Talent or Strategy? Which is More Important?

In sports, the goal is to fill your team with the most talented players that will contribute to winning. However, winning requires more than just talent; it requires a solid strategy. Similar to sports, businesses require both to succeed too. But now ask yourself, is that how your business operates? Do you focus on hiring top quality employees to add to your team AND developing a killer strategy for them to execute?

In financial services practices, I find that the most talented individuals are usually the lead advisors on their team or in their firm. They are also the ones responsible for scripting and guiding the strategy. Yet, in many cases, the strategy does not run the operation, the talent does. We have all heard about this happening on sports teams from time to time, and the results when the talent is in charge are rarely positive. So, why does this persist in smaller organizations?

Due to a relatively small number of professionals on a financial services team, the one with the most talent is the assumed leader. He/she is responsible for closing sales, business development, and strategy – often in that order. It is an overwhelming workload for any individual to take on.

On a football team, those responsible for strategy work around the clock (literally) to attempt to design the best game plan, utilizing all of the talent efficiently and effectively in order to win. In a small business, strategy is not considered nearly as often, and due to that, mistakes are made and opportunities are not capitalized on. Also, the staff can be more reactionary to client needs and less focused on the next level.

What is the solution?

Carve out time (not just in December of each year) but weekly, to evaluate your strategy and manage the implementation and results. Are there results? Is the strategy working? Are we using our talent effectively and efficiently? Is everyone being held accountable?

A weekly focus – even if it is just 30 minutes – is sometimes just what a firm needs to achieve their goals. I know it seems simple, but until you try it, you won’t know how 30 minutes can change your focus and your business.

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