During This Crisis, No One Is Looking for a Fiduciary

If the coronavirus doesn’t kill your practice, the fiduciary flu will.

If during this crisis you’re still marketing yourself as a fiduciary, your practice is in serious trouble. Clients aren’t looking for a fiduciary…they’re looking for a leader.

And if your practice somehow survives the corona virus, you’ll immediately be faced with another career crippling disease – the fiduciary flu.

Soon, everyone will be a fiduciary…and yet, they won’t. Marketing yourself as a fiduciary will be as senseless as trying to differentiate yourself by saying you passed the Series 7.

For more than a decade we’ve written about the demise of the fiduciary movement. Of how politics, power, ego, and greed have turned ‘fiduciary’ into a toxic swamp. Fiduciary was once a gold standard defined by fiduciary best practices. Today, it’s a bronze standard defined by complex disclosures and rules.

What the corona virus and fiduciary flu share in common is that both are going to force elite professionals in the industry to redefine their margin of excellence.

For better or worse, the next six months will likely be the defining moment of your professional career. How you respond to the challenges ahead will:

  • -Reveal your true character, capacity for compassion, and level of competence.
  • -Test whether your clients trust you, and whether your staff/team members are inspired and engaged.
  • -Shape your reputation and legacy.

There are ten things you should be doing now:

1. Slow your operational rhythm; business is not going to snap back to what it was before the crisis. Use this time to regroup and create a shared vision with staff and clients on what your practice/firm will look like after the crisis.

2. Triple your communications cadence. If before the crisis you reached out to clients once a quarter, now you should be communicating with them, at least, once a month.

3. When communicating, focus more on:

  • -Being purposeful, less on being procedural.
  • -Intrinsic values, less on extrinsic.
  • -What you can control, less on what you can’t.

4. Delegate more, and extend trust to emerging leaders.

5. Make a friend of failure. Master the art of getting back up, grit, tenacity, resilience, and perseverance. Learn how to transcribe what you have discovered through failure to become an even better leader.

6. Collaborate; this crisis also is going to mark the end of the top down command and control leadership style.

7. Focus on serving others, not on selling. Selling during a crisis demonstrates a lack of compassion and benevolence, both of which will undermine your ability to build and maintain trust.

8. Identify activities that need to be stopped to save resources; started to acquire and build up resources; and, continued because you do them better than anyone else!

9. Demonstrate your capacity to enact a fair, just, and transparent process to resolve moral conflicts and to allocate limited resources.

10. Pray that you’ll have the courage to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

This crisis and the fiduciary flu that will soon follow are creating fear, anxiety, and chaos. The rate, duration, and magnitude of change has never been greater. There are multiple factors affecting outcomes, and it’s difficult to understand causes and effects. And, there is a lack of clarity; we don’t know how this crisis and the fiduciary flu are going to unfold.

It’s no longer about being a fiduciary…it’s about being a leader.