In SF (sort of) – Time to Think

As I usually do when I visit the west coast, I increase my thinking activity significantly. Whereas before I was downtown SF, this time I am slightly

Golden Gate!

outside the city. Perhaps the slight change will affect my thinking?:)

I focus on 3 major avenues during my thinking time – each is an effort to improve what I do to help others through my work and personal life. In a nutshell, here’s what I do:

1. I research new ideas

2. I review my current processes looking for improvement

3. I look for ways I can execute new ideas for the betterment of my clients and my firm

These 3 areas of brainstorming, research, learning, and improving have helped me tremendously and I would recommend thinking time to anyone who has big plans.

New Ideas

new ideas means new ways to serve clients, new investment ideas for client portfolios, new processes to deliver information so that it’s easier for clients to understand, new ways of thinking for me so that my overall value proposition is better to the people I serve (inside and outside of business).

Example:

I’m reading Seth Godin’s “Tribes” and I immediately viewed my client community a whole new way. I have 2 pages of notes now on how I will make my client community, something I already want to be cozy and purposeful, even more like a tribe where ideas and stories are shared so that everyone in our tribe/community grows and improves. That’s what it’s all about – everyone becoming better!

Review Current Process

I have certain processes which I use to show clients progress and information on how they are progressing with their goals.

Example:

Traditional planning software is very unappealing to me and often leads to enormous multipage reports that hit the all purpose family “drawer” without much reading. I have continously refined my report sheets and still they need to be better. I have been and am working on better ways to deliver information.

Ways to Execute New Ideas

Having good ideas is one thing, but delivering them in a way that really encapsulates what I want to accomplish is another. The key is to test and refine an idea Рbut it must be tried first! And we want to make sure that the first attempt is decent enough to not only make those we serve happy but also make it easy to  elicit feedback that will make it better.

Example:

After much thinking time, my quarterly client dinners were implemented in August of 2010. I had been thinking about this type of event (not too earth shattering in the financial planning field) for a long time. How to make it match what I’m trying to get across. I put together and am still refining holding events for clients and their friends only, where we enjoy some food, I address an issue that is important to them, and they have time to converse, share and give me more feedback.

The way I did this initially was pretty good, and there were certainly areas that needed improvement – suggestions that I took and worked into the next event.

All in all, thinking time has benefited our community (tribe:) immensely. I expect nothing less from my thinking this time around too. My clients will see the results of these efforts 2,4,6,8 months down the road:).