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The Keys to Blocking Out Vanity Metrics While Building Your Firm on Substance and Reality

John Wernz on the Pod, Pressing the Easy Button on Holiday Preparations, and Milemarker on the Road

As I’ve probably mentioned a million times in this newsletter, I’m a huge college football fan.

While I was back in Omaha last week, my wife and I took our son to a Nebraska Cornhuskers football game after his college visit. Of course, I left the stadium dismayed once again after witnessing the loss to Maryland by 3 points. I tried not to be annoyed that the scoring for football, a game played mostly with your hands, still has some kicking.

I’ll circle back to this past weekend’s college football games in the feature piece this week.

Before we jump in, here’s an overview of what I’m talking about in this holiday pregame version of Connected.

  1. The Keys to Blocking Out Vanity Metrics While Building Your Firm on Substance and Reality

  2. Finding Success in Organic Growth for Your Firm in 2024 - John Wernz 🎧

  3. Pressing the Easy Button on Holiday Preparations 🍗

  4. Milemarker on the Road

Let those cranberries simmer, and let’s go.

The Keys to Blocking Out Vanity Metrics While Building Your Firm on Substance and Reality

This past Saturday, we watched the Washington Huskies take on Utah. Washington and their quarterback, Michael Penix, Jr. have been really enjoyable to watch as they play with intensity and precision and have had a ton of success.

This past week, one key moment put the outcome of their game in peril.

While running back a tipped pass from Utah, a Huskies linebacker secured the ball but dropped it just before crossing the goal line in premature celebration.

It’s the kind of thing you have to see to believe 👇

Watching this got me thinking about the times people I know and I had counted wins before they were real and the false facts we think that led us to delusion.

In our industry, metrics get a lot of attention, especially AUM.

While the amount of money being managed is undeniably helpful, it can’t tell the whole story of a business's success. It will never capture the depth of client happiness, the strength of relationships with advisors, and the overall daily delivered experience.

Putting too much weight into a single metric, even AUM is like dropping the ball before crossing the goal line.

Yes, metrics matter, but tying numbers to intent, passion, and impact creates real meaning that can more profoundly drive success.

Giving your team an AUM goal for 2024 and pulling them along all year based on it is one-dimensional. It’s time to determine the core metrics that truly matter.

The call is for intentional goal-setting and alignment as we approach the year's final stretch and set our sights on 2024. It's about spending that extra time in the huddle, asking ourselves what it will take not to drop the ball and how we can achieve success together as a team.

  1. I have frequently relied on the Entrepreneur Operation System (EOS) for goal setting, meeting structure, and more. EOS is a set of simple concepts and practical tools used by more than 190,000+ companies worldwide to clarify, simplify, and achieve their vision. It helps you craft meaningful metrics for everyone to carry. You can see your next 12 months through the lens of the Six Key Components™.

  2. System and Soul Framework:

    1. Business framework that combines the system and soul of your business to create a breakthrough.

    2. A balance of process and people – made up of six elements that are the backbone of proven, productive, and well-loved organizations everywhere.

  3. OKR Framework:

    1. A goal management framework that helps organizations implement and execute their strategy.

    2. A powerful way to formulate goals, enabling organizations, teams, and individuals to set clear and measurable outcome-driven goals that encourage collaboration.

Ultimately, choose whichever framework works for you and your business, and remember that the value lies not in the framework itself but in how you and your team embrace it and work inside it.

As we navigate the last 10 yards of this year, let's carry the ball across the finish line as we invest the time intentionally and align our teams with clarity to focus on what truly matters to our firms.

Let’s drive action toward meaningful metrics that help us all win together.

On the Pod

Finding Success in Organic Growth for Your Firm in 2024

Episode 020: In this week’s Connected Podcast episode, we’re sharing the conversation John Wernz, Executive in Residence at Great Hill Partners, and I had in our workshop about achieving growth for your firm in 2024.

We talk through how to convert leads into clients, how technology can streamline your business, and how vital a documented, goal-driven plan can be for your firm's organic growth.

Get answers to these top questions asked by advisors:

  1. What percentage of top-line revenue should firms spend on lead generation or organic marketing services?

  2. How should advisors be thinking about podcasting as a marketing channel?

  3. How are you thinking about AI in terms of supporting organic growth?

“The question to me is not can you get those leads? It's can you actually create a funnel to convert them? Can you get those leads to appointments and clients? To me, that is the larger question for most RIAs thinking about doing organic.”

- John Wernz, Executive in Residence at Great Hill Partners

The episode is available now on your favorite podcast platform as well as a video version on YouTube. While there, please don’t forget to Download, Like, and Subscribe.

Pressing the Easy Button on Holiday Prep

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I'm sure your homes are buzzing with visitors and the delightful chaos of cooking and baking.

Amidst the preparations, someone in your circle has probably been assigned the quintessential (albeit somewhat dreaded, at least in my opinion) task of cooking the turkey.

If you can’t quite picture your Thanksgiving tablescape sans turkey but want to avoid the hassle, check out what catering options local restaurants in your area offer. Since we moved to South Carolina, we've embraced the ease (and deliciousness) of Rodney Scott's turkey.

If you’re local to Charleston, Atlanta, Trussville or Homewood, I highly recommend placing an order for the bird:

Milemarker on the Road

While travel is slowing down with the holidays and the end of 2023, our team has one final official trip before we call it a wrap. Catch us in Dallas, Texas, on December 7.

If you’re around DFW and want to arrange a meeting time, reply to this email, and we’ll get something on the calendar.


Enjoy the holiday with friends and family next week, and let me know if you decide to outsource the turkey roasting responsibility this Thanksgiving.

Written by Jud Mackrill

Edited by Amy Simpson and Kim Mackrill