This article is an extract from Transmission Private’s monthly newsletter, The Lede, which tracks the world of reputation management for private clients. You can sign up for the newsletter on our website via the tab at the bottom of this article or by completing the form here.
What are silos? The term is consultantese for the separate, self-contained verticals that exist in organisations, where everyone gets on with their job without thinking about how it affects other departments, with predictable results.
The relevance for private clients? UHNWIs often have quite complex needs that require advice from various types of professionals. Usually they’ll have separate tax advisors, lawyers, private bankers and wealth managers, often duplicated across different jurisdictions, which can create a silo effect if they don’t work together well.
How can advisors work together well? It begins with understanding the broader needs of the client - what are their values, vision and mission? What are their goals? Then it’s about learning to collaborate effectively.
My eyes glaze over when I hear the word collaboration. As well they might - it’s a fluffy term. But it’s also undeniable that some groups of people work better together than others, and that the client benefits when they do. There are several principles of good collaboration that were identified by Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino and that can be taught:
Listen more, talk less. Focusing too much on appearing like you’re adding value prevents you from actually being a useful participant.
Give people the benefit of the doubt. If you assume colleagues have something valuable to say, you may discover they’ve thought of something you haven’t.
Embrace feedback. Give it, take it and talk about it, says Gino. It may be awkward in cross-company teams, but otherwise unspoken problems can fester and working relations can sour.
Lead and follow. There’s no automatic ‘leader’ when you’re working across organisations, so stop competing for the position. There will be occasions where different people need to take charge.
Be clear. It’s best to be specific in communication about exactly who needs to do what, when and why.
Think ‘win-win’. Repeat: this is not a zero sum game.
It’s as simple as that? Not quite - there is a whole cultural dimension about how different people and organisations operate, but advisors are usually already used to flexing their styles to suit client needs and preferences. The same mentality is required between advisors.
Takeaway… The way advisors work together has a material impact on the value they collectively offer clients. It’s worth investing time to get better at it.