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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • One of the biggest mistakes advisors make.
  • What it looks like to lead in advance.
  • The importance of having clear core values and acknowledging staff.
  • How to create processes that work and develop trust with your team.
  • Why you need your team to be involved in developing processes.

If nothing gets done when you leave the office, is it because you don’t have a rockstar—or is it because you suck as a leader? In this episode, Matthew and Micah are joined by their partner and chief technology officer, Orion Matthews, who joins in on the discussion about the issues advisors face when they need to be out of office for any reason. You will get insight into what goes wrong and why having the right team leadership will be a game-changer for your business.

Leadership isn’t a new thing, and it has played a crucial role in the success of many types of businesses, so the guys dive into leadership tools and tactics across industries that can benefit your firm. Listen in to get important tips on what needs to happen in order for things to move smoothly, steadily, and cohesively—even when you’re not in the office.

Podcast Article:

Are You Taking Time Off or Just Working Remotely?

Trying to get away but finding it hard to disconnect? Try these 3 tips for trusting your team and letting go.

Everyone needs time away from their day-to-day work schedule to disconnect, recharge, and be present with their loved ones, but as every financial advisor knows, it can be challenging to truly leave the office behind. This article outlines Matthew and Micah’s top 3 tips for managing an effective team from afar—without spending the whole time worried your office will burn to the ground in your absence.

Action Items in This Article

    • If you’re new to stepping away from day-to-day office activity, start by scheduling just a few hours on your calendar where you will be completely unreachable by your team. You’ll soon learn that an empowered team has everything they need to keep your business running while you unplug for a while.
    • Register for Matthew and Micah’s all-day pre-conference event at #XYPNLive on October 8 in Denver. (Invictus members can also sign up for the next Invictus Mastermind on December 1 and 2 in Las Vegas—it will be fun and transformative!)
    • Read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande for tips on how to delegate more tasks and free up your time for the things that really matter.

Disconnect For Real

As the leader of your rockstar team, one of your goals for implementing a surge schedule and delegating responsibly is having more quality time to connect with your family. But are you allowing your coastal vacations and road trips to be constantly disrupted by team members who can’t access an account or locate a procedure?

If you’re sitting on the beach answering emails and fielding calls from your team, it’s time to face facts: you’re not on vacation; you’re working from the beach. What’s more, your team isn’t learning how to help you lead your business into a more successful future. If you don’t want to spend your whole vacation worrying about the office and missing your kids’ sandcastles, you need to draw clear boundaries between your time at work and your time away.

Orion Matthews, CEO and founder of Queryon, took this idea to a new level when he ditched his cell phone for an entire year. His business not only didn’t crumble around him; it thrived. “I think it’s a question of what management means,” Orion says. Checklists and processes may work well for some companies (including Matthew’s and Micah’s), but they aren’t for every team.

For Orion, managing a team means empowering them by helping them develop strong habits and understand the company’s core values. This includes making sure they know what to do when they can’t ask him what to do. “If you can establish these company habits and everybody knows how the business runs, that’s when you can start to step away a little bit more and just kind of let things flow naturally in your company.”

Allow Your Team to Fail

Business coach John Barron writes that three things can happen when you leave your office: the whole thing can burn to the ground while you’re gone; you can return to find things just as you left them, no better and no worse; or you can return to find your office better than when you left it. If you don’t give your team a chance to fail or succeed on their own, you’ll never know whether they would rise to the challenge or crumble under the pressure.

Matthew Jarvis is out of the office more than the average advisor, and he understands that part of letting go as a leader is anticipating everything the team fears might go wrong. “When you’re going to be out of the office for an extended period of time, it’s critical to do fear-setting with the team,” he says. “Where teams fall apart sometimes is when they’re scared that when you leave, the whole thing’s going to blow up, and they don’t know where the safety valve is. They don’t know the communication policy.”

He thinks of leading remotely a bit like parenting children: you might warn them about the dangers of running on gravel, but until they trip and fall, they haven’t really learned an important lesson. “I need to let that happen,” Matthew says. “I need to let my team make mistakes. If I’m always on call, and anytime they need to push the easy button they get ahold of me, they’ll never learn that lesson. And I’ll never learn that lesson, by the way.”

Respect Your Rockstar Team

With a surge schedule, you have the opportunity to align your vacations with the natural lulls of your office’s meeting cycle. While your team is recovering from all that paperwork and getting caught up on their own projects, they don’t need as much daily interaction with you; it makes sense that these are the best times for you not to be in the office every day.

“Obviously, you don’t want to leave in the middle of an audit,” Orion warns. “If you’re a business owner and you walk off and you know you’re leaving a bomb for your staff, that’s probably not going to work out very well.” But if you give them your emergency contact info and commit to being available if you’re really needed, your team knows they have a safety valve in case of a true emergency and can carry on with confidence.

Micah notes that approaching your vacation schedule with a collaborative mindset is crucial for team opt-in. “They’re the ones doing this on a daily basis,” he says, “and I want to make sure they’re seeing this entire process.” Involving your team in your decisions helps them understand that you’re not abandoning them—you’re giving them space to thrive. “Now we have a higher degree of trust on both sides. They’re not just a cog in a wheel. They can see how it’s going to affect the entire team.”

With a strong team, healthy processes, an emergency contact number, and a clear policy for every conceivable contingency, every person in your office will have the knowledge and confidence to tackle any situation in your absence so you can disconnect, recharge, and be with the people you love.

Resources In Today's Episode:

Read the Transcript Below:

This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…

Matthew Jarvis:   Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Perfect RIA Podcast. I am your co-host Matthew Jarvis, and with me as usual, Micah Shilanski, and we are-

Micah Shilanski: Is that a rainstorm?

Matthew Jarvis:   It’s the audience applause, showed up on the podcast.

Micah Shilanski: I’m on, Cramer’s Mad Money now, this will be great.

Matthew Jarvis:   Also with us, without his own sound effect or maybe he does, is our partner and chief technology officer, Orion Matthews.

Orion Matthews: Hey there, everybody.

Matthew Jarvis:   And you’re the next contestant on the prices, Orion.

Well, for those of you that listened to the last week’s episode (which of course are thousands of you, tens of thousands of you, we’re approaching a million downloads of the podcast) Micah, Orion and I are on an RV trip. We’re currently in Seward, Alaska, which you can Google. That’s kind of a cool place. Those of you that have done Alaska cruises, maybe you’ve ended up here.

We want to talk today and for the entirety of this month, including our webinar, which Colleen and Victoria are going to be doing, on how to run an effective team when you are not in the office.

When you’re not doing surge and you’re on the road with your family or traveling, or just taking time away, how do you make sure your office doesn’t burn to the ground while you’re gone?

Micah Shilanski: And this is such a key thing, because it’s something that we hear all the time, and Orion, I’m super glad to have you today. Sorry for the people watching this on the video. We got three mics, but apparently, third one doesn’t connect. So, we’re going to pass them back and forth with Orion.

But I’m glad Orion’s here because this is not something that is unique to an RIA firm. This is a leadership issue.

Now, there might be some unique things that we need to line up differently because of the financial planning practice. But Orion, has been really successful running multiple businesses before and running larger teams, running smaller teams, and the combination, et cetera.

So, this is a really big leadership conversation. And I always like to step out of our industry at first and say, “Okay, where else have people solved this problem before?” Because it’s not new. These aren’t new things that we’re figuring out. How have they done it successfully, then we bring them in a little bit.

So, Orion, tell us a little bit about some of the companies that you’ve run in the past, kind of your team set up, et cetera. And then maybe we’ll kind of dive into that. Great, how do we distinguish between, do I have rock stars or do I just suck as a leader?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, that’s a great one.

Orion Matthews: Sure. Yeah Micah, thank you for the introduction. So, ran a few teams in the past. Always been on the technology side. So, at first, it was a full service, IT services company. So, we did a lot of sort of sorting out people’s infrastructure, things like that. Also doing consulting, software development, it was a full-service IT firm.

Brick and mortar shop, we spun that up, kind of grew it into multiple states. It was a really fun time.

And then as I had my first kid, sort of decided I was probably not interested in kind of running a brick and mortar going into the office. Everybody was doing this new thing about distributed workforces at the time. So, this was about seven years ago, was radical — pretty un-radical nowadays.

And yeah, so we sold off that business and spun out a small team that is working distributed and has been for the last seven years. It’s been a really fun ride. So yeah, that’s about a bit of a story about me and that company’s kind of growing too, really focused on the data analytics side of things and software development.

Matthew Jarvis:   Now, Orion tell us at one point in this evolution, you went an entire year (if I remember correctly) without a cell phone.

Orion Matthews: That’s right. Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   So, which is just like an interesting personal approach. Like, “Hey, I want to be detached from that.”

But some advisors listen and say, “Wait a second, your team couldn’t call you?” Like without a cell phone. And there wasn’t like somebody who was following you, your wife wasn’t holding your cell phone for you and handing it to you.

So, tell us, how did you manage a team without having a cell phone?

Orion Matthews: Well, that’s a great question. I think it’s a question of what management means. So, when you say, “How did you manage your team?” It’s like, “Well, how did you tell them what to do when they couldn’t ask you what to do.”

And so, I always think about, and it’s kind of silly to say, but I think core values and sort of habits that you generate with your team, tell them what to do when you’re not there.

So, usually, when I list out like core values for a company, I really say like, “These are the guidelines, that if you work within these guidelines, you’re okay.” So, it’s like check the box of these things and then take action.

Micah Shilanski: It’s your get out of jail free card. If something goes wrong, no matter what they’re doing, et cetera, as long as they follow those steps, then there’s no hell on fire coming down on them.

Orion Matthews: Yeah. Why do I have to be there? I think it’s important to empower your people. Obviously, they can go too far. So, you don’t want to empower and never check in. But I think the more time you spend thinking about situations that haven’t happened, planning those out and then getting that to your team before it happens and instilling it.

And really, I think there’s kind of two ways, like nobody’s going to open up an operations manual and look at the checklist. Like very few people, obviously, your team does, but some teams don’t. My team was a little bit less interested in doing that stuff.

But I do think habits. So, if you can establish these company habits and everybody knows how business runs, that’s really when you can start to step away a little bit more and just kind of let things flow naturally in your company.

Micah Shilanski: In our office, everyone follows the checklist until we don’t. It’s kind of the way that that happens.

Now, I love the comment that you made here about core values. Because often when I read companies core values, it’s a bunch of crap. It’s a bunch of big pollutant words that they’re not really doing anything else.

But your lens on this, which is these are our operating guidelines, is so, so important because I would imagine they’re super simple for the team to understand. It gives them a guideline and a framework to be there.

Now, how I would apply this … and so, love your feedback on this one; how we would apply this in our office, The RIA, because we do everything in cycles. We have a surge cycle. Now, good news is the whole world now is starting to do surge, which is fantastic.

So, we do surge cycles. And so, with our teams, we have to lead them in advance. And I try to be two cycles advance and talking with my leads about what’s going to happen.

But this is going to go like, “Okay, we’re going to have a surge. Alright, then we’re going to go to a project cycle. Then we’re going to go to surge prep cycle and then we’re going to surge.” And guess what? We started the whole thing all again.

So, that’s kind of our cycle as we go through things. But it’s really about leading the team in advance. And I think where Orion we make mistakes or Jarvis, I’d love your feet back on this — is where we think the team can make the next step because in our minds, it’s obvious to go to A to B, to C, but that’s because our mentality is to look at things differently than our team members.

Now, this isn’t bad, this isn’t saying they can’t look at it correctly. The reason we have them as a team member is because they look at things differently than we do. And we need to embrace that and not be frustrated at that. And we need to help them see that bigger picture.

Orion Matthews: I think that’s a really good point Micah. One other thing I would say too about that when you’re sort of with teams is I like to think about what Arnold Schwarzenegger said, which is-

Micah Shilanski: “I’ll be back.”

Orion Matthews: That’s right. You just have a lot of big guns and-

Micah Shilanski: That’s what I say, when I leave the office, “I’ll be back, don’t screw this up.”

Matthew Jarvis:   You’ve been back enough.

Orion Matthews: No, he never does like a new business engagement. He says, “Never have a net.” Like never practice with a net. And so, I guess what that means is never have your fallback plan, like commit all in.

And so, one way with your staff, like if they can’t reach you, in a lot of ways, that’s them running your business without a net. And I think that’s kind of like a helpful frame sometimes. Like you just got to like get them out there and take on the challenges without a net.

Matthew Jarvis:   I think an area where we make mistakes, where I make mistakes is we think, (and Micah you reference this) that our team thinks like we do. And not only do they not … we don’t want them to think like we do.

Most of us are high Quick Start, if we’re using a Kolbe assessment, high Ds, if we’re using a DISC, whatever that is. If our teams acted like we did, the whole thing would blow up.

So, we need to not only respect, but appreciate that our team thinks differently than we do. And so, we need to lead them in that fashion.

A friend of ours that’s been on the podcast a few times, coach John Barron, he talks about, hey, when you leave your office, a couple things can happen. One is that the whole thing can burn to the ground while you’re gone, your team mutinies and they leave and you come back and the whole thing’s on fire.

Another is that you come back and things are kind of like you left them; not better, not worse.

The last one is that you come back and your office is better than when you left it.

But for that to happen, you have to come in very intentionally. So, if I’m going to be gone for a week, two weeks, six weeks, whatever the case may be. And I sit down with my team and say, “Here’s what I’d like you to work on.” And we very specifically write it out. And here’s what success looks like, and here’s the actual measurements.

Now they have a mission statement versus, “Well, let’s just make sure the office doesn’t burn down while he’s gone.”

Micah Shilanski: And Jarvis, I would think with this (like we talk about so many things), the universe is going to test you on this theory.

So, what this means is you’re going to put this plan in place, you’re going to think about doing all these great things. And all of a sudden, the universe is going to come up and say, “Ah, do you really think that?” And they’re going to start throwing curve balls at you.

So, the way this looks in my office is we’ve outlined a project, we’ve outlined a plan, we’ve outlined surge, whatever it’s going to be. And I think it’s streamlined. We’ve had our meetings, we’ve done our fear-setting, everyone’s on board.

Then one of my leads will be gone and a team will come up with a question and they will call cell phone. And it’s like violated the entire communication policy, the steps of escalation, the whole nine yards. They went completely around that to me.

And now, I got to step back and say, “Alright, the universe is just testing me, how committed I am into the process. Am I going to be the easy button, answer the phone, answer their question right away and just be frustrated.”

Or am I going to look at it, send it to voicemail and say, “Okay, let’s see if the world blows up.” Which is a little scary to do quite frankly.

But then what we find out right there, is now, I’ve pushed things back on the team. I’m not taking their job from them. I’m not being the easy button, answering their questions.

It’s like, “No, we have a system in place, I’m going to trust the system, I’m going to trust our process. It’s going to work. I’m not going to answer this. And I’m going to come back to it on my regularly scheduled meeting with the team and make sure it’s addressed.”

And you know what happens? The team addresses it and it handles it correctly. But if I would’ve jumped in the middle, I would’ve messed up the entire system.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, we’ve also got to let go, I think as leaders, and Orion, I’d love your thoughts on this; what things can be allowed to break to let the lesson … and this goes to parenting, all three of us have children.

And there’s things where you have to let your children fail. You have to let them physically get hurt. Say, “Oh, I can see that you’re running through this area, you’re going to trip and fall. But when that happens, you’re going to skin your knee. You’re not going to have to end over to the hospital.” Great, I need to let that happen.

I need to let my team make mistakes. If I’m always on call and anytime they need to push the easy button, they get a hold of me, they’ll never learn that lesson. And I’ll never learn that lesson by the way.

Now, something that’s catastrophic, the SEC shows up for the audit, yeah that’s not something to slough off, keep calling my phone until I answer it. But short of that, you can take care of it. Orion, thoughts here.

Orion Matthews: Well, I don’t think I can think of one story I’ve ever heard of boss left the office and came back and the business was closed down. I think it’s actually pretty rare.

Matthew Jarvis:   I know one, it’s a funny story. I’ll tell you in a minute, but go ahead.

Orion Matthews: I want to hear that story. So, I think you’re right. I think it kind of is a lot like having kids and kind of judging the risk.

So, yeah, obviously, you don’t want to leave in the middle of an audit. If you’re a business owner and you walk off and you just know you’re leaving a bomb for your staff, like that’s probably not going to work out very well.

But I think by and large, you got to let them run free a little bit, obviously with a lot of guidance and thinking about it carefully. But I want to come back to one thing you had mentioned earlier, which you said, how do you show staff appreciation? Like what do you do? What are your tricks?

Do you have something that maybe when you come back, you have a moment where you acknowledge that they were running this thing. What kind of tricks do you have there?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. So, if we look at like the love languages, gifts are not one of my love languages. I don’t communicate well on that. So, me getting the team gifts, that’s just not something I do.

What’s worked really well for me, and Colleen and I’ve worked together now for 10 years, Alex and I for a couple years, I really like to take time to say, “Great, what do you need to do your job better?”

And I even do that with Perfect RIA, having one-on-one meetings, we get done, we get through my list and I say, “Great, Amber, Olivia, Mandy, what is it that I can do for you to make your life better?” And that’s kind of-

Micah Shilanski: You’ve never asked me that question.

Matthew Jarvis:   I don’t ever ask you that question. And we alluded earlier about like we each knew maybe one person whose practice had blown up while they were gone. And that’s because they were ignoring all the warning signs.

They had a completely dysfunctional practice. It wasn’t that they left, that’s not what caused it. It was that it was a time bomb and that’s when it happened to go off. So, if you have a time bomb, you have a time bomb. You being there or not’s not the issue.

Micah Shilanski: I think one of the best gifts of appreciation is truly caring and committing to your team and helping them get to their next level.

So, a way I implement that is career paths. With all of our team members, we have career paths with them. We have their own PD budget, professional development. Now, this is something we had to learn the hard way. I can’t just set a PD budget for the team and say, “Great, here’s your PD budget, go spend it.”

If somebody gave me that, because that’s what I do for myself, I’m like spending it left and right. And I’m investing myself, but my team needs leadership. And that’s where I was lacking.

And so, now, we’re like, “Okay, great. For several years, we had to pick the PD that they were going to spend the money on.” Now, they’re able to come back into it.

We also encourage the team to get their own coaches, which is just such a great thing, because the coach will tell them the same thing we’ve been telling them for years. But it’s like the first time they’ve ever heard it, now it’s gospel, and they’re implementing it. Fantastic.

And we don’t say, “Oh my gosh, we’ve been telling you that for years.” We say, “Oh my gosh, what a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to see you implement this. I think it’s going to be great.” And we run with those ideas.

So, you got to pay them enough. Whatever that’s going to be.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s table stakes though.

Micah Shilanski: It’s table stakes, yeah. This is about investing in them to be a better person. They want to do a great job. And how are you setting them up as a leader to get the skills they need to do a great job?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Micah that’s phenomenal. And where advisors go wrong. And by the way, we have our webinar this month, our members’ webinar for Backstage Pass and Invictus members.

Colleen, my office manager; Victoria, Micah’s office manager, they are giving a webinar, which they’ve done before. And it’s a lot of fun. It’s an absolute ride. You can actually find a couple archived ones inside the Backstage Pass.

And your team members are welcome to attend this. Not only are they welcomed, they need to attend this. They need to hear from other rock star team members how this works on a daily basis.

But don’t hesitate to invest in your team. The ROI on this is insane. It’s like the most insane. If my team member now becomes 5% more effective, which means like they check the email five less times a day, the ROI on that is incredible to me, strictly as a business owner, but even as a human being, as someone who cares about their team members. Like they’re now a better person, they’re enjoying a better life and I win all around.

So, I win kind of on the human side and I win incredibly on the business side.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, really making that connection that’s right there, making them a better person helps all the way in their lives.

And TPR, it’s all about delivering massive value and a big part of that is in the family side as well. And we need to help our teams with that. And through our own firms, we have a phenomenal opportunity to do that and to make that commitment.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it.

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Matthew Jarvis:   One thing that I want to highlight real quickly; we’ve talked about this before, is when you’re going to be out of the office for extended period of time (Micah, you reference this), it’s critical to do fear-setting with the team.

Where teams fall apart sometimes is when they’re scared that when you leave the whole thing’s going to blow up, and they don’t know where the safety valve is. They don’t know the communication policy.

And Micah and Orion, all three of us, we’ve all been on trips where we’re not reachable, where there’s just no way. You have to find like a search and rescue dog to come find us out on the wilderness. That’s it, that’s the only way.

So, your team needs to know like, “Hey, what are you afraid could happen? Okay, cool. I’m not going to discount that. Here’s what you would do.”

Micah Shilanski: And this is really important. So, in our practice, we have an enterprise model. So, we have multiple advisors. So, something escalates past a service team member; an RM, or an ops person, they can go out to another advisor if I’m not available. And we have that kind of built out. So, we do that in our communication plan.

But Jarvis, one of the things that we’ve done before we got this big, and I know that you do now, that says, “Okay, great. You do your fear-setting.” Well, when it gets to this level, if all of a sudden, it still hit the fan, and there’s nothing you can do, I think in your office, it’s call my cell phone.

Matthew Jarvis:   It really is. And Micah, before I knew you, but right now it does, it says, “Hey, if everything hits the fan and you’ve gone through this whole process, and you’re still worried (and here’s a couple examples), then here’s Micah’s number, give Micah’s office a call, explain what’s going on. And then whatever Micah says to do, do that thing.”

And that’s literally what it says in our communication policy. Before we were good friends and we had that relationship (which a lot of, by the way, our members have that relationship now, that’s a high level of trust) our attorney’s name was there, our accountant/business advisor. And so, it was great.

If this happens, call Mona our CPA, explain to her what’s happened, whatever she says to do, do that thing. And then when I get back, we’ll take care of it.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah. And they need that. And now how many times have your team needed to do that?

Matthew Jarvis:   It’s never happened.

Micah Shilanski: Never, but the fact that they have the ability and the permission to call, and they are not mentally on the hook for this is huge. And I think we don’t give that enough credit because we’re business owners. This is the life we choose to live. We’re okay with that level of risk that’s there. It just makes us happy.

For them, they are not okay making that final decision. You’ve given them an outlet that says, “Hey, when Jarvis is off playing, I can call this phone number no matter what happens, and I’m not on the hook for this.” And I don’t mean it’s a negative way, but that’s where their skillset taps out. We bring in somebody else.

Matthew Jarvis:   Orion this goes to your point earlier about you need to set these boundaries and say, as long as you operate within these boundaries, you’re fine. And you have to live by that.

If a team member comes and if something’s completely broken and the team member says, “Well, I followed the process and this broke.” Then I just have to in my heart of hearts to say, “Huh, well, that’s unfortunate. We need to update that process. Thank you so much for following the process.”

Now, if they didn’t follow the process, that’s a different discussion. But if they followed the process, they called Micah, Micah says the wrong thing and it turns into this mess. Cool, they followed the process, and that’s how life is.

Orion Matthews: Yeah, absolutely agree. And one other thing I think that’s really interesting is the conversation you guys are having, it presupposes a high degree of trust with your team.

And I think I’ve been there. I think most business owners have, where they have somebody on the team that they don’t fully trust. And the bottom line is you can’t fake it.

So, if you’re going to do these kinds of things, you have to trust your team. And if you have an issue with trust with a team member, you’ve got to sort it out. They’ve either got to go or you’ve got to get in there and dig into those details and really like, bring that trust level back up.

Because yeah, you don’t trust your team member maybe. But I think the bigger issue is the whole team is watching that situation. And if you walk away with someone that’s untrusted, it’s just going to cause more problems down the road, so-

Micah Shilanski: Orion, would you say helping build that trust is about creating a system for success for your team members. So, if you are consistent in how you grade and evaluate them.

So, going back to Jarvis’s thought process here, says, “Hey, look, we have a process. If you follow the process, you’re good. I’m not getting mad at you. Everything’s going to be fine. And if it breaks, we’re going to fix the process.”

But if all the time that you’re, I’m going to say irrational, they can’t tell where you’re going, they can’t tell how you’re leading them. They can’t tell when you’re going to be upset or not, or when you’re going to be happy or not, or what their level of success is, I think it’s really hard for the team members to start trusting you.

Orion Matthews: Absolutely. I think what you’re talking about is consistency.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah.

Orion Matthews: Right. You have to be consistent and you have to be loving but firm. I think there has to be clear rules that have to be enforced.

Micah Shilanski: I don’t know about that loving crap, but-

Orion Matthews: Yeah, no, I think having trust in your team, if the rules change all the time, there’s no trust there. Even if it changes for the better; you go in and you cut a deal for somebody, make it feel good. It hurts everybody.

So, yeah, you have to show up, be prepared to manage, deal with those situations. And then the culture will follow.

Micah Shilanski: I think part of this on the trust side of it too, you have to know that it will go wrong. Something will, it’s just going to happen. Something is going to go wrong.

So, in our office, we have almost unlimited PTO, depending on kind of how it’s set up and done and no breaks during surge. But besides that, we’re really flexible in how team members take time off.

But we also have to understand that when we allow them that ability, something unforeseen is going to happen, something in the system is going to break, and we’re just going to have to deal with it.

And the right reaction isn’t blowing up with a team member, it’s taking ownership, take a Jocko approach; good, alright, now we’re going to learn from this. Now, we get to step back. And now, we get to fix this process and work with your team.

And this is something that took me a long time to figure out; is I need to work with my team to create the process to fix this. Because before, I would just come down from almighty and just say, “Nope, this is the way it is, by God. I pay you, you’re going to do what the hell I say.” And that doesn’t work out very well.

So, I got to be with the team, incorporate them in my process building, my leads anyways because again, we have a little bigger model. So, I bring my leads into the process and I bring them in there to make sure they’re good with it.

Then if it’s an operations process, then Sharnell takes that out to her team, and she walks through it with her team, and we get the entire team’s buy-in in this process.

And Orion, back to your trust point, I think by working in that, you’re building so much more trust with your team because you’re truly asking for their insight and I really do want their insight. Because they’re the ones doing this on a daily basis. And I want to make sure they’re seeing this entire process.

And now, when I’ve brought them in more, now we have a higher degree of trust on both sides of this and they see the why we’re doing this. They’re not just a cog in a wheel. They can see the overall process about how important this is going to be, how it’s going to affect the overall team and why it’s important to implement this.

But also, gives them a voice to stand up and say, “Hey, something went wrong. Nope, the process didn’t work. This didn’t break, something is there.” And it gives them permission to speak up.

Orion Matthews: I think that’s really great insight. And one of the things I’m wondering as I think about your audience, you probably have people in different stages of being able to do this.

So, some people that are maybe doing it for the very first time, and I’m curious, like when was the first time that you did this and walked away from the office, how’d that go for you?

And what are the tips for those like really early that are like, “Maybe I’ll do this. It sounds pretty good.” How do we make sure that goes smooth for those people?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, a funny story on this that Colleen loves to tell — so, as I mentioned, we’ve worked together for 10 years. And 10 years ago, when I hired her, she replaced my retirement office manager. My retirement office manager trained her for two weeks and my office manager retired.

And then it was summertime. And I said, “Well, Colleen, here’s the keys to the office. I’m going to be gone for the next six weeks. If you need anything, give me a call.” And I left.

And she was one, half puzzled. Like, “Is this a joke?” Like, “Is this candid camera, is something going to happen?” And then there was also this loneliness issue, which we’ll talk about in the next episode of suddenly, it was just her alone in this office.

But in the book Drive, they talk about that employees need autonomy, mastery and purpose. And part of this trusting that both of you mentioned is you need to give your employees things where you can say, “Great, you know what, whatever the outcome of this, good.”

And yeah, there’ll be some room for improvement. Like, “I want you to create the invitations for our next client event.” Alright. Whatever those are, I’m going to say, “Awesome.” And the only thing I’m going to critique is like, “Hey, next time let’s also add this thing.” So, I want to look right away, where can I let go of things?

Something we do in our office is if all of your work is done for the week, you’re welcome to leave on Friday whenever that work is done. Now, if I come in on Monday and the work hasn’t been done and we’re going to have a real problem, we’re going to deal with that.

But if I come in on Monday and everything’s done, I don’t even want to know what time you left on Friday. I’m not there myself, I don’t know. I don’t care. If you left at 10 in the morning and everything’s done, great.

If you didn’t leave till 6:00 PM, maybe I want to know about that, because we’ve got some systems issues we need to address. So, I would say jump in head first.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, I think jumping in is great. You have to do it. You have to create a forcing mechanism. You have to unplug in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. So, you can go six weeks, you can take six days, whatever that combination is going to be, but you actually have to do it.

Alright, Orion, this podcast is all about action items. What are things our members and listeners can take this week and implement. And I’m going to say the first one is you should go out and book on your calendar right now time where you walk away with no technology.

So, whether it’s a day, whether it’s a week, et cetera, when are you just going to 100% unplug during the work week where your team couldn’t even reach you?

I know that might be scary to a lot of listeners are out there, thinking, “Oh my gosh, all my clients are going to call me that day and I’m not going to respond and everybody’s going to fire me.” That’s not going to happen. But that’s where our head trash goes.

But you need to create a forcing mechanism to get these things figured out. And the benefit of this is not you being out of the office. It’s going to be, in this great book out there, Peak Performance, which talks a lot about the science behind this, so we’ll get into it in future pods.

But Jarvis, and I’ve been doing for years, we just didn’t know there were science behind it. And it really talks about those forcing mechanisms, those needed breaks make you a better advisor. They make you a better leader, they make you a better person. But the first thing is you got to schedule it.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. Action item number two, if you enjoy this podcast and you think, “I’ve really learned a lot of things” (and we get hundreds, Micah, of people reaching out to us saying, I love this podcast) wait until you see Micah and I live.

And this is not just sort of like hyperbole; Micah and I love doing live events. We love doing extreme accountability. October 8th in Denver, we’re doing XYPN Live Conference all day. And again, if you enjoyed the podcast, in person is 10x better.

For our Invictus members, we have our next Invictus Mastermind, I believe December 1st and 2nd in Las Vegas, not far from my house. So, get signed up for those. They’re a lot of fun. They’re fun, they’re also transformative for your practice, which is really what we’re going for.

Micah Shilanski: Alright. And we save the best for last. So, there’s no pressure Orion whatsoever. What’s our third action item for our listeners.

Orion Matthews: Well, I’ve been hearing a lot from you guys about how to set a process, things like that, all of that starts with delegation. If you’re running your billing, now’s the time, take that action to delegate it.

And I would say, I think, The Checklist Manifesto is a really great book. If you’re going to start doing that delegation to just pop that open, read through that.

Micah Shilanski: Awesome. Well, Orion, thank you so much for being on the pod. Oh man, our audience just loves you. Oh my gosh. That’s great. You were so amazing.

So, to all of our listeners, thank you out so much. We’re sharing this message, transform the industry. That’s what we’re all about. And stay tuned, because we have some really exciting announcements.

We’re brainstorming in person as Jarvis said, this week, we have some amazing things that we’re new to on, that’s going to come out really to rock your world. Until next time, happy planning.

Hold on before we go. Something that you need to know. This isn’t tax, legal, or investment advice. That isn’t our intent. Information designed to change lives. Financial planning can make you thrive. Start today. Don’t think twice. Be a better husband, father, mother, and wife. The Perfect RIA. The Perfect RIA.


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