3 steps to leverage year-end planning and kick-start 2021

If you’re like most working adults or simply a part of the human race 2020 has been tiring. It has challenged our resilience and our relationships, thrown a wrench in our daily routines and depleted our excitement, both at home and in the office. Throw in the recent drama surrounding the presidential election, and I’m sure you’ll agree that our energy and patience are wearing thin. There’s good news, however.

Even in tough years, there are so many things to be thankful for so many silver linings and lessons that can be learned from the exhaustion. Believe it or not, challenging times have a way of drawing out the aspects of life we appreciate. Times like these can push us to reexamine what we’re doing, where we’re heading and why we choose to pursue the things we do. The holiday season has a way of grounding us. So if you’re feeling lost, lethargic or just are generally lacking the drive to make the most of the remainder of this year, here are three things I think every adviser should consider to make the most of their end-of-year planning.

1. REFLECT ON YOUR OPPORTUNITIES

The end of the year often brings with it a contemplative state that pushes you, especially as a business owner, to think about what has gone well and what hasn’t. Embrace the space to do this. Take a Friday afternoon in the next month to reflect on the following:

  • In which areas did we find surprising success?
  • What gaps in our service model did we uncover?
  • Our clients were most vocal about …
  • If there was one thing we’d do differently, we would …
2. RESTORE YOUR BURNING DESIRE BY BLUEPRINTING

If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you press ahead with purpose? That’s precisely why we take our advisers through The Blueprinting Process an in-depth exercise we’ve led thousands of advisers through, one that’s designed to help them discover their purpose and lead with passion. A few quick-hitting questions that I believe every adviser should be asking themselves every year toward the end of the year:

  • Do our mission and vision compel us forward?
  • I want people to remember us by saying …
  • If I wasn’t so afraid, I would …
  • What core values are authentic to our firm and separate us from other advisers?
3. REIGNITE YOUR VISION WITH A TEAM RETREAT

Assuming you’ve taken considerable time to address No. 1 and No. 2 above, you must clearly articulate your vision to your team. Without sharing or giving your team an environment to buy in to what you believe, you can’t gain any meaningful traction in the year ahead. Come to the table prepared.

Host a full-day team retreat to discuss what you’ve learned, and let others provide their input and perspective. Touch on topics like:

  • Review of the last 12 months.
  • Details of your newly formed vision.
  • Unique differentiators, weaknesses and opportunities for the firm.
  • Brainstorming on next year’s goals and key initiatives.

If done correctly, this retreat for the team can be a defining moment in strengthening the culture and focus of the firm.

I’ve recycled my way through this process every year since 1983, in good years and rough years alike. Never underestimate your need to re-center yourself, your priorities and your vision. There couldn’t be a more urgent priority as we close out the year, or a more necessary one to secure a solid footing for your firm’s future.  

[More: Struggling with organic growth? Go back to the basics]

Ron Carson is CEO and founder of Carson Group, which serves advisers and investors through its businesses: Carson Group Coaching, Carson Group Partners and Carson Wealth. Follow him @RCHusker.

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