Hire above your weight

I lack most of the skills it would take to get hired at my own company. I’m terrible with Excel, I’m no designer, tech confounds me, my grasp of digital marketing is modest, my typing’s atrocious, and I don’t finish many of the things I start.

I could go on.

Yet somehow our advisory firm has managed to go from zero to more than $11 billion in assets under management.

One of the main reasons we were able to achieve what we have is because we hire and retain great people who are highly skilled at what they do. In short, I hire people who are much better at what they do than I am.

It wasn’t always this way. When we first started our RIA back in 1993, my business partner and I started out with one staff person: essentially a glorified receptionist. We had little experience in hiring and managing and figured this person would grow professionally as our company did.

While we’d initially chosen a fertile niche market and had good asset growth the first few years, we began to experience some issues with our staff, which, by then, had expanded to four people. Our first employee had been elevated to office manager and so he was responsible for finding new employees.

What we discovered was that this person was threatened by people who were more educated than he was, and so he only hired applicants he wasn’t intimidated by. So at least at first, we grew more slowly than we might have otherwise because we were staffed by people who were either mediocre at their jobs or who had poor attitudes.

[More: Hire new college grads, and help plan for the future of your firm]

I’ll never forget the day we made the conscious decision to change our approach by only hiring those individuals who had exceptional skills, ideas, a positive outlook and the desire to grow and make the company their home.

The change in our company was both remarkable and immediate.

For starters, we had people who could make competent decisions in areas of the business that we might not have fully understood. Further, the working atmosphere of our small staff went from people showing up to do their jobs, to a cadre of players excited to be on a winning team and make careers.

As we’ve grown to a firm of roughly 250 employees, what I most enjoy is the people I get to work with. Every day I’m struck because I get to work with experts in their various fields and watch them do things that I can barely understand.

Today, every leader in our company is encouraged to hire people who are better than they are, to find people who will excel at their jobs and make Allworth a better place for our clients and our associates.

While I have several industry credentials, periodically someone will ask me if I have an MBA. My answer is always the same: “I don’t, but thankfully, we have several people who do.”

[More: 3 principles for growing your firm]

Scott Hanson is co-founder of Allworth Financial, formerly Hanson McClain Advisors, a fee-based RIA with $8 billion in AUM.

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The post Hire above your weight appeared first on InvestmentNews.

As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.

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