Magenta is heading into its third financial year and business is brilliant. We have a strong brand, great clients and good referrals – and we have gathered awards as a result. But we know the business cannot stand still and needs to adapt to remain successful.
What has become clear from a recent discussion is that, although the directors know our vision and how the Magenta experience should feel for clients, the team does not necessarily.
This presents us with a challenge. The lovely, sparkly Magenta bus is ready to deliver a fantastic client journey with plenty of passion, but who is on it with us? And do they know what gear to be in, how to change the oil, etc? The answer is ‘no’ – because we have been so busy, we have not articulated that for some time.
When Magenta was born, the team who were with us knew what the baby looked like and how to nurse it. However, that baby is now a toddler, running around and excited about many new opportunities – and it is hard for the team to keep up.
Magenta has recruited a number of team members in the past year – and they do not know our history and ways of working. By contrast, some of the team have worked alongside chief executive Julie Lord for almost two decades – and with me for seven years. We built Magenta from scratch in the past three.
Both new team members and those with lengthy experience bring advantages and disadvantages. Skills, adaptability, enthusiasm and drive can vary dramatically from person to person and managing this is a big challenge.
So we decided to undertake an 8 Proven Principles for Perfection™ Review with Michelle Hoskin (pictured above) of Standards International. With her guidance, we have taken the first steps to build a better team structure – reallocating some roles, and clearly differentiating ‘business services’ and ‘planning services’, and the tasks associated with these roles.
For me, this is a significant shift. I have been juggling almost all the business roles alongside financial planning and technical manager tasks. This causes a bottleneck and is not an efficient use of my time but, at the start, I was the only one with the skills to manage many of the tasks involved.
Over the past two years, however, Rebecca Tuck (pictured below), our paraplanner, has significantly up-skilled and grown in confidence. This year, we have asked her to take on a management role: technical and quality manager. This is a big change for Rebecca. She loves paraplanning so much she gets emotional talking about it.
However, she will still have one foot in the paraplanner role while we transition and recruit, and will continue to be involved day-to-day with technical and complex planning cases. This will help with workflow and management of the financial planning part of the business.
‘It is no secret I love paraplanning,’ says Tuck. ‘But over the past couple of years I have also been keen to start taking on more responsibility within Magenta. It has taken a while to figure out what direction I wanted to go in within the business, but I think the role of technical and quality manager is a great fit for my skills, and will allow me to expand on the parts of my job I really enjoy. It is very new for me, so there is definitely a steep learning curve ahead, but I am excited for the challenge.’
While some decisions have been hard, and we have had some emotional conversations with the team, I am confident Magenta will be stronger, better and – most importantly – give financial planning advice forever, long after Julie and I are gone (hopefully lying on a beach sipping cocktails!).
I would encourage every business, whether established or just a few years old, to review team structures and processes to ensure you are as efficient as possible. All team members (including business owners) should feel valued and appreciated, challenged and inspired.
Gretchen Betts is managing director of Magenta Financial Planning