I have always been an advocate of conducting frequent meetings with my team. And I have always believed that every process can benefit from constant improvement. So it seemed to me that my meeting format was due for an overhaul.

I was extremely fortunate to have a well-respected consultant in our industry examine my practice and give me recommendations on ways to improve. Although we disagreed on a few issues, the vast majority of what the consultant had to say made tremendous sense. One of the areas we focused on was how to conduct more effective staff meetings. Below is the Pappas staff meeting schedule and topics. I thought you might find it helpful in improving your staff get-togethers.

Daily: Everyday tactical or operational issues.
Weekly: Short-term planning.
Monthly: Strategy and implementation.
Quarterly: Staff member feedback and performance evaluation.
Semiannual: Staff bonding.

Here are some specifics about what we do at the various team meetings:

Daily (10 to 15 minutes)

  • Meet individually with each staff member at the beginning of the day for a few minutes to focus on the day's critical issues.

  • Review appointments and priorities for the day.

  • Recognize successes.

  • Discuss outstanding issues and problems.

  • Share any comments from clients.

  • Discuss administrative issues concerning the office and/or complex.

  • Discuss and/or delegate pending proposals.

  • Delegate any additional work.

Monthly Marketing Strategy Meeting (60 to 90 minutes)

We use this meeting to review marketing strategy and the product focus for the next month.

  • Start with discussion of successes.

  • Analyze critical monthly objectives.

  • Conduct an individual analysis of structure, functions and systems (best and worst).

  • Discuss technical, administrative and personality problems.

  • Review production, assets and new accounts.

  • Discuss niche business development, product focus and client penetration.

  • Discuss business and marketing plans, and make any necessary changes.

  • Discuss areas for improvement and expansion.

Semiannual (weekend)

Twice a year, I invite my staff and their families for a weekend getaway to strengthen loyalty.

We have two questions in mind during the retreats:

  • “What aren't we doing that we should do?”

  • “What are we doing that we shouldn't do?”

As you would expect, the questions spark rich discussions and generate a wealth of ideas. The meetings allow us to step back and take a look at the big picture. They strengthen teamwork and reaffirm the value of our clients.

Working closely with staff is important to every financial adviser's future. Conducting productive staff meetings is paramount to building your business.

Harry Pappas Jr. is a senior vice president at a major firm in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., one of Registered Representative's Outstanding Brokers and the author of the manual “Selling From the Heart.”

Correction: In the May 2001 column by Harry Pappas Jr., entitled "Fire Customers, Keep Clients," Mr. Pappas neglected to give appropriate credit to Nick Murray. The material was derived from Mr. Murray's essay dated July 1996, entitled "Do You Have Clients or Customers?" Mr. Murray's essay was published in his book, "The Craft of Advice: Essays 1995-1998." We apologize to Mr. Murray.