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Mitch Anthony's Intuitive Advisor

The Practice Doctor is IN

A TEAM Case Study

by Al Depman, CLU, ChFC, CMFC, BH
Practice Management Consultant

Al Depman photoThe advisor I've been working with for five years recently hit a significant new level of production, passing the $1M GDC mark for the first time in his 20-year career. With this success has come a new spate of "good" problems. Among the most significant of these was (and is) staffing.

Rick, the senior advisor, had achieved his milestone with a staff of three and a good back office system offered by his broker/dealer and local branch office. However, one of the senior staff members was leaving due to an illness and Rick was trying to decide among three possible replacements he was interviewing.

Annie and Martha were staying in place. Annie did much of the service work and Client Relationship Management (CRM) maintenance. Martha focused on new business tracking, paperwork and helped with client contacts and communication. Sara was leaving. She was the case preparation specialist, ran the appointment calendar, and acted as the de facto office manager.

So, Rick called for some tactical input about the three candidates for Sara's position. All three had experience and licensure. His problem was straightforward—he could envision each in the job. Which would be the best one?

I suggested a T.E.A.M. Dynamics profile for the staff. Take Annie and Martha's profiles and then profile the three candidates to see who would best complement the existing pair. Rick agreed that this might do the trick.

Annie and Martha completed their profiles. They are represented on the grid as AR and MC. Both turned out to be formidable Analyzers. In fact, Martha scored the maximum 48 and Annie wasn't far behind with 41. Both scores are well into the "strong, pronounced" range. So Rick discovered why they were so good at what they did—they were process-driven and detailed with the quest for accuracy built into their DNA.

Annie had a supporting Togetherness score of 33 and Martha's supporting role was a tepid Motivator score of 26. These supporting roles indicate where Annie and Martha would go when their Analyzer sides came under pressure.

The Villain roles were as pronounced as the Leading roles: Annie scored a low 20 in Motivator—so she had a proclivity to resist cheerleading. Martha's low 20 was in the Enterpriser, meaning she'd have problems with anyone who would be take charge and speak bluntly. The Villain role represents the personality type that causes the most stress and tension in your life; it represents working and communicating with a person in an unnatural process.

Armed with this information, Rick profiled the three candidates (neither Candidate 1 or 2 was hired).

Candidate 1 turned out to be a high, pronounced (40) Analyzer. This would probably be great for the detail work but wouldn't help address the balance of the team he sought to build. Three pronounced Analyzers might just be too much!

Candidate 2 scored high in Togetherness (35) but also has a Villain score of 21 in Enterpriser. Again, three low Enterprisers was a red flag. Rick was often away for long periods of time and needed an Enterpriser-potential staff person to rise to the occasion.

Candidate 3 is the CR (Carol) on the grid overlay. All her scores were within 10 points, 25 35. No pronounced tendencies. By a hair, she did have a leading Analyzer (35) but had a supporting Motivator (34). He villain score was a moderate 25 in Togetherness. Rick thought that her analytical side would appreciate and work with the strong Analyzers already on board. But she was flexible enough to take over the office management duties that Sara had pioneered.

TEAM Dynamics Grid Ovelay

So it was that Carol became the third team member. We conducted a team meeting by discussing the scores and what they meant to the group's interactions. It was a good start and a few months later, the team is ready for new heights of production in the coming year.

The T.E.A.M. tool is a versatile way to built camaraderie with a support team as well as a method of understanding how clients think and act. Contact us if you're interested in learning more!

The Doctor is OUT

© 2015 Al Depman

Al Depman, CLU, ChFC, CMFC, BH, a.k.a. "The Practice Doctor", is's Business Practice Consultant, and contributor to "The Wall Street Journal." He is the creator of "The Practice Management Assessment" tool and materials and has authored numerous articles in professional publications on practice management, and author of the book, How to Build Your Financial Advisory Business and Sell It at a Profit, available from McGraw Hill. Al combined his Liberal Arts studies with 10 years of management experience with McDonald's Corporation to enter the financial services world 25 years ago. Since then, Al has evolved from an MDRT-level sales rep into a full-time consultant specializing in helping others engineer their business practices to the next level. Contact him at

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