Drew Brees recently crossed a major career milestone, having thrown for over 50,000 yards, which puts him in elite NFL company.  In his post-game interview, he was asked for comments on this achievement, and his remarks are worth reading: 

 

On his recent career milestone…

"Love this offense. Love what Sean Payton's put together.” 
 

On the win against the Panthers…

"We just had great balance. Marques came up with some huge catches, as did Jimmy. The line did a great job...and the defense did a great job of getting us the ball."


On the season…

"Here we are, attempting to make another run at it. Obviously, some records and some other things, milestones along the way that you get to share, but I'm just glad to be on the journey with this group of guys."
 

Even though he’d just crossed a major individual milestone, his comments were focused on his team and his coach.  This is exactly how elite advisors operate.  They are team-focused, not me-focused.

Contrast this with some notable quotes from Terrell Owens (TO), a football player turned reality TV star…

“I feel like with me being a big part of any offense, then the numbers are going to come.”
“I'll watch the highlights every now and then but, as far as watching the game, I feel like I am the game.”

And our favorite…

“I love me some me.”

We know what you’re thinking… I’m a lot more like Drew Brees than TO.  Of course you are.  But nearly every professional can improve their ability to connect with others.  Let’s take a deeper look at how a team-player mentality can help your relationships with three key groups.

 

Clients:

When the markets are up, we’ve seen some advisors take the opportunity to (subtly or not-so-subtly) pat themselves on the back.  The message is…“Your account is up X%, which beats the S&P by X%, which is precisely why I chose these investments.” 

Even if you think you were 100% responsible for their investment performance, there are better ways to acknowledge the results.  In addition to talking about the investment selection, you might mention…

  • We are fortunate to have some great investment partners who help us craft our portfolios.
  • Your input has been critical.  Thanks so much for staying engaged. 
  • We’ve really been impressed this year by our firm’s analysts. 

Or to channel TO, you might say…

 “Warren Buffet has nothing on me.” 

 

COIs:

We all know - you are the financial quarterback for your clients.  You’re centrally involved in their financial life and occasionally need to bring in outside experts.  When in front of these experts, be thoughtful in your words, as they are often sensitive to how they are being positioned.  Here is some language you might consider…

  • We partner with some of the best accountants and attorneys in the area.
  • We work closely with other professionals in the community.
  • It’s truly a team effort.

Or to channel TO, you might say…

 “Truly, I could probably do all the tax and legal work, but I’d rather focus on the investments.”

 

Team Members:

Regardless of your role on the team, it’s important to share credit at every possible opportunity, even if it’s just you and a shared assistant.  It’s rewarding to your teammates and allows you to brag on your work, without bragging on yourself.  You might say things like…

  • We’re very fortunate to have Jill on the team.  She is an unbelievable planner.
  • Mike oversees our review process.  He deserves all the credit for us all staying on track.
  • Jane is an excellent mentor – she’s taught us all so much.

 

Or to channel TO, you might say…

 “Kristy is the girl who answers our phones…John is the young man who does our data entry…”

Over the top?  Sure, a little. But our intention was to have a little fun with this, show some good and bad examples, and hopefully get everyone thinking about their own actions.  How do you share credit and praise others?  We’d love to hear your comments.  After all, our columns, without reader feedback and insights, just wouldn’t be the same. 

Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders and coaches with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry.  @StephenBoswell  @KevinANichols  www.oechsli.com