The Five Obstacles to Making Change Happen

In my article last fall, Why Top Performing Advisors are Exiting the Business, I made the case that only advisors who embrace fundamental change will prosper going forward.

Indeed, most successful advisors say they’re open to making changes to position themselves for the future. After all, everyone has read about the shifting competitive landscape and that as a consequence it’s imperative to alter how we run our businesses.

That raises two questions.

Given that advisors recognize the need to change, why do so many postpone making meaningful modifications to how they work until they start losing clients or get squeezed on profitability … at which point they are playing catchup. By waiting until they have no choice, they realize only a fraction of the benefits from making changes that they would have by moving earlier.

Second, are there ways to improve the odds of making meaningful change in your business? (Spoiler Alert: The answer is yes. Later in this article I’ll point to four proven strategies to make change happen … including a tip from that well-known productivity guru, Jerry Seinfeld.)

The gap between intentions and action

This issue came to the fore at a recent keynote I gave for a large advisor conference. After some preliminary remarks, I asked the audience to do two things:

  1. Write down the last conference where they’d gotten new ideas for their business.
  1. Write down all the things they were doing differently as a result of those ideas – not the things they’d meant to do or that were on a to-do list to get around to, but the things they were actually doing differently.

Then I asked the most successful advisor in the room a simple question: Thinking about the last conference he’d attended, how many things was the average advisor who’d attended doing differently as a result of being there.