Creating a successful team is key in any business. Putting together a team of advisers takes special skills. We asked someone who has 10 years’ experience in putting together effective teams her secrets of success.
Esther Angrisano is a successful and well-liked BT Advice regional manager. She has a team of over 20 planners reporting to her - a number that doubled late last year.
Esther has been managing planners for over 10 years. Her team is diverse in age, culture and gender and she says that diversity is key to building balanced, strong and successful teams. Esther also believes that diversity drives innovation, a concept that more and more research is proving. In the context of her teams, Esther says she has seen that when people with complementary skills, differing backgrounds and experiences come together, great things happen.
Esther has also sponsored several young women and men into financial planning - giving them their first roles and helping them learn the ropes.
So what is it that Esther is looking for when she’s hiring a new team member?
“It’s all based on their hunger and passion - how much they want the role and how hard they’re willing to work,” Esther says.
“Experience and capability isn’t all that matters. Desire is more important to me - we can always teach the technical and strategy.”
Of course, they have to have the qualifications before they can be hired, but beyond that - Esther says the reason they want to be planners is very important.
Hunger and passion
“I will drill down into why someone wants to be an adviser. Usually, when I ask why people want to be advisers they say ‘because I like helping people and I feel satisfied when I know I’ve done something to help them’.
“I want to know more. When I learn more about the background of why they feel so strongly this is what resonates. I have interviewed people who might be one of four children their mother brought up singlehandedly and they want to be financial planners because they think ‘if only she knew…’ or others might have had a parent who lost all their money in the GFC because they put all their eggs in one basket and say ‘if only they knew’.
“When I hear stories like this, I know there is hunger and passion because the passion comes from something quite personal and these people can really see how they can make a difference to people’s lives.”
Values are important too. “I’m always curious about potential recruits and whether or not they know our organisational values and do their personal values align,” Esther says.
“Delighting customers is ultimately what we’re all striving for but there also needs to be understanding of ‘one team’ values and the strengths of courage and achievement.”
Hiring the green ones
The majority of Esther’s team are currently young, green and hungry planners which can pose some challenges for managers.
However, Esther says she embraces these challenges and can already see one of her green recruits providing the greatest return on investment in the future.
She judges future success on their willingness to learn and how hard they are willing to work.
“I believe strongly that hard work is the precursor to success,” she says.
“I remember being a junior myself once and someone took a chance on me. They saw something in me which, at the time, I couldn’t even see and now I want to be able to do that for others.”
To make sure the new recruits are working out, Esther says she has to ensure she is spending a lot more time with her newer advisers. She also conducts coaching group sessions on a regular basis and she makes sure her seniors also share the responsibility to take on a new adviser.
Caption: Esther Angrisano (right) with BT senior financial adviser Daniella Elchaar
Her top 5 tips to being a great manager are:
- Hear, take and act on feedback when provided from the team
- Keep great rapport and relationships with aspiring talent so when it is time to recruit you can do it quickly and easily
- Treat everyone with equal respect
- Lead by example
- Going above and beyond to make a difference and make it easier for my people.
Esther’s top 5 tips to creating a great team are to hire:
- People willing to help mentor and coach others
- People willing to share best practice with others
- People willing to allow others to attend meetings with them to expand their knowledge
- People willing to share tools and templates that have worked for them with others
- Reward and recognition - making sure people feel valued when they do particularly well.
This Information current as at 4 April 2017.
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