm owner, this is an important book for self-reflection, leadership development and interacting with others.
By Gen. Stanley McChrystal
This was an unlikely read for me as I do not typically venture into the military book realm (although my interest has now been piqued). This book details how, after 9/11, the US Military’s Joint Special Operations Task Force had to adapt to a new style of enemy. Its historically rigid and siloed organizational structure was no longer effective, and in order to succeed they had to radically change how they operated. I saw striking parallels to the changing business environment in the 21st Century and the need to rethink previously praised business models. This is a timely read considering the myriad of changes currently affecting the financial advice industry.
By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Following on Team of Teams I chose to explore another book from the military genre. This book drove home the fact that no matter the strategy, it takes Extreme Ownership to lead an effective team. While this principle is echoed in many books, these authors dive in deeply and illustrate the lessons through their experiences on the battlefield as well as in their business management company. (Note: If you plan to read Team of Teams as well, I recommend reading it before Extreme Ownership for a consistent chronology of the combat stories.)
You can’t run a successful investment advisory firm without leading an effective team. If you are a investment advisory owner or hope to be in the future this is a great read.
By Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar Studios, details his journey of lessons learned while creating Pixar. It is a fun, delightful read with powerful lessons on how to manage people, as well as create and sustain a high functioning company culture. Lessons learned are demonstrated by detailing the stories from behind the scenes of many of the most beloved childhood movies of all time (starting with Toy Story, the world’s first computer animated feature film in 1995). This is one of my top recommended reads for anyone interested in understanding how to shape an innovative investment advisory firm culture.
by Bernadette Jiwa
Meaningful focuses on customer experiences and is a great introduction to the concept of human-centered design. The central message is that companies succeed when they uncover what is relevant to their customers and design the customer experience around that; always keeping the customers’ worldview in mind. Its underlying theme is that people don’t buy a service or product solely for function, they buy for feeling. Many of us focus our business strategy around function without accounting for the emotional aspect of a purchase or transaction. This book explores crafting more meaningful experiences that will resonate with your customers.
Most advisors understand that this business is heavily relational and trust based but does your business model and marketing reflect that? If you want a leg up on your competitors, read this book.
Hopefully, this list inspires you to find a book that can help you bring new ideas to life in your investment advisory firm.
About the Author
Dr. Jessica Trichel harnesses her passion for business education to lead Live Oak Bank’s educational outreach program. She aims to educate students and industry professionals about the realities of financing and business ownership. She is equipped with a wealth of information from Live Oak Bank’s industry-specific loan portfolios and team member expertise. Dr. Trichel presents nationwide on a variety of topics related to small business ownership, with the goal of empowering the next generation on how to live out the American dream of owning their own businesses.