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Shifting Mindset Required to Provide Advisory Services

By Joey Havens

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In my previous blog, we talked about “the gap” and our need for a wake-up call regarding moving to an advisory services mindset. 

So how do we move our organizations towards advisory services? How do we seize our future by being relevant starting now? I think there are four foundational building blocks, and we’ll discuss the first one today: MINDSET SHIFT.

Our team members will not move to providing advisory services until they have a mindset shift. How can we accelerate this shift? First, we must understand that our knowledge and many of our skills, like analytical ability, makes us perfectly suited to be the primary advisors for businesses. Unfortunately, we have put ourselves into the accountant box and we are comfortable there. Spreadsheets, tax returns, data input, transactional advice. It’s been great the last 100 years.

We will struggle to get our firms out of this accountant’s box without a mindset shift by our team members. But we can begin that shift by developing a common future view. A common future view is very powerful in helping each other move past and over the gap.

As Daniel Burrus says, “Our future view will determine our future.” Our future view is simply what we believe the future holds. What hard trends will happen regardless of other trends? Are we intentional in understanding the future facts around us and how that shapes our world? Or are we haphazard in our future view? 

One thing shaping our future view at HORNE is that we’ve experienced 55 years of incremental change since our firm’s inception in 1962. Now, more change is coming in the next five years than in those past 55 years combined. We treat this as a future fact. The amount and speed of the change we are facing informs our future view. Most of our conversations and thinking involve incremental change, our experience says incremental change, yet we know it is not incremental anymore. I love this Malcolm Gladwell quote, “Change is gradual until it isn’t.” 

We’re standing on eight future facts that shape our future view:

Funny, we have the right (and the supporting history) to believe our profession will not experience this transformation. You might hold a future view that clients will not seek advisors outside our relationships, that social media will not affect their future choices. You may hold a future view that our services like audit and tax are not subject to disruption. Your future view might be one that is based on the chargeable hour remaining relevant. There are plenty of professionals espousing these future views today. 

Then I look at my smartphone and reflect on what power I have today compared to just a few years ago, I look at the outside companies that are investing millions of dollars into services that we now provide, Then the words of Daniel Burrus echo in my ears, “If you don’t do it, someone else will.” Are we inviting disruption by ignoring future facts that are supported by hard trends? How likely is our future view to be relevant if we ignore some hard trends we do not like?     

Let’s work together to begin moving our team members forward by developing a common future view based on hard trends. What are the future facts we can agree on and then plan our firm’s strategy around it? 

Without a common future view, you cannot change mindsets to allow professionals to do what they need to do for advisory services.