The value of a checklist
Why establishing a check-list driven system will unleash comprehensive financial services faster than you will believe possible.
The reason the system we describe in The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ turn-key practice management operating system is easier than, at first, many financial advisors grasp is because at it's essence, fully comprehensive financial services, as implemented through our system is reduced to three simple financial planning checklists for each of your Ideal Clients. One checklist for each of the three Client Progress Meetings we ask every financial advisor to schedule with every Ideal Client:
- The Comprehensive Safety Review™ checklist
- The Goal Progress Outlook™ (GPO) checklist
- The annual review checklist
In contemplating every business management strategy, process or innovation ever created to improve the productivity, consistency and pro-activity within your business no resource or tool yet invented has ever exceeded the effectiveness, brilliance or power of the simple checklist.
The humble checklist would barely register at an Ivy League business school as worthy of any classroom discussion, or rise to a level described even as a methodology. No university we're aware of, accredited or otherwise, offers a semester course teaching "checklist creation," yet the astonishing value of a checklist cannot be underestimated.
A flight on any commercial airline is an ideal metaphor describing a Trusted Advisor's relationship with their community of Ideal Clients with the Pilot as the Trusted Advisor and the passengers as the community of clients. Passengers expect that their pilot is competent and worthy of trust; highly skilled at operating the aircraft (orchestrating comprehensive financial services). None of the passengers care much about the flight route chosen by the pilot, but every passenger expects that the pilot will deliver them to the agreed upon destination on time. With forewarning, many passengers can accept an arrival time that is a little late, but no passenger would be satisfied if they don't arrive at the destination to which they hired the airline to deliver them.
The point here is that none of us who have ever flown in a commercial jet, would ever trust a pilot that doesn't have a pre-flight checklist. Airlines in general, and airplanes specifically, are almost completely checklist-driven, and passengers would notice immediately when an item in "the checklist" is skipped. Can you imagine a flight, where the pre-flight safety briefing is skipped? You would likely notice immediately that "the process is not being followed."
Among the many benefits of checklists are the following:
We all struggle with being sufficiently focused. A checklist eliminates distractions.
Nothing "falls through the cracks" if a carefully created all-inclusive checklist is faithfully followed.
A checklist, supports a system which needs to operate "the same every time."
Establishes a sequence, cycle or interval
Allows for a routine to be established for important issues, action items, and processes.
If a checklist is followed, no important issue will ever fail to be reviewed.
Anyone who can read can follow a checklist. Even if an individual does not know what an item on a checklist means, they can ordinarily "follow the process" by simply asking other members of the team if the item was accomplished and, if so, check it off.
Assigns value to, often overlooked, less likely yet "high consequence" issues
Allows for rare, but potentially financially "dangerous" issues to be contemplated or unusual opportunities not to be overlooked.
Incorporates large amounts of knowledge into a simple format
Each simple bullet point on a checklist could represent vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom possessed by the Deliverables Team Member who added it.
Some checklist can be forward-looking to ensure significant financial issues never "blow up."
Checklists allow any business to operate more consistently, more reliably, more highly focused, and more proactive. For these reasons and many more, we have created our entire system around three simple checklists of, what we call, Deliverables Checkpoints™ for each of the three meetings in The Three Meeting Process™. Your (growing) Deliverables Team of experts will grow to rely upon and love your checklist of Deliverables Checkpoints™. Checklists allow for team members to work-together in greater harmony as they support each others Deliverables Checkpoints™ by contemplating every checkpoint from their own unique perspective and narrow area of expertise.
As you continue through all the content in our system, resist any temptation to be overwhelmed since, at it's heart we are simply advocating three checklists to be created by your Deliverables Team Members, one for each of the meetings in The Three Meeting Process™ so that you can, consistently deliver comprehensive financial services through highly-skilled Deliverables Team Members who follow each meeting's checklist. So long as your Deliverables Team Members create sufficiently thorough Deliverables Checkpoints™ then your primary task is to, then, insist that each of your Ideal Clients need to be present at three meetings with you per year, to allow you and your team to review each of the three checklists and obtain from the client the information which only they can provide.