The Client-centred Blog

Why is your financial planning practice culture the key to delivering exceptional service?

Create a client-centred culture

Are you committed to delivering exceptional client service?

If so, employees who genuinely care, communicate well, and take responsibility are the key. The foundation of this resides in the business culture you create.

One of the world’s leading business thinkers, the late Peter Drucker, is credited with saying…

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’

He believed that culture is the key to successful implementation of your business strategy. Without the right culture then strategy is far more likely to fail.

So, what is culture?

Although culture is often defined as the behaviours, beliefs, values, vision, and environment of an organisation, ultimately it comes down to something more fundamental.

Culture is the collective state of mind of the people in your business.

For example, can you imagine how different a culture of collaboration and always putting the client first would be to one of fear and blaming?

Each would lead to completely different behaviours and, therefore, results. (‘Invisible Power’ by Ken Manning, Robin Charbit and Sandra Krot is a great book for learning more about state of mind in a business context).

Why does state of mind matter?

People are more creative, productive, and resilient when they are in clear, unburdened, states of mind. When a team operating ‘in the zone’ it will perform at a far higher level than just the sum of the parts.

On the other hand, even the very best mission, strategy, and processes will fail if people’s hearts and minds are not in them.

Although most leaders seem to recognise the importance of a great business culture, how do you intentionally create it?

A great example of creating a healthy business culture

I was reading about the highly successful US retailer Nordstrom. This is a business well-known for giving great customer service, amongst the very best in the industry.

For instance, they were the first retailer to introduce a no-quibble returns policy. Their competitors said this would be commercial suicide yet it not only worked, it is now standard practice across the industry.

A clue to how Nordstrom creates a great business culture is in their approach to the employee handbook.

Many organisations burden their people with lots of rules, regulations, and procedures. Yet if people’s heads are over-filled with procedures and they are micro-managed, it tends to bring out the worst in them.

Nordstrom takes a very different approach and the employee handbook is just a single card that says…

“Use good judgement in all situations.”

Nordstrom aren’t telling people how to think or what to do in a detailed way because they understand that doing so would work against, not towards their goal. By placing trust in their people and encouraging them to think for themselves it tends to bring out the best in them.

So, if you want to create a client-centred business culture where can you begin?

Business improvement invariably begins with a focus upon process improvement. Whilst essential, this is also putting the cart before the horse.

What about state of mind improvement?

State of mind improvement is a high leverage way to improve both culture and processes. In better states of mind people are naturally more collaborative, innovative, and enthusiastically get behind what they are doing.

P.S. Do you want to bring out the best in your people so that they consistently produce high-quality results? Click here to find our more about my business mentoring programme.

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