Building a Championship Mindset in Our Wealth Management Companies

Adero Partners on the Pod, Mammoth & Canoe Partner 🦣 🛶 & Justin Wise on Process

This week, I’m writing to you my home in Charleston, where my teenage daughters are trying to stay up for the midnight release of Taylor Swift’s newest album.

Honestly, I’m here for it.

She’s likely the top artist of the modern era, and everything she touches turns not just to gold but platinum. One of the best parts of watching Taylor’s professional life is how she celebrates the people who do the work with her - from her dancers on stage getting credit at the end of her Eras Tour show to how she paid the people who drove her set across the US, she’s known for generosity and collaboration.

This week, my focus is on the people who do the work.

How do we think about our teams, and how do we maximize them?

Here’s this week’s Connected Advisor.

  1. Elevating Our Teams to Their Highest and Best

  2. Adero Partners Talks About the Evolution of Advice 🎧

  3. Mammoth Partners with Canoe to Further Streamline Alts 🦣 🛶

  4. Justin Wise on Process

  5. On the Road

Building a Championship Mindset in Our Wealth Management Companies

If you ask someone what the top sports teams in history are, there are a few that tend to pop up over and over again.

  • 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers: Won four Super Bowls in six years (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979) under coach Chuck Noll with players like Terry Bradshaw and "Mean" Joe Greene.

  • Brazil National Team (1970): Often considered one of the greatest football teams ever, won the 1970 FIFA World Cup with players like Pelé.

  • 1980s San Francisco 49ers: The team captured four Super Bowl titles in the decade with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and coach Bill Walsh, innovating with the West Coast offense.

  • Edmonton Oilers (1980s): Led by Wayne Gretzky, the Oilers won the Stanley Cup five times in seven years (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990).

  • New England Patriots (2000s and 2010s): The team was dominant, winning six Super Bowls under the leadership of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

  • New York Yankees (Late 1990s): Won four World Series titles in five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000), highlighted by a record-setting 114-win season in 1998.

  • Chicago Bulls (1990s): Won six NBA championships in eight years, with two three-peats (1991-1993, 1996-1998), led by Michael Jordan.

Each team has a few stand out players, a full roster of players, coaches, managers and owners who made a way for greatness. The 1990s Chicago Bulls make almost everyone’s list. It wasn’t surprising that so many of us consumed the Netflix documentary Watch the Last Dance in 2020.

The docuseries chronicled Michael Jordan’s meteoric rise but also shined a light on the rest of the 1997-1998 team. While there is no doubt that Jordan was the linchpin for the team's success, the Bulls success clearly extended to a full cast of characters.

The Keys to Greatness

Looking for greatness similar to the Bulls iconic season will require far more than just one key player. Great teams find success by finding the right players for the right positions. From coaches and managers to the talent on the court, the entire line up needs to be right.

For every Jordan, you need a Tony Kukoč. For every Joe Montana, you need a Bill Walsh who sets the program's tone and creates a culture of winning.

Our companies need various skilled players to do various highly specific jobs to win. Finding and developing that talent is paramount to our team’s success.

X’s & O and Jimmy’s and Joe’s

There’s a saying that goes, "It's not about the Xs and Os; it's about the Jimmys and Joes."

That saying has proved itself true so many times.

You can have all the right strategies but without the right people to execute them, you won’t achieve the greatness you’re striving for.

It’s been a while since Peter Drucker taught us all that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Your work culture, while worthy of effort to create, is ultimately the outcome of the character and behaviors of group of people you work alongside.

If you’re not careful, the concept of culture can have an outsized seat at the table — so much so that chasing a concept can blind us from addressing key problems with Jimmy, Joe, the strategy, the hiring process, or the market.

Instead of using culture as a crutch, or conversely as a weapon, it should be a checkpoint for your guiding principles and values. When you hire, when you conduct reviews, when your team grades each other, they should do it against the actions you’ve identified as key for your culture. And you have to live out those principles and values daily.

To be clear, culture shouldn’t doesn’t need a seat at your table. It should be the table.

Your culture is the unifying mindset that should guide how you work and what you do. The team constantly trues up to these standards, or they don’t stay on the team.

The World Needs More Ron Harpers

It's been a bit, but if you are near my age and followed the NBA in the 1990s and 2000s, you might be familiar with Ron Harper.

Winner of 5 NBA Titles, Harper played for the Cavaliers and Clippers without much success personally or for the team didn’t find successful teams from 1986 until 1994. When he was 31, he became a big perimeter defender, ball handler, and mid-range scorer for Phil Jackson in Chicago and Los Angeles.

While he was under the radar for most awards, Harper played a key role in providing a mature, consistent presence who consistently contributed to his team's success and grit.

The chances are, if your team is winning, you have a Ron Harper. Celebrate their commitment to your culture and output as often as you can. Create an environment where calling out excellence and value based behaviors is normal and frequent.

Put it into Practice

Spend time working ON your business, not just in your business each quarter. Evaluate your team’s current culture. With lots of team members likely working more remotely or in a multi-office structure, this takes more time to understand. Carve out time and find out how the team is doing.

Logging into Microsoft Teams each day doesn’t make you a good team.

You’re going to have to invest in the health of individuals to have a strong group.

Do we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses? Are we unified around a shared vision and mission?

Here are some keys for applying team principles to your actual team.

  1. Know Who You Have on Your Team
    Everyone is busy, but I promise that it’s worth your time to slow down and put in relational work. Get to really know your team. Seek to understand the world through your team members’ eyes and experience.

  2. Know How to Coach

    Many of us sit in an awkward player-coach position. It can be a blessing or a curse to lead and play at the same time. Keep your leadership hat on while you work and look for ways to improve the tasks that need to get done. When your team’s pain is really known, you’ll be able to provide plenty of empathetic direction. Everyone knows the plan is for you to ride the pine and just call in the plays, but they’ll trust you more knowing you’ve spent time in the paint.

    But don’t neglect that you need coaching too. Now and in the future, you’ll be your best self when someone more seasoned is in your life, coaching you.

  3. Manage Your Roster
    The best General Managers know the whole market almost as well as they know their current team. Keep your eyes up and out just as much as you do, down and in for your company. Learn about what’s changing and who’s making the difference in the industry.

    We have to be students of our team’s strengths and weaknesses compared to the broader marker and find how to best motivate, coach, delegate and elevate.

  4. Build for a Dynasty
    Sure its great for Tampa to steal one Super Bowl with Brady. Long term success is hard to sustain. We want to get a championship, but true winners crave consistent dominance. This means that we have to find ways to keep up the good work and culture to create a system that builds for continued success.

How is your culture building to win?

On the Pod

In Episode 039 of The Connected Advisor, Kyle Van Pelt interviews Aaron White, Chief Growth Officer at Adero Partners, discussing expanding wealth management services beyond traditional asset and investment management.

Adero Partners is adapting by offering a comprehensive range of services, including tax planning, estate planning, and retirement accounts, and embracing technologies like AI and LLMs to improve client interactions and efficiency. Aaron shares insights from his extensive background in pre-liquidity planning, wealth transfer, and tax strategy, emphasizing the firm’s role as a central advisor or "Family CFO." The episode also touches on alternative investments, the significance of qualified small business stock (QSBS) in tax savings, and the importance of executing estate plans effectively.

Full episode is available now 👇

Mammoth Partners with Canoe to Further Streamline Alts

Our friends at Mammoth announced their partnership with Canoe Intelligence this week. This partnership helps firms that use Canoe to get key verification partners to ensure that you can properly confirm the accuracy of your client's alternative data in your core portfolio accounting software.

Kudos to both teams for working together to make such a smooth integration.

Attached to the Process

I connected with this tweet exchange between Jon Acuff and Justin Wise this week as a constant reminder of where we should focus.

Milemarker on the Road

Catch our team on the road at the following events or cities:

  1. April 24 - Charlotte, NC

  2. April 25 - Charleston, SC

  3. April 30 - Atlanta, GA

If you’re in any of those cities and want to arrange a meeting time, reply to this email, and we’ll get something on the calendar.

Jud Mackrill