In June 2018, I was interviewed by Michael Kitces for his Financial Advisor Success podcast. The full interview, at 90 minutes, is here: www.kitces.com/77. I am making some "bite size" passages of the interview available here.
Michael: So can you give us a sense, like, how much of what you actually end out doing these days is in the mediation realm versus the facilitation realm versus the coaching realm? Like, I guess you have sort of an interesting snapshot on, you know, where do advisors typically actually need help? Is it more mediation work for, you know, actual partnerships in conflict or in crisis or is it more facilitation and forward-looking? What do you see in practice?
Tanya: So right now I think when advisors call, they’re calling because they are either looking at a succession plan. It’s something that they want to put in place for the future. Maybe they want to add someone to the practice. And usually it’s a founder who doesn’t necessarily want to sell a practice right now but they’re looking at adding someone to the practice who could serve in that role in the future, and so they’re looking for a facilitation. They want to make sure that when they bring someone in it is the right person and they want to reduce the mistakes maybe that they’ve made in the past or reduce some of the errors that they’ve heard about in the past.
And then the other category would be solo practitioners calling because they are interested in forming a larger firm to get all the benefits that you get from being in a partnership. I would say that most of the calls are in those two categories at this time. I get calls for mediation from other industries, but on the advisor side, I think the energy really seems to be around the pre-merger facilitations.
Michael: Interesting. Because I was going to say, like, those are both facilitation forward-looking-oriented things. Like, I’m a solo and I know another advisor and we’re talking about forming a partnership together and we want to come to you, or I’m a founder and I’ve brought in the successor and I want to make sure this goes well and I come to you. Like, those are very forward-looking facilitation contexts, not necessarily the in-conflict mediation-style scenarios?
Tanya: Right. Actually, usually it’s not a conflict situation, there’s usually a lot of excitement around the venture. But there’s a little bit of, you know, buyer…you know, everybody is cognizant of the fact that 70% of business partnerships don’t go past 5 years.
Michael: Seventy percent of business partnerships don’t go beyond five years.
Tanya: Yeah. That’s from the Harvard Business Review. And some people think that the number might be higher. And when I speak about this topic I…there’s another statistic, and this is from Founders and Funders in San Francisco, that when business partnerships fail, 62% of the time the partners cited partnership conflict as the reason that the partnership failed.
Michael: Like, they had some kind of difference and they couldn’t figure out how to resolve it.
Tanya: Yeah, there was a relationship issues between the partners. So it wasn’t that they went to market with some product or service necessarily that wasn’t a good idea, but there was something about the partners that they weren’t getting along, or they had some conflict that they couldn’t resolve on their own. So I think there is at least a growing awareness that having that partnership relationship is crucial to the success of the business. I mean, that’s what I talk about all the time.
Michael: Yeah. Well, and I guess it makes sense that, you know, as financial planners, we do tend to be very forward-looking. So my heart is warmed to hear that we are at least doing a reasonable job about being forward-looking about our partnerships the way that we are hopefully forward-looking in advice with clients and all the planning things we do, which is a very forward-looking kind of thing.