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For Financial Professionals in the US

Why you should spend the summer practicing resilience

Director, Practice Management Consultant Marquette Payton outlines three steps to help advisor teams build resilience so they can work together more productively and help provide stability for clients.

Marquette Payton, CRPS®, CDFA®

Marquette Payton, CRPS®, CDFA®

Director, Practice Management Consultant

Jul 3, 2024
6 minute read

Key takeaways:

  • Summer is often viewed as a quiet period, but advisor teams who view these months as an opportunity to build resilience may find themselves better prepared – and less stressed – when the busy fall season arrives.
  • Practicing resilience enables advisors to provide the stability clients need during periods of uncertainty and change.
  • Three key aspects of building resilience are speaking truth to ourselves, shifting how we perceive adversity, and creating unity among team members.

Advisors often view summer as the “quiet” season. We slow our working pace a bit, maybe take a vacation and a few long weekends, and try to de-stress as much as possible.

This is a perfectly healthy approach, and one I advocate and practice myself. But a temporary slowdown isn’t always the best way to alleviate stress. And in some cases, it can backfire. If we let ourselves get too comfortable with that relaxed summer pace, we may get caught off guard when the demanding fall season arrives – and find our stress levels at a peak.

That’s why I’d encourage you to shift your focus over the next few months to something that will help you bounce back – and feel less stressed – when September rolls around: Practicing resilience.

If stress-relief isn’t a big enough incentive, consider that the impact of building resilience extends far beyond your own mental wellbeing. First and foremost, it enables you to be the pillar of stability your clients need during periods of uncertainty and change. And with many investors worried about how rising inflation, the upcoming election, and a host of shifting macroeconomic factors could impact their portfolio, that stability is more important than ever right now.

Resilience can also help you stabilize the other members of your team, which is critical to the success of your business. Resilient teams have a leg up on the competition and can thrive during uncertain times because they’re able to rebound from setbacks.

So, how do you go about practicing resilience to create a stronger team and a stronger you? There are three key steps.

Step 1: Speak your truth

Before you can build resilience for your clients and team members, it’s important to first understand how you react to adversity on an individual level. Growth occurs when we can be honest with ourselves about where we are.

When we speak truth to ourselves, it serves to elevate us to a level where we can provide constructive feedback that allows the team to achieve optimal performance together. If everyone understands their own strengths and those of each team member, they can tap into this knowledge during a crisis or period of change. That way, each person can take the lead in their areas of strength while the rest of the team provides support.

Author and former Navy SEAL commander Rich Diviney discusses this principle – which he calls “dynamic subordination” – in his book, The Attributes. The approach helps teams more quickly adapt to the challenges they face. It also enhances engagement by empowering team members to have ownership in the practice.

Speaking truth to ourselves also elevates our relationships with clients. If we can be honest with ourselves about our own anxieties – whether related to the future of our business or what’s going to happen in the markets – then we can better relate to what investors are feeling. And that empathy and understanding allows us to have more candid conversations and productive relationships with clients.

Step 2: Shift your perception

How do you feel when confronted with adversity? Does it make you feel anxious, tense, threatened, or overwhelmed? Or do you view adversity as an opportunity for growth and development?

It’s natural to have a negative response to adversity; it’s simply how our brains are wired. But we can train ourselves to have a more optimistic mindset, to assume the good instead of the bad, and yes, even to view adversity as opportunity.

Shifting our perception in this way can enable us to be more flexible and adaptable, which is especially important when working with team members – or with clients – who are experiencing change or uncertainty.

A great resource on this topic is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, PhD. The author explains that the thoughts in your mind determine the emotions you feel, those emotions determine what actions you take, and the actions you take determine your outcomes.

Take notice of how the circumstances around you influence your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results, and then shift to a more positive mindset if you find that your thoughts are guiding you in the opposite direction.

Step 3: Create unity

Once you and your team members have spoken their truths and shifted their perception, the next area to focus on to build resilience is creating a sense of unity by building social cohesion. In fact, one of the most important components of teams that function well during periods of uncertainty and change is social cohesion because it gives team members a sense of “we’re in this together.”

When adequate time is invested in growing together as a team through social cohesion, all members understand their role and can express a level of vulnerability. When a team reaches this level, it builds a strong foundation of trust. Without trust, it is much more difficult for teams to get through challenges.

This unity also applies to your relationships with clients. Creating social cohesion lets you position yourself not as a detached observer or a superior, but rather as a trusted partner who is invested in your clients’ goals. You’re not just allocating assets or managing portfolios – you’re in this together.

Next steps for your team

The summer lull presents the perfect opportunity for your team to begin cultivating resilience. Building resilience will help the team rebound from setbacks and welcome new challenges more easily. It will also help the entire team guide clients through their challenges more confidently.

At your next team meeting (preferably held outdoors to enjoy the summer weather), start the conversation with these three questions:

1. Does our team’s culture empower the team to discuss concerns and challenges without fear of judgement?

2. Do team members fully understand everyone’s strengths and how they complement one another?

3. When facing adversity, does the team come together to discuss and learn from the experience?

Although summer is just getting started, the busy fall and year-end season is just around the corner. By taking time for reflection during these quieter months, you can position yourself to be ahead of the curve come fall.