It’s time for ‘extraordinary’


We all love that team member who just gets it. The one who is on the same page as you, who knows where the business is heading and does all that they can (effortlessly) to help it get there! Sadly, these types of people are few and far between so when you get one… make sure you treat them well and try to hang on to them for dear life!

In  the past I have written about the ultimate driver of self-motivation which I believe has to be one of the most important attributes you can find in any one person; but what else is there?

As we now start to return to some of the normal practices of business and office life, I believe there will be a ‘people movement’ shake-up as both firms and team members start to see the true colours of where they work and who they work with. Much of this will be good but most I believe will be bad.

Over the first few months of going into lockdown and the last few months of coming out if it – we have heard of some shocking behaviour from firms who quite frankly I would have expected better from – but equally we’ve seen some disappointing behaviours and responses from people who, when the chips were down, were simply not up to the job they said they could do or quite frankly not prepared to step up and be counted.

Either way, we need to blow the whole thing wide open and cut to the chase… what are those essential and key principles and behaviours that sort the wheat from the chaff, that pick out the valuable from the useless and the thriving from the surviving?

For years we’ve heard business owners tell us what magical qualities they look for in an outstanding team player, so when we set out to draft The Paraplanner Standard™ ( knew there had never been a better time to get these qualities in writing and part of the global benchmark. Now, one essential point to make: these key principles and behaviours are not exclusive to paraplanners – no! These qualities should be considered the bare minimum for every team member in every financial advisory and planning firm in the world – without exception!

As we now start to return to some of the normal practices of business and office life, I believe there will be a ‘people movement’ shake-up as both firms and team members

So, what does it take?
The key behaviours and principles we identified are:

  • Professionalism – this kind of goes without saying, but you must love this profession and everything that it stands for more than life itself. Financial services is a calling: it cannot be done half hearted!
  • Moral values and ethics – a person’s moral compass must be bang on point. No wavering from the innate desire to do things right for the right reasons. Can this be taught? I am not sure it can… but when you look hard enough you will find it and only then can you harness its power to unleash its potential.
  • Honesty and integrity – we always talk about this as a ‘must have’ but I rarely see this being set as a benchmark during the hiring process. Sadly, people can be dishonest for various reasons, so we need to flush these people out before we even let them in. Integrity on the other hand is a whole different kettle of fish and in my opinion is right up there with the need to breathe!
  • Dependability and accuracy – they must care about what they are doing and how they are doing it. No cutting corners, no broken promises. Dependability and accuracy build trust and without trust there is nothing.
  • Priority of the client’s interests – not just your customers but also any other person you are serving in any given moment. That could be a fellow team member, the boss or one of your firm’s clients. Service can turn into serving, when done right, by the right person!
  • Due care and diligence – this links to some of the qualities above. We should always come back to care and attention to detail. There is nothing more frustrating than a person who just cannot be bothered to do the job properly.
  • Compliance – we can’t escape it! It is our essential baseline platform which we have to meet. An appreciation of the rules and a willingness to follow them goes a long way!
  • Conflicts of interest – a confident person will have no issues with raising a concern or flagging an issue head on! Confidence is a massive quality which goes a long way to make for a fruitful contribution to the success of any team.
  • Communication – the key to happiness, the key to trust, the key to successful relationships and a happy team! It’s good to talk and even more so when it’s constructive, fluid and free flowing.
  • Objectivity – a balanced view is a healthy view. It is essential that we have people who see things from other people’s point of view, who can appreciate other perspectives. No one wants to be ranted at by a person on their high horse or their soapbox – and that includes the boss!
  • Confidentiality – we talk about some serious and extremely private stuff. A business’s intellectual property (IP) and the affairs of the clients are top secret and should be kept that way!
  • Disclosure – this is similar to honesty. You must be happy to speak out and be confident to say what’s on your mind, what may have gone wrong or what you have seen as a potential issue!
  • Competence – if you need the skills, learn then; if you don’t have them, don’t say you do! You must have the right skills to do the job in the right way and at the right time. People’s true abilities and skills show their face eventually so not knowing everything is not a weakness, it’s a platform for you to build on what you have and achieve your best!

When demonstrated, these principles and behaviours are essential in defining the whole person – and when these key qualities are not just met but exceeded, I believe perfection will become a reality.

So, factor these into your recruitment process, your team profiling, and your appraisal and development programmes. Set them as your internal benchmarks for behaviours and achieve excellence as your standard!


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We believe everyone has the power to realise their extraordinary potential. “Standards International is the powerhouse behind professionalism and operational excellence in financial services. We set the standards, we live the standards, we are the standards!” That’s us in a nutshell! We support the development of financial adviser business owners, their business partners, practice and business managers, and support teams in all areas of personal and business development. We have some super-exciting developments under way and it gives me such a buzz when I sit for a moment and realise what an impact all of this could have on our magical profession! Please be sure to keep in touch with us via social media, use our contact form or email us on to say “Hi”.

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