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Making mistakes is never fun, but unless you can actually walk on water (without it being frozen) you’ve probably made your fair share. And the truth is, how you handle your mistakes says a lot more about you as a person and a professional than your mistakes do. So in this episode, Matt and Micah discuss how to embrace your mistakes—and become better because of them.

Listen in to hear some of the mistakes that the guys have made, as well as how they’ve grown from them and how they approach mistakes with their clients and their teams. They’ll also share tips for upping your pregame for potential mistakes with clients in the future and how to create an environment of extreme ownership in order to avoid the blame-fest game.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:

  • How to make your mistakes right with clients.
  • The key element to embrace and learn from mistakes.
  • A phenomenal disarming technique to use during adversarial conversations.
  • The best way to communicate mistakes with your clients.
  • How to avoid painting yourself into a corner.
  • Why it’s important to look at where your system—not your team—broke down.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

I make progress in a conversation. I don’t make progress in an argument. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Don’t judge a person by their mistakes but by how they fix them. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Life happens. Set yourself up to win. - @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode:

EP. 85 TRANSCRIPT

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. Welcome to another episode of the Perfect RIA podcast. I’m your cohost, Matthew Jarvis. And with me as usual, the man, the myth, the legend, Micah Shilanski. Micah, how are you my friend?

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, it’s another day in paradise. Glad to be talking with you today, especially on such a great topic, quite frankly. Talking about wonderful things like mistakes and oh boy, we don’t have enough time to talk about all the mistakes that I’ve made, but at least we can highlight some of them.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. We’ll stick with a short list of mistakes that I’ve made. It is interesting though, Micah, now that we’ve had this podcast for a few years now in the backstage pass, I’ve noticed that we obviously make mistakes on this podcast and it’s interesting. Sometimes I’ll have people reach out and they’ll say, boy, Matthew, I’m really hesitant to mention this. I don’t want to take this wrong way. I think that you and Micah made a mistake on a podcast episode. They’re worried. They are somehow coming to the altar of DD saying, wow, I don’t know about this. And I say, oh, we probably did.

Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. I’m going to go back and look at that. I’m going to look to see if we need to do, what do they call that, a correction or if we need to make an apology or something like that. But we also get people that want to… This huge victor like, ha, ha you said that advisors never lose clients. And actually 99% retention. We’re like, well that’s statistically the same thing. But sometimes we have that as well, but the moral of this is Micah and I in fact make mistakes. Yes, we try to be the poster child of what we’re doing.

Micah Shilanski:  I know. That large sound you just heard was us falling off the idols. And now we’re down and now we’re human, like mere mortals yet we are, right? And Jarvis, as you said in this aspect of it, right? One of the things that I loved and someone posted in the backstage pass form, because they were correcting something that I said on our tax podcast that was there. And I absolutely loved it. And I was like, look, that’s not the way I read this, but I would love to learn something new. And I think this is a very big key element in your mindset when it goes into mistakes, right? The key element here is how are you, the person that potentially made the mistake, how are you going to receive that?

You are right. No one else can potentially be wrong. Or man, I would love to learn something new. What do we have? Where can I improve? How can I get better? And I try to keep that mentality on so much in my life. How do I get better in personal life? How do we get better in family life? How do we get better in business life? I would love to learn something new that’s out there. And I think that mentality helps us embrace and learn from our mistakes versus getting stuck in that groove and not wanting to recognize that we can make mistakes.

Matthew Jarvis:   I really like that one. It’s so easy when a mistake is being pointed out, whether there was actually a mistake made or no. To either get defensive, to get critical. If the mistake was made by someone else to blame them, to attack them, that’s such an easy trap to fall into. And I guess, Micah this is really an extreme ownership angle, which is, hey, what can I learn here? Even if there was a blatant mistake by someone else or by yourself, you could beat yourself up. You could beat them up. Nope. All right, this mistake happened. What can I learn here?

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. And this also helps by the way, as a phenomenal communication tool. So one of the things that everyone knows, right? I specialize in federal benefits and sometimes I have the wonderful opportunity of having what I call a guided discovery with benefit officers, right? HR specialists, people work with OPM. Sometimes the IRS, different government agencies that we have a misinterpretation of the rules between us, and we need to come to some understanding between them. And one of the things that I always say in talking to them, I always prep the client advance. Saying look, this is going to be a guided discovery. We’re going to get more honey than we do with vinegar.

But whenever I’m talking to that individual, I say, look, this is how I understand the rules and you know what? I could absolutely be wrong in this. And I would love to learn something new. I would love to have you walk me through this, so I can understand it better. And for one, I am genuinely saying this because I love learning something new, but it’s also a phenomenal disarming technique that now I’m not having an adversarial conversation with me butting heads with somebody else about a pension check or a tax question or X, Y, and Z. Right? Now we’re open for a conversation and I can make progress in a conversation. I don’t make progress in an argument.

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, and that Micah, might be the first step in this. We’re talking about correcting mistakes, but that’s a way to avoid mistakes by saying boy, this is my understanding. This is how I hope this will work. This is my expectation versus saying, it is this way. You’ve in essence, painted yourself into a corner of either you’re 100%, right or 100% wrong. If it’s your understanding or your intention, you’ve got some wiggle room there. Now, this is not a way to weasel out of things, right? Don’t don’t put a caveat behind everything. Well, it could possibly be, you will consult your attorney, blah, blah, blah. This is, I think like you said, it’s extreme ownership approach.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, it absolutely is extreme ownership. Now, one of the things that I also do when I’m starting an engagement with a client, so they have their initial meeting with me and then they decide that they want to onboard as a full client. As I’m going through our financial advisory agreement with them, it’s the last page we get to, It’s a bunch of miscellaneous clauses or whatever it’s in there. And I say, look, basically what all these miscellaneous clauses say is that I’m human. And the only time I’ll walk on water is when it’s frozen. So that means I’m going to make a mistake, right?

Now, if I have made a mistake and I find it, I will call you, I will tell you and I will fix it. And if you find a mistake, I expect you to call me and tell me, and then we will fix it. But if I don’t know about it, there’s nothing I’m going to do. I like setting that foundation that’s going to be there, because especially we’ll get to fixing mistakes in a second, but this is so the pregame for it. Setting that expectation of open communication between your clients and the fact that you know what? Life happens. And this is a complex set of rules and we’re all human.

Matthew Jarvis:   I really like that Micah, because what is your typical experience with almost anywhere else to go when a mistake is made? We’re going to cover it up. We’re going to blame you. We’re going to deny it. We’re going to say it wasn’t a mistake. We’re going to say it was supposed to be that way. And so they’re going to, without you setting an expectation, they’re most likely going to come to you with that expectation. That if my advisor makes a mistake, they’re going to blame me. They’re going to cover it up. They’re going to fight me on it, et cetera, et cetera. And so yeah, we have to reset that expectation.

It might be clear in your mind saying, hey, if I make a mistake, I’m going to fix it. That’s not clear in their mind. And by the way, that disarms a lot of the issue. If they know, if they discover a mistake, Micah, to your point, well Micah is going to fix this. It’s almost like an opportunity. Hey, I’m really excited to see Micah fix this, versus my Comcast bill got screwed up and I’m going to have to fight them for the next six months. And they still won’t pay me the money back.

Micah Shilanski:  Really this goes back to the opening quote that I know we couldn’t find a original source for it that was there, but don’t judge a person by their mistakes, but how they fix them. And in so much of that, I find so relevant in life. We are all going to screw up. Are you going to man up and be there and say, yup, I screwed up. This was my fault, take responsibility. And that is a person I can trust. And our clients see that, whether they’re going to articulate it in that way or not, it’s different. But our clients see that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yup. Let’s use an example on that, Micah. So I just had a client last week, sent me their tax return to review before it got submitted. And I noticed right away that there was an account missing on the dividends. On the dividend page, there was a 1099 that hadn’t been given. So I see the mistake and I know, because I have documented, we sent this 1099 to the client twice. We sent it to the CPA twice already, and it still got missed. So it would be easy for me to say, hey, you guys missed this, you screwed it up. I sent it to you twice. What the heck’s going on?

Instead, I sent it to the CPA and I said, hey, I noticed that this account appears to be missing. That’s probably on me for not getting you the information on time, my apologies that you need to fix this last minute. Please let me know if you need anything else. And now I go from what could be an adversarial conversation to I again, look like the hero. Now, if the client had said, or the CPA had said, hey, why didn’t you send that to us already? I would not have hesitated to say, actually here are the three emails where it went out, but I’m always to the example, I’m going to lead with honey, not vinegar.

Micah Shilanski:  And I think about that communication you just had, right? You did not go to the client and say, I think your CPA screwed up. You saw this, and you reached out to the CPA. This is a key COI thing, right? Center of influence is aspect of it. And I’m going to say a bit of professional courtesy that’s going to be there. Also, gives you wiggle room in case you screwed up, right? Maybe there’s something else you don’t know. A dividend case, and this is fairly obvious, right? But sometimes some other cases that are a little bit gray. And I love reaching out to that center of influence again, for a guided discovery that’s inside of there that says, dividends are cut and dry. But what if it’s something a little bit more ambiguity to it with how their estate planning is structured? Right?

This could be a great opportunity, and I would say it in front of a client, if I felt a potential mistake was made. So the example that I’m going to use in, this one, I had a client married, no kids. And basically what happens. They have two sides of the family tree and loving attorneys, right? They went to an attorney to get their state planning drafted. This was in the lower 48. So I didn’t know the attorney, they already had a relationship. I get the documents back, and basically it’s a race to the first to die. As soon as the first to die, everything goes to the spouse. As soon as that spouse dies, everything goes to their side of the family tree. It’s not split. That’s going to be there. Well, I find this mistake when I’m talking to the clients because they reviewed the doc. They sent them to me right at advance. I’m reviewing them as I’m chatting with the client.

And I see this is on there, and I don’t immediately jump to what a freaking attorney. Why would you draft it this way? Right? You’re disinheriting half of the family tree. This is an aspect that you need to step back and say, this is interesting. I have some questions on the way this is structured. If it’s okay, I’d love to reach out to the attorney and ask them about A, B and C. And it gives me a little bit more leeway in case I misunderstood something about New Mexico law or in case I understood something about their assets or whatnot. Now I can reach out to them, so I am hopefully not making a direct mistake with the client, but it also gives me an opportunity to talk, just as you said, with the COI and reach out to them for the correction versus this way.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Yeah. I’ll give you another example. One that was totally a mistake that we made. So that the two examples that we just gave are mistakes other people made. We had a few years ago, we did a Roth contribution for a client whose income ended up being higher than the limit. And when they sent us a tax return, we just didn’t make the connection. There was a breakdown in our system. We didn’t see that they were over the limit. The CPA didn’t catch it. We didn’t catch it. It wasn’t until the next year that it was caught. So now we have this problem that we’ve made this thing and it would have been easy. And I’ll even acknowledge, my first reaction when I discovered that was, well, this was the CPA’s fault. They should have caught this when they were doing the tax return, but nothing would come to that.

So I fell on my sword, which is the only way to solve problems, fell on my sword. I call the client. I said, hey, this is what happened. We screwed this up. We should have caught this. Here’s how we’re going to fix it. Here’s the impact to you for this. Here is how we’re going to fix it and we’re going to make it right. Does that make sense? Does that add up to you that now we’ve made this situation whole? Because even if I say, hey it’s this and it’s this, and it’s $12 here. We’re going to pay you 12 dollars back. If they don’t buy that, it doesn’t count. So I said, wait, here’s how the math, here’s the impact to you. Here’s how we’re fixing it. Does that seem like an adequate resolution to you? Or is there something more we can do to make this right?

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, can I ask you some details?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, this was a couple of years ago. So they might be a tiny bit fuzzy, but fire away.

Micah Shilanski:  Well, income limits on a Roth conversion. That was a year or two ago. Right? Or a decade, whatever.

Matthew Jarvis:   Roth contribution, yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  Oh, contribution. Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Contribution, yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  Oh, great. All right. So on this one, now there was a potentially a tax penalty that was going to be there, right?

Matthew Jarvis:   There was, yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  Who paid the tax penalty?

Matthew Jarvis:   I paid the tax penalty. 100%.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s what I wanted to go for. Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   I paid the cost to have it amended by their CPA to do the adjustment. And we paid and we did the math. So I had the CPA. I said, here’s what I see the math being on the penalty, and whatever your CPA charges you to fix this, and then whatever they calculate the penalty, we will credit that back to your account in the form of… We do it against our fee deduction because it’s a little bit cleaner than sending them a check. That gets a little iffier, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do that either.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. That’s what I wanted to point out. Thank you so much. Right? You fell on the sword. It’s very easy that you could argue this. Right? But guys, let’s put some basic math on this. Okay. So what was the penalty? Right? You had an excess contribution penalty. You might have had some taxes because of the gains potentially in the Roth account, blah, blah, blah. You’re talking maybe at best, a couple hundred dollars on an excess Roth contribution, right? You’re not talking thousands and thousands of dollars, but how much revenue does that client generate in one quarter? Thousands of dollars. Let’s not be silly about this. Yes, you could argue as a CPA.

Yes, you could argue it was this aspect of it. That’s not the point. You coming up as the professional and taking ownership in this, you have elevated your status. Not only are you going to potentially keep that client a heck of a lot longer, you’ve now elevated your status symbol. Jarvis paid the CPA’s fees, but the CPA is the one that did the taxes. And the CPA didn’t catch this, and they had all the information, right? You don’t have to spell all that information out. You have now elevated your status above that CPA in the client’s eyes. Really, really important that’s there.

Matthew Jarvis:   This ties into… I talk to advisors a lot of times. They will say, Matthew, why am I not getting referrals? And one of the questions I ask is, how do you fix mistakes? And if they say I don’t make mistakes, well, then I know right away why they’re not getting referrals. That’s why you’re not getting referrals. That’s a referable moment, right? When the lights come on, when I flipped the light switch and lights come on. I don’t think, man, I should really refer someone to our power company. They’re really doing it. And when the lights don’t come on, I don’t think a whole lot about it. But when the power company sends somebody out right away, they say, hey, that shouldn’t happen. We’ll get that fixed right away. Then I go out and I say, wow, they really fixed this. It wasn’t their fault that somebody hit the telephone pole, but they had someone out there right away, strung up a new wire, made it right. That’s what’s referable. Above and beyond, not status quo.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. So not to make you feel lonely. I had the same thing with a client and an HSA contribution. We moved money from an IRA account into an HSA. And then the client terminated their high deductible plan 11 months later. I should have caught it. Yup. Yup. I should have caught it. I didn’t. It was literally 11 months after the fact that was there. So sure enough, there was a tax penalty associated with it. Now, could I argue that I don’t do health plans and that the client went on their own and did this? You could absolutely make this argument, but again, what are we solving for here? So, absolutely.

One of the things that I would do with clients is I would not pay their tax bill just to be clear on this, right? Their tax bill is their tax bill. The tax penalty that was incurred because of a mistake that we potentially made, that now could potentially come are obligation, that we should voluntarily pay. So there’s the separation that I’m going to be there. Now Jarvis, one of the things that we did right away when we saw this, and one of the things that you did right away that I want to highlight as well, the client sent me an email on this. The client caught it.

Well, Turbo Tax caught it when they were doing their taxes. Right? And so as soon as I got the email, I picked up the phone and I called the client. What you said was the exact same thing. I called the client. I didn’t send the text message. I didn’t send an email. Right? I didn’t send a letter. You pick up the phone and you apologize. And even if you don’t have all the information, right? Don’t wait until you have all the information to make a decision. As soon as I got this, I picked up the phone. I called. I said, hey, thank you for this. I’m going to look into A, B and C. This could be right. I’m going to get back to you at X, Y, Z deadline. Right? But you must start that communication right away if there’s any potential mistakes.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And Micah, you mentioned about the lifetime value of the climate, but there’s so many other things there, right? There’s the risk of getting a complaint filed. There’s just bad karma or bad relationships. Oh, I don’t want to pay that $300 fee. Yes, so now they’re going out there telling everybody what a bum you are. The same thing when a client leaves, and by the way, that does happen from time to time. It’s rare. We refund the full prior quarters fee. We don’t try to calculate it down to, well, they were a client for 13 days. And there’s 27 days left in the quarter. Here’s the entire fee. I don’t want the money. Same, Micah, you talk about this with your planning fee when people come in. It’s not the $500 you want, if they say, hey, Micah, you told me 700 things I didn’t know, but I still don’t want to pay you. Great. Take the 500 bucks. That’s not what I’m solving for here is the $500. I’m solving for I am the best professional they’ve ever met. And that’s what they’re going to tell everybody else.

Micah Shilanski:  And have I had that before? Right? Just to be clear? Yes. People have said they have gotten tremendous amount out of… This one still boggles my mind, tremendous amount of value outside of the meeting. I just don’t want to pay it, and I want my money back. Okay. It’s refund the money, move on and thank God they are not a client. Right? So I mean, such a blessing is inside of that one. So really good. All right. Jarvis, let’s transition this a little bit if I may. So we talked about other people making mistakes. We’ve talked about when we make a mistake, what do we do? What about when your team makes a mistake?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I’ve got one of these recently, because this happens and this is not to throw my team under the bus in any way. We took on a new client. I was told by the team that all of the assets had transferred. The new client comes in with a statement from Vanguard, still showing several hundred thousand dollars in the account after we had told them all the transfers were complete. I mean, he walks into the office. He says, hey, the statement came. It still shows that there’s several hundred thousand dollars in the account. So what do you do? Right? So one option, I guess you could—

Micah Shilanski:  Vanguard. They are notorious for that. They say they always do the transfers and they don’t, thank you. We will get on top of them.

Matthew Jarvis:   I do, by the way, use the line. Sometimes people forget whose money this is, but I looked at it and I said, you know what? Here’s what I need to do. If I can have that statement, let me just walk out and talk to my team real quick and see what’s going on here. See if I can clear this up. Because I don’t want to make this worse by saying more false things on top of that. So I walk out, I look at it with the team. Sure enough, there was two share classes of the same fund, got missed by our team. So I walked back in, I said, hey, we made a mistake. There were two share classes of the same fund. We got one and not the other, Colin’s doing the form. We’re to get that taken care of. And then we are going to ask that you send us the next three statements, so we can make sure that doesn’t happen again. My apologies for that. So it’s you just got to get right on top of it.

Micah Shilanski:  You do, and learn from this and pivot with it for your next client. So the next time you’re doing an asset transfer, right? I’m speaking to everyone, not just on Jarvis, but one of the things that we tell our clients frequently that’s here, is saying, look, sometimes not everything transfers. For whatever reason, this is going to be a long process. It should, but especially if you’re trying to transfer money from a bank, right? Or you’re trying to transfer money from some school district company. I don’t want to get in too much trouble. Right? But some companies that deal with school districts a lot are really challenging to have transfers go through. And so set the client up, set those expectations for that relationship, helps avoid mistakes or helps increase understanding when mistakes happen.

I guess that’s a better way to say it, right? If you go into it, I was saying, hey, look, we’re probably going to have to go twice to transfer these assets because of A, B and C. And guess what? It happens once. You’re awesome. Right? Everything works. But if it happens twice, it’s no big deal, because you’ve set the expectations that sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get there. Now you could argue and say it shouldn’t do this and blah, blah, blah. Well, that’s theory. But reality is, and I think that’s one of the benefits of a podcast. Not to be too into ourselves too much. Right? But these are coming from real practices, dealing with real clients, not theoretical information that’s here. Life happens, set yourself up to win.

Matthew Jarvis:   I would add one other thing. I was, as I first saw this mistake, my initial reaction was what the F happened here? How did this mistake get made? And my temptation was to walk out of the conference room and give somebody, Holy hell. I’m just being honest here. This is my initial. I reminded myself of two things. One, I try to never act from emotion. The other is I need to get this problem solved before I break down what happened, where it went wrong. So I went out to my team, how do we fix this? Once it’s fixed, let’s go back and look to see where our system, not our people, where our system broke down.

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. That’s the case. And one of the things that I know I will do, especially if a mistake is taken place, regardless of who was it? I always give it a 12 to 24 hour cooling off period that I don’t even want to talk to the team about this. And that’s my own anger management issues going on. Right? That’s nothing about the team. That’s not them blowing up. It’s, hey, I want to decompress from this, because I’m pissed, and I might say something that no one’s going to really like. So know yourself in those circumstances. Put a pause on that and be able to come back and have a productive conversation, because guess what? You probably make more than your team does. And they’re the ones that fix your crap before it goes out. So really important.

And this goes back to, I want to equate this to something my dad always raised me with, and I know we talked about it once or twice. My dad always raised me that there’s four rules that you have to do in life. Right? Number one, show up on time. And on time means 15 minutes early. Number two, do what you say you’re going to do. Number three, finish what you start. And number four, always say, please, and thank you. And these four tenets are just so powerful right there. Right? Do what you say you’re going to do. And if it gets screwed up, if something messes up, pick up the phone and make a call. Let them know that it’s going to be there, and people will be understanding where people, I think most complaints happen, most issues take place is lack of communication.

Matthew Jarvis:   100% agree. 100%. Yeah, I really like those Micah. Well, should we transition into some action items? Because this podcast is of course, all about taking action.

Micah Shilanski:  Before we do that, didn’t we have an email or something that came in?

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh, we did have this one.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh, I’m glad you mentioned this one. A member of the perfect RIA nation, our friend, Paul Adams, and I’m okay sharing this, because he posted it to his LinkedIn. We’ll see if we get a link to this. This is an example of there was nothing else you could have done. He had his autoresponder go out to a CPA that he was meeting with, who shall remain nameless. And the auto responders, it was appointment reminder. It said the normal things. Please log in five minutes early, please turn off all distractions so that we can make the most of our time together. And this guy responds back with this two page rant about what a terrible guy Paul is and how dare he suggests that he log in five minutes early and how dare he suggest turn off distractions. And really just cut him to shreds over this.

And so Paul says, hey, well, what should I do here? How should I respond? And of course social media was full of, and mine was not kind either, tell this guy where you can put it. But Paul being the professional that he is, responds with something to the extent of, wow, I’m really sorry that we had this misunderstanding. I intended no offense. My apologies for that though. It seems like we’re probably not a good fit to work together. I wish you all the best. Again, my apologies for this offense. And it would have been easy for him to come back fists up and say, go F yourself, whatever it’s going to be. Hey, you know what? This was not my intention for it to happen this way. I did have a client, Micah, not as severely, something similar.

We had sent out a reminder that we had not got their tax return. And to them it felt snarky. She says, hey, this probably wasn’t your intention, but I just want you to know, this reminder felt pretty snarky to me. 100%, my apologies for that, that absolutely was not my intention. Now that you mentioned it, I see how it could come across that way. We will definitely change the wording on that going forward. And if you ever feel that way again, please let me know. And then as soon as I got off the call with that client, I had called again, I know that they’re big into drinking wine. I know which winery they like to go. And I said, Holly, please send them a bottle of the nicest wine from this winery that they use, as long as it’s within our gifting limits of course, because again, that wasn’t my intention to be snarky. But if they were offended by that, I want to take extreme ownership for that.

Micah Shilanski:  And I want to set this up before we transition. Actually, I’ll just doing a couple of things. One, I love Paul’s response that was going to be there. Right? And also what he said, my intention was not to offend. And that’s an easy way that we get to apologize if we don’t feel our actions, sometimes we get caught up in our actions were not wrong. So why should I apologize? Did you intend to offend the guy? No. Okay. Then I apologize for offending him. It just wasn’t your intention. And let’s move on with that and separate. And Jarvis, I love what you said. And we keep Starbucks, back when you had in person meetings, right before COVID. We kept the Starbucks cards inside of our reception desk, and little five bucks cards or Kaladi’s cards at a local coffee place that’s a right around the store or whatever it is.

And if we were running late for a meeting or anything like that happened, or if a client showed up 30 minutes early and we weren’t ready to meet with them, we would be willing to offer them a Starbucks gift card for a little bit of the confusion. They could run over, grab a cup of coffee, do something downtown, pop back for their meeting. Something to increase that experience a little bit. So even things that aren’t directly your fault, they screwed up on the meeting time, right? Your meeting was supposed to be at 9:30 and they showed up at 9:00. That was going to be there. How can you improve? And this is an opportunity to expand. This is an opportunity to approve the experience of the client. What are you going to do when those things happen? So I think that’s a great thing to transition into action items with systems and processes.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. Actually, I’m going to pivot. Our first action item is to get online and sign up for our August 19th webinar. That’s going to be hosted by Coleen and Victoria. Advisors are welcome to sit in on this. Micah and I will be in the background with our phones muted, but this will be Coleen and Victoria talking about what it’s like to actually run a perfect RIA practice, and what it’s like to run it when Micah and I aren’t around. So we’re really excited for that webinar. That’s August 19th. There will be some more information coming out. So mark your calendars for that.

Micah Shilanski:  Also, keep in mind, this is not just for advisors. This is an assistance based webinar. So your team should absolutely be on onsite of this, because it’s not just the talking heads of the M&M show. Being able to come down and say, what advisors should do. These are, as Jarvis, you said, these are the people that do it. Let assistants and team members talk to their team members and it’s going to resonate more with them. So absolutely get your team signed up for that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. This is going to be the first of many things we’re going to start doing for assistance because it’s come out from the members of the backstage pass and the perfect RIA nation. Hey, there’s great resources available for advisors. What resources are available for team members? If a team member has a question. Who does he or she call? Dolan. So we’re creating these resources. So action item, number two, Micah, this relates to what you said about the coffee. You need to have a system in place. In case of emergency you break glass, there was a mistake made or a perceived mistake made. How do we fix that? I liked your idea of Starbucks cards. I would put in there it needs to be something that’s disposable. So flowers are great. Bottles of wine are great. Gift cards are great.

Micah Shilanski:  Not a permanent art fixture?

Matthew Jarvis:   Not a coffee cup, we screwed up. Don’t ever forget it. So that’s an easy mistake to make.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. I like that. Have something that’s inside of there. This is something you need to go through with your team. This can be a one-page process that’s there. When mistakes happen, what takes place that’s going to be there? What needs to get elevated? So what is your team empowered to fix immediately? And how does it get elevated to you? Sometimes some little things happen and the team automatically takes care of it for it. And I see it in our recap that’s going to be there, and I didn’t have to be involved. And the team handled it phenomenally. That was going to be there. Awesome. When do you want to be involved? Right? You need to empower the team, but also to a level to make sure you’re comfortable with. So I would say that’s the other thing is, what’s that one page process for how your team is handling mistakes and how you are going to handle those mistakes?

Matthew Jarvis:   I would say the next action item is having a system and it’s more than a system. It’s a culture of fixing internal systems breakdowns. Now this is especially important on things that create criminal liability, trade errors, cashiering errors, things that if covered up, can bankrupt firms and have on a routine basis.

Micah Shilanski:  I wasn’t even thinking that. I was thinking appointment screw ups. Thanks for, yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Let me take this dark. I mean, we had an issue where there was a concern that a trade error had been made that was going to cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. Actually, Micah, you and I were on a road trip together when this happened.

Micah Shilanski:  We were. I remember that.

Matthew Jarvis:   So my team called me right away. They said, hey, we’ve made a huge mistake. We have a really big problem. Perfect. My answer was perfect. Thank you for calling me on this. Let’s get it taken care of. Turned out, it wasn’t a mistake. It was just a miscommunication, thankfully. But I took that as an opportunity to explain to my team, hey, had this been a mistake, here’s what we have in place to fix this. Please don’t ever feel like you need to either, there’s ever a situation where a mistake has to be covered up. And that particular one I reminded them that our insurance would cover that, but you’ve got to have that system that, hey, we all make mistakes. We can bring it. I don’t like the term safe space, but I’m not going to come jump down your throat on this. We’re going to fix it. We’re going to find the system that led to this.

Micah Shilanski:  In an environment of taking ownership, right?

Matthew Jarvis:   100%.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s what you’re creating. It’s an environment of taking ownership in these things. And the team knows that ownership doesn’t mean they’re on their own. That is a really big thing that’s there. So again, when we have our team meetings and if there’s a screw up, all hands on deck, everyone’s going to hear about it. And it’s not a blame fest that we’re doing. Everybody dials in, because we need to learn from this. And the very first one, the advisor’s is going to say, look, this was my fault. And our God bless our team. They’re going to step up and say, no, I should be the one responsible, because I should’ve caught this and this. And it’s just that aspect of saying, we are all in this team and connected together, but a culture of ownership, not a culture of hiding things, really, really important.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And it can’t be a culture where you’re attacking either, right? That goes to ownership. But if somebody points out a mistake and you jump all over them, you’ve added insult to injury. It’s going to create a problem.

Micah Shilanski:  Yup. Okay. So one of the things I want to throw out here is some gratitude. I am extremely grateful for our TPR nation, for the backstage pass members. I mean the forum that’s inside of the backstage pass, it’s just absolutely phenomenal. And our members keeping it alive, the comments, the things they have come up, the things we haven’t thought about that they throw inside of there. So some extra value adds. We’re going to be able to provide to them. I am just super excited about. Super grateful for all of the feedback that we get and really grateful for this five-star iTunes reviews, I’m not going to lie.

I really love seeing those grow. So I don’t rate early rate often. Really important. You can do it multiple times, go for it in a day. I’m fine with that. So we love those five star reviews, and also feedback. Share this with friends. We’re really growing the nation. We got some fun, exciting things that are coming out. So hit that five star review and hit that share button, send it to a couple advisor buddies of yours, so they too can help build the perfect RIA.

Matthew Jarvis:   Perfect. Well Micah, a pleasure as always. And to the nation, until next time. Happy planning.

Micah Shilanski:  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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