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Culture Club: Why Culture Matters

Robert Sandrew is the chief growth officer at Integrated Partners, a national financial planning and registered investment advisory firm.

Russ Alan Prince: How important is culture when it comes to advisor growth?

Robert Sandrew: Let’s face it: culture is a cornerstone for a successful financial advisory practice. And the analogy to a first date is really apt here. If you want to engage in transparent and upfront communication early in a potential new relationship with a client, that has to be woven deep into the fabric of your firm. Everyone can tell when your team is faking it.

Prince: You mentioned communications. How important is communication as a component of culture?

Sandrew: Effective, consistent communication is everything. This includes scheduling regular meetings and check-ins with key stakeholders and ensuring that everyone is well-informed. By establishing efficient communication channels and working collaboratively, everything runs more smoothly. Great communication is essential to a great culture and, ultimately sustainable growth.

Prince: Even when you have a great culture and amazing communication, how can you ensure alignment with prospects?

Sandrew: I think it always will come down to fit. Have you ever heard the phrase, “He was great. He just wasn’t great for us.” I think financial advisors face that same pressure. Culture is critical, but there are times, whether it’s the result of an advisor with a different niche or a different set of skills, when the fit isn’t there, and that is okay.

Prince: So, how can culture ultimately influence outcomes?

Sandrew: Culture fosters synergy. Culture enables a firm to seamlessly grow, pivot and execute. But a great culture requires two critical factors: trust and commitment. You need to trust your team that they will effectively and efficiently handle their responsibilities without micromanagement. If you trust them, then they will remain steadfast in their commitment to the mission of the firm. And the result is almost effortless growth.

Prince: Almost effortless?

Sandrew: Well, let’s be honest: Nothing is effortless. Having an effective team culture will always require work. Your team needs a great leader at the helm to direct them, encourage them, and, yes even redirect them when things go off course. But with a great team, you have all the tools you need to lead them in the right direction.

Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He is a strategist for family offices and the ultra-wealthy.


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