For decades, the unfortunate truth has been that 60-70% of organizational changes lead to failure. But now, thanks to the digital revolution, change is exactly what every advisor has in store for their foreseeable future.
From the wirehouse to the independent broker and everything in between, no advisor can escape the flood of changes brought on by financial technology.
So with the only constant being change, and with that change being new technology, it would only make sense to prepare yourself. And what better way to prepare than to examine the failures of others? Here are four mistakes advisors make when implementing new tech. Make sure to avoid them yourself.
1. Their staff isn’t on board
Successfully adapting to changes, including a new tech solution, is the effort of many, not an act of one (unless of course you’re a solo practitioner, then by all means skip to point two). Remember that scary statistic above? The organizational changes that fail often do so because the people inside the organization are resistant to them.
The reasons for their resistance are usually the same as they are with any type of change. They might be afraid that they won’t be able to master this new technology and thus be replaced, or they might just be more comfortable with the old model. Whatever the reason, it’s vital that your staff is just as prepared and enthusiastic as you are about your new technology offering or you risk it becoming just another failed organizational change.
2. They’re overwhelmed and under focused
Many advisors who implement tech fall victim to a version of the Paradox of Choice. Much like the grocery shopper who struggles to pick between the 50 different types of peanut butter, these advisors are so overwhelmed with the many different features of their technology, they forget why they originally bought it.
To fight against this tendency, it helps to first, have clear goals in mind when adopting technology and second, to consistently reaffirm and reevaluate these goals throughout each stage of your implementation process. This constantly reminds you of the needs your new technology satisfies and prevents you from getting bogged down in minor details.
3. They skip the training
“It’s better to over train than under perform.” While I’m pretty sure I saw that quote on a poster in my local gym, it applies to fintech just as well. Because understanding your technology through in-depth training is just as important as deciding to implement it in the first place.
Think of your new technology as a piece of IKEA furniture and the training as an instruction booklet. Sure, you can go sans instructions. And there’s even a good chance you actually do put that dresser together. But you know damn well there’s gonna be a few screws leftover and maybe even an entire piece of wood that looks disturbingly important once you’ve finished.
However, if you’re patient and follow the instructions, you might take a bit longer and run through a wider array of curse words, but in the end the finished product will look much nicer. And you won’t spend the next week praying it doesn’t crash to pieces.
4. They doubt their own abilities
Whenever someone says something along the lines of “I’m not good with technology,” what they’re really saying is “I can’t keep up with the pace of change.” And it’s excuses like this that facilitate failure, which is why so many failed implementations are full of them.
A successful implementation plan is humble enough to recognize the need for the proper training, but still proud enough to know that the advisor (and his or her staff!) is more than capable of using the new tool.
A lack of confidence or even interest will lead to a half-hearted implementation plan. And a half-hearted plan is a failed plan. To borrow another quote that I’m sure I saw at that same gym, “Go Big or Go Home.”
The power of technology lies not in what it can do for you, but in what you can do with it. The right technology is an extension of your already existing successful business tactics. It builds upon your strengths and covers for your weaknesses, and the better you can work with it, the more successful you’re implementation will be.