Apr 23, 2019

Unfiltered: Duran + Kitces | Episode 2: Are You the Bottleneck in Your Business?

By Joe Duran

Unfiltered: Duran + Kitces | Episode 2: Are You the Bottleneck in Your Business?



Full podcast available for download on Android and Apple devices.


MICHAEL: “Welcome back, Joe Duran, for episode two of unscripted, unfiltered talking about the advisory business and industry.”

JOE DURAN: “It’s great to be here, Michael, and we had great response on the last one.  I think today’s will be a little different ‘cause, I guess, we’re not going to get to spend as much time on innovation and really focus on the advisors as a business leader within their practice.”

MICHAEL: “Yeah, I love that you’ve, from some of what you’ve written, you’ve framed up these different role, these different hats we wear as we wear as advisors.  There’s advisors, the wealth manager, like, I got all these clients.  That’s how most of start.  Get some clients.  Get too many clients.  Hire some other people to help with the clients.  Low-and-behold, I’ve got a business.  Then we have to start innovating on that business to figure out how we keep marching it forward and then the larger it gets, the more our role starts to shift into, as you put it, just as business leaders.  I’m right about it, sometimes in seeing we go from this shift where you’re an advisor in your business to you’re the owner of your advisory business.  And as the owner of your advisory business it actually has little to do with what you personally do for clients and almost everything to do with how you actually lead your business as a business.”

JOE DURAN: “Yeah.  It’s really instead of a practitioner, advisor, CEO.  It’s a different thing.  And, obviously, having built two businesses, I’ve gone through the voyage and it’s quite a different skill set, and a lot of what we’ll talk about today over the next 25 to 30 minutes.” 


Chapter 1: Recognizing when your practice needs leadership


MICHAEL: 
“Part of what strikes me about it, as well, the ultimate manifestation of this is just that most advisory firms get stuck at some point because of these, I think, demands that get placed on us as business leaders.  And that sometimes we hit our own walls as advisors and it crops up in different places for different firms.  I  see some firms that just power forward successfully up to $25, $30, $50,000,000.  And then suddenly they hit a wall and they just can’t figure out how to grow further.  And some firms get over that wall, which is usually about hiring some staff and building a little more infrastructure around you.  But then, they get stuck at $200,000,000 because now, all-of-a-sudden, they’ve got five to seven people and there’s a lot of people to manage, and they don’t hire more managers to help them manage.  And suddenly they don’t have time to serve clients and grow anymore because they get stuck at the number of people they manage.  And I found there’s a bunch of these stepping stones.  There’s one that hits at 50,000,000 and there’s one that hits around 200,000,000, and there’s usually another that hits around a billion.  There’s another one that hits around two or three.”

JOE DURAN: “Yeah.  I have to tell you I couldn’t agree more, Michael.  So they are, whether you call them invisible barriers or stepping stones, I think you’re absolutely right.  I’ve done this twice and the first one is somewhere on that 40 to 60,000,000.  Then the next one, again, hits around 200 to 250.  If you get through there, a lot of firms will get stuck at that 450 to 600,000,000.  That’s at a level where very few firms break through.  If you do, you’ll probably make it to about 1.2 billion or so and that 1.2 billion is really the point at which you become forced to be almost a full-time CEO.  And if not, you need one.  And then, I can tell you very few firms get to experience this, but if you break that 1.2 billion, you’re almost certainly going to make it to around 4 to 5,000,000,000.  And if you do that, when you get to that 4 to 5,000,000,000 you’ll make to 10 to 12,000,000,000.  And then, I know ‘cause I’m in the middle of it now, the next barriers around that mid 20’s billion, which is where we are right night.  Where you see creative planning, where you see edelman.  We’ve all been at this $20 to $30,000,000,000 level, which is unimaginable, I know for a lot of folks.  Unimaginable for myself honestly, but we’re all working now on revising our business models even more.  How do you leverage yourself even more to get to the 50,000,000,000?  Which, again, I assume that’s the next barrier, but through every barrier what you have to do is re-imagine your role as the leader and that role of your staff as a leader.  And I think that’s a very interesting question because what I see is a lot of advisors spend a lot of time working in their practice.  You talk about this a lot, Michael.  They spend too little time working on their practice.  How am I going to evolve it? They spend almost no time working on themselves and they are usually the major constraint toward future growth.”

MICHAEL: “It’s certainly a phenomenon I’ve experienced through growth cycles for a lot of businesses that I’ve been involved with over the years.  Just that painfully hard work on ourselves and that recognition that I feel like I continuously struggle with is someone that likes to be the visionary of a business and seeing where it’s going.  And then wanting to be very involved in what’s getting created ‘cause I’ve got this vision in my head and I’m trying to get it out.  And out to the team that’s working with us to build it and helps the people that we’re trying to serve.  And it, as I put it, it’s this recognition that I just continuously find.  I am always, always the bottle neck in the business, in pretty much whatever business I’m involved with.  And figuring out, learning how to either let go of more stuff or learn to better communicate the vision of what I’m hoping gets created so that the team can run with it more and I don’t feel like I need to be as involved with it myself and then become the bottleneck again.  That phenomenon of always being the bottleneck in business has been, for me, a very painful one and a frustrating one.  Because the more that the business grows, like, I keep turning out to be the bottleneck.  It’s just for a different thing.  First it was there’s only so much capacity to work with clients or to support our advisors.  Then it was there’s only so much capacity around the people that could be managed and there’s only so much capacity around the major projects and initiatives I could be involved with.  The thing changes, but the advisor at the top or the business leader at the top continuously being their own bottleneck in their business was, at least for me, something that surprised me and caught me off guard.  And the fact that no matter what I do to try to fix that, it’s just back to the same problem in a few more years of growth.” 


Chapter 2: Framing the leader's dilemma: What am I really getting paid for?


JOE DURAN: “Interestingly enough, and the way I deal with this, again, rather than talk conceptually about problems, I think it’s helpful when we talk about how we actually solve this.  The dilemma fundamentally is that most advisors never ask themselves the question, what am I really getting paid for?  And the answer to that question is different based on where your business is in its evolution.  And if you just, rather than the long laundry list of things that we say we’re responsible for, if there’s mission critical thing that I wake up every day to do as the founder or leader of this business, what would be the one thing that would need to be true for me to have earned my pay?  And I believe very much in coaching them.  On my last coach here, over the last 12 years, we’ve been at it for six months.  And he has worked in the past with a lot of tech and the folks up in the bay area.  And he sat down with me and he said, “Joe, I want you to think about Steve Jobs at Apple 1 when he started it and created, and then left and came back.”  ‘Cause Apple was really good when he started and he built it.  And his mission at that time was to build the most successful company he could build.  When he came back, it was no longer his business.  Yes, he had started it, but when he came back, he had a different lens.  And that lens was my responsibility is to get these people working here to do the best work that they can.  Now that’s a very different lens, because in the first lens, you’re the center of the universe and you are the burning fire that builds the company.  In that second phase, when he came back and Apple went from a really good company to a truly world changing company, he got a lot more leverage.  Because he realized his job wasn’t to do it himself, but to encourage and empower people to do it for him or for the company.  And so the mindset is so fundamentally different and it really made me think about how I’ve evolved as leader.  And most advisors, they really do get trapped by the fact that they’ve been reasonably successful and they get to a certain point doing a certain set of things, and in order to grow to the next level, they’re gonna have to evolve.  And what you’ll see, and you’ve seen this, I’m sure, and repeatedly, most advisors really stop growing after about 25 years.  They get to wherever they’re going to get to 20 – 25 years and they flat-line wherever that happens to be.  And, again, to me there’s a clear reason for that which is that most advisors are very comfortable getting their own clients, then getting the next set of clients.  The friends of the friends, what I call two degrees of separation, and that’s pretty much where they stop.  They don’t actually have an organic strategy beyond their first set of clients and the friends of those clients.  So they’re two, maybe three degrees of separation.  In order to get to that next level, the firms that break through $1,000,000,000, the advisor has now expanded the universe beyond their own specific set of clients and the friends of their clients or him and or her and her partner.  It’s not just one or two people doing it.  They’ve now got underlying wealth advisors with allegiance strategy that goes beyond them.  And that’s what it takes to get beyond $1,000,000,000, but the role of the leader, of the CEO is different in that capacity.”


Chapter 3: Graduating from a lifestyle practice to a growing business


MICHAEL: “Sorry, I love this framing of just pushing back to yourself as this continuous question of what am I really getting paid for.  What thing do I really do that adds value in my business given where it’s currently at and recognizing that thing actually changes over time.  I think it would be interesting maybe just to walk through it.  ‘Cause I know we have a wide range of people listening, some of whom are in smaller firms, some of who are in larger firms.  Some are in between.  Maybe even to just walk through, we talked about a couple of these barriers.  There’s one around 50,000,000.  There’s another one around 200.  There’s another one around 500.  There’s another around 1.2.  How would you frame the advisor/owner/leader’s role in each of these?  What are the walls that people are hitting, that firms are hitting at 50 and 200, and 500 and 1.2 that necessitates the evolution changes where the advisor as business leader has to do something different?”

JOE DURAN: “Yeah.  So, the way to think about is really just where is this business?  And so, let’s just start with a very first kind of business.  And the first kind of business is really a lifestyle business. You are an advisor.  It’s you and maybe an assistant.  Maybe you’ve got a junior financial planner or a number two.  That business is really just like a corner office barber shop and it’s just you in the seat.  Most advisors, that’s how we all began and you’ll get to 50,000,000 if your clients are not that wealthy, 500,000 to 1,000,000.  You might get to 150,000,000 if you’ve got multimillion dollar clients.  Yes, typically, you’re going to have a couple of hundred clients.  Maybe it stops at 300.  And a good way to think about this is how many clients am I serving?  And most firms stop at around 300 clients.  Now, again, you and I work with the leaders of advisors, so they’re at hundreds of clients, but  many firms really do plateau at around 300 clients, and your revenue and size is linked to that.  With 300 clients, you only need one or two advisors and some support staff.  That’s where most get stuck and your job in that capacity is really to make sure you find those 300 people to make it be as profitable as it can be.  And most advisors really don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their business.  They’re really in the business of being a practitioner.”

MICHAEL: “I find that even more so.  We tend to talk about AUM thresholds or revenue thresholds, but I find, as you noted the end, it’s really, particularly in this stage, it’s a client capacity threshold.  There’s only so many people you can see, meetings you can have.  Just literally the number of people your brain can keep straight.  And I find that down at the individual level, most advisors seem to top out at somewhere around 80 to 100 active client relationships.  So if it’s you and one or two others, maybe you can get  up to 300 clients ‘cause usually not all 300 are active anyways.  So there’s two to 200 active…

JOE DURAN: “Exactly.”

MICHAEL: “Yep.  And you get two or three advisors, and there you go, you top out in the two to 300 range.”

JOE DURAN: “Exactly. Yeah. You started with some really small clients and then you got bigger clients.  But you got 80 to 100 really active clients per advisor.  That’s correct.  So that’s the two things, right?  There’s the one advisor with 80 to 100.  You bring in a couple of people.  You bring in an assistant.  You maybe partner with someone else.  That’s the next level where you’ve now gone from a one man show to an ensemblish practice where you now have 300 clients.  Maybe you’ve got four or five people in the firm.  Again, same thing, all that you’ve done from the first phase where it’s just you to, maybe, it’s now a team is that you’re now have some responsibilities to oversee people and growth becomes more important.  This is a really important element here.  The bigger you get, the more important organic growth becomes or growth of any kind becomes.  Because in order to retain people, they have to be able to grow their income, in order for them to grow their income, they have to be given more responsibilities.  In order to have more responsibility, you have to have a growing enterprise.  So there is a the bigger you become, the more time you have to spend thinking about how you’re going to be growing this business.  Because if not, there is nothing more deadly than plateauing with a big shop, and you write about this a lot, the dead zone between 400,000,000 and 1.5 billion, where you’re kind of flat-lining and it’s harder to keep stuff in place.  And you end up really having to pay them more, but the people not necessarily doing more work or taking on more responsibility or even generating more revenues.  And so in that first phase, what you typically see is that you have a couple of lead advisors those first two stages, which can lead you all the way to 100,000,000 or so.  Where you have a couple of advisors who really make all the decisions, who are not only meeting with clients, but they’re in charge of sales, they’re in charge of technology innovation.  They’re in charge of pretty much everything.  Everybody covers everyone’s tails.  The CEO, the advisor might also be the Chief Compliance Officer.  The partner might also be in charge of staffing and it’s one good way to know whether you’ve left the lifestyle stage business.  And that’s by knowing you’re only wearing one hat or two hats.  What you’ll see in these firms that have not evolved beyond lifestyle is that everybody’s wearing several hats.  Your receptionist is also your Admin manager or your Relationship manager also does the trading and the investment research.  And  so, when people wear lots of hats, they also become very expensive because they know you can’t live without them.  So, what you’ll see is most practices, I’d say 80 percent of the industry never leaves that stage.  And they’re really at that lifestyle business where the advisors primary job is just to keep it together, have a nice life.  They really typically milk all the cash flow out because it’s a lifestyle business, and they would rather not invest to get to that next phase.  Here’s the other really important insight.  If you’re going to break through to the next level, unfortunately, at every stage that I’ve ever encountered, it means right when you get to your most profitable you have take your cash and pump it into people ‘cause our industry’s driven by people, or technology to get you to that next phase.  And that can be really uncomfortable because you’re now changing.  And every time you’re doing that you’re changing your own role and your own measurement of success for what it means for you to be a good leader at this new role.”


Chapter 4: Investing in people and tech to grow to the next level


MICHAEL: “You had a really powerful point there that, I think, often gets overlooked in a lot of otherwise very successful lifestyle practices which is dynamic of growth.  And that one of the often under discussed tensions of what happens with very successful individual advisors is you get to a certain point, certain amount of clients, assets, and revenue.  The income gets really good and sometimes really, really good.  And you say, look, I’m good.  I’m happy with where it is.  I’m going to maybe dial my time back a little bit ‘cause I’m gonna hand off some stuff to other employees.  I’m good with the income that I’m making.  I feel no need to grow bigger.  I’m already getting more money out of this thing than I ever thought I was going to.  And they kind of miss that if you don’t keep growing at that point it’s not actually for and about you anymore.  The growth is about your people and that if a business isn’t growing, your people don’t stay.  And your turnover starts to pick up and you can’t figure out why you can’t keep good people.  And then it becomes, well, the only way you can actually keep good people is you got to pay them out size salaries or comp because there’s, otherwise, no upside for them.  So that’s the only way they can get it and then even when they’re already paid incredibly well, they still keep coming back to you every year or two and say they want a little more.  And since the pie isn’t growing ‘cause your business isn’t growing, every more that you give them is straight out of your pocket.  And then all these tensions are coming.  I pay my staff incredibly well and they want is more and I’m not happy, and I’m having turnover problems.  And I hear that from a lot of really successful solo practices or, I guess, not quite solo, but these lifestyle stage practices.  Because I think they miss that there comes a point when your team grows, where the growth isn’t actually about you anymore and making more money for you or having the bigger business for you.  Your growth is the upside opportunity for all your people and if you’re not growing, your people have no upside.  And if your people have no upside, they either want more of the pie right out of your pocket or they leave and you have turnover problems.” 


Chapter 5: Empower your team by learning to let go


JOE DURAN: “Look, you’ve hit the nail right on the head as far as the challenge for most advisors.  The reality is that many of them are quite happy having a lifestyle business.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  The challenge is if you wanted to last, you’ve got to have people in place.  And we see it just like you do all the time, where you have people who are reasonably good making incredibly outside salaries.  Because you can’t afford to lose them because they’re wearing too many hats, they’re too indispensable, and they knowingly frustrated, bored of doing the same thing every day.  They’re not getting the rewards that the lead advisor is getting and they’re saying what’s next.  And the only lever they can move is I want more money.  Here’s the thing that happens next though.  Your job, if you decide I want to get to that next level, recruiting, hiring people, creating a culture, changing your job, empowering people.  All of those things are a different skill set and I would suggest to you that most advisors have such trouble letting go and empowering people.  And I will show you, we have 700 employees now and I still find myself having to find ways to let go even more.  And every time we hit a bottleneck, every time we get to a plateau of growth, I am the reason.  And one insight I’d give to the folks listening is start with yourself.  Don’t start by saying this person doesn’t carry the weight.  This person’s not doing enough.  We’re not growing because you’re not doing what you need to do and our websites not got enough, those things are all endemic of something much more important.  Which is you have not created the environment to allow for those good things that you would like to have happen to happen.  And so, one of the things that I encourage and share with a lot of entrepreneurs is, look, you have to start with you.   Because everything that’s there is because you woke up and made it that way.  So whatever frustrations you have, it is much easier to point the finger and blame the people around you, but you put them there.  If they’re not doing good work, you’re the one giving them guidance of what work to do.  If they’re not good at doing it, you haven’t given them the training they need.  And so, I wake up every day and start by saying, what can I do for myself to be a better leader than I’ve been yesterday.  Again, Lord knows I’m not perfect at it, but I do know that in order to attract better people, they need more power.  They need more ability to make decisions and the challenge, and I struggle with this a lot, is the difference between delegating and abdicating.  You can’t let go completely.  You have to establish the what, this is what needs to be done.  This is the way I’d like it to work.  But you have to give people the latitude to actually do the how a little differently than you might envision.  And I can tell you that at the size we get to, my head of technology knows more about technology than I will ever know.  My chief marketing officer knows more about marketing than I’ll ever know.  My chief investment officer knows more about investing than I’ll ever know.  When I know I have succeeded with a person reporting to me is when they are more capable and more knowledgeable than I am at the jobs that I’m doing.  And then my job then is fundamentally different, I can’t tell these people how to do they’re job.  I have to share with them how it all connects.  So it’s a different role as you get bigger to become much more of a facilitator and coordinator of information.  You want to be insuring that you have people with the skill set to do what you would like in ways that you might not even imagine and the comfort level to let go of your insecurity and let them do it differently than you might.  And that is really, really hard especially for advisors who have a financial planning background and want everything exactly the way they want it to be.  Because you might be able to get to the same end state with a lot less friction in a slightly different way than you imagined and be just as successful maybe even more successful.  But especially because at the very first phase the only way you got there is because you did the work, it’s very hard then let that go.  And most importantly in your gut you know the truth, which is no one’s going to care as much as you do.  That’s true.  So you have this very weird conflict internally within the organization where no one cares as much as you do because you’re the one with the most at stake.  And at the same time, you’re entrusting these people that you’ve hired and partnered with to make the decisions on your behalf and the behalf of all the other share holders.  That has to start with you saying how do I not have control issues?  How do I get comfortable with not being right all the time?  And I’d share just one more insight before I shut up for a minute.  It is very difficult to get to one very important question.  Is it more important to you that you are right or that the right thing gets done?  And somebody shown that to me, one of my feedback loops in my prior coach.  One of my partners, one of my managers had put in their feedback, Joe, it’s always more important for you to be right than to have the right answer.  It really struck a chord with me.  It was a brilliant insight ‘cause it’s, unfortunately, it was true that I would often fight just to prove my point that I’m smarter and know more.  Even when that wasn’t the case, so, a lot of the personal work is realizing, hey, I might be the problem here.  In fact, I probably am the problem and if we’re going to move on, I got to find a different way to work.”

MICHAEL: “I loved the you made that when you get your team to the point that the people around you are better at the task than you, they literally have such deep domain expertise in what they’re doing that they just factually know more than you, then that role really does begin to shift.  You can’t show them how to do their job better because they actually know more about it than you.  Now suddenly your role is how do I take all these people who have all this incredible expertise in their domains and coordinate them towards the common goals, the common objectives of the business?  Which is just a fundamentally different role, certainly, than what it means to be an advisor and even what it means just as you’re building the team and the business in the early years.” 


Chapter 6: How to create a winning environment for your team


JOE DURAN: “Yeah.  How do you make sure you create an environment where people do the best work they’re capable of?  That is a different thing.  It means being kinder.  It means coaching more.  It means having more understanding.  It means spending a lot more time on the soft stuff, like, how’s life going?  What can I do to make your job easier?  What stumbling blocks do you have?  What are the things that are causing the team we’ve got to not be as good as they can?  Because you really at a certain point only have three jobs.  One is communicating and that should be around 40 percent of the job.  Communicating with clients, communicating with your partners, communicating with your team to make sure we’re all on the same page about what we want to accomplish.  The second big job is envisioning and envisioning for me means where are we going and why are we going there?  And how are we going to do it?  And how’s everyone going to participate?  Because at the end of the day, everyone’s in it for themselves, everyone wants to get paid, and everyone wants to know what’s in it for them.  And so, thinking about where are going, how’s everyone going to be treated as we get there?  How do we get there?  What are the pieces we need to get there?  How do we get the resources?  Envisioning that future and thinking about that, and how do we get there is really important.  And how do we evolve to get there?  Those are really the two big jobs.  The third one is really for you to spend time thinking.  And this is something that, again, we all take pride in how busy we are, but if we don’t create spaces of time, because as you get bigger you need to spend more time thinking.  If you think about your time, you have 1920 hours a year if work 40 hours a week, 48 weeks a year, your time, if you have a business that’s generating $10,000,000 a year, your time should be worth something like $2,500 to $5,000 an hour.  That’s a lot of valuable time and what’s interesting is that your time won’t be every hour that it’s worth that much.  What’s going to happen is you’re going to have $100,000 idea and then you’re going to have to spend $50,000 an hour of thought making it real.  Then you’re going to have to spend $10,000 an hour of value getting people aligned.  And so, what I find is that I encourage a lot of entrepreneurs, take time to think.  Take time to create within each week space for you to contemplate where things need to go and what’s working.  And start before everything else, on yourself.  How do I need to evolve?  How does my role need to change and how would I grade my pay a year from now, what would need to be true for me to earn my pay?  And, again, we do it with all of our staff, right?  We set bonuses.  We set goals.  We set initiatives or KPIs or whatever we call it.  This is where we want to be a year from now.  This is how you’re gonna get paid if you do X, Y, and Z.  We don’t just do it for ourselves.  So, I know we have to wrap here.  We’ve got a lot more to cover on the subject and we’ll do it when we revisit advisors leader again.  But this idea of, hey, how do I get paid and what do I need to do to earn my pay, if the advisors who are listening to this take one thing away from this, to just ask that question.  Because I think what you’ll find  is that you might not be doing the things that you would pay yourself  to do if you were just a shareholder in the company.  And that’s the thing I’d like to just wrap with, on my own perspective is we’re the head of shareholder occasionally.  Not as a cash flow taking investor, but as a shareholder in the company.  ’Cause if you were the chairman of the firm what would you be telling the CEO of the firm to be spending their time on?  How would you gage their pay?  How would you ask if they’ve earned it?  Now I’ve got the good fortune, I’ve always had boards of directors that are very, very smart, really, really bright, and incredibly challenging, who posed that question to me.  Who have to help me determine whether I’m worth what I want to get paid.  And at it forces a completely different mindset for you as a leader, about what you need to work on now because it’s going to be different year after year.”

Chapter 7: The success paradox


MICHAEL: “Yeah. The thing that hit this point home for me that I’d also highly recommend for anyone listening, is a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown.  And Greg makes, I think, this fascinating point in the book.  It’s a phenomenon that he calls the success paradox, and it’s that we do these things in our businesses that make us and the business successful.  As you said at the beginning, for the typical advisory firm, it just you have a vision about how you want clients to be served.  You go and do that thing.  You execute well.  You deliver great services to them and it attracts some more clients to your firm.  You get a few more people help you delivering this great thing and it drives your success and can drive an incredible amount of income and growth.  And then, suddenly, you’ve done that so well for so long that you hit the wall.  You hit the capacity.  You’re out of time.  You can’t do more of these great things for clients because now the problem in the business is actually, as you said, it’s hiring and recruiting and building culture, and developing people and all these things you need to multiply it.  And you get this phenomenon where the things that makes you successful, when you do it long enough, eventually becomes the wall that prevents further success in your firm.”

JOE DURAN: “Yeah.  And I would recommend another book that’s actually perfect to follow on from Essentialism, which is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldstein?  I can’t remember his last name.  I know it starts with gold.  It’s same idea, right, except taking it further in a saying.  So what do you need to change?  And, again, I think it’s really interesting to say if I’m going to evolve, if I’m going to grow, then I have to change.  And in order to change I’ve got to ask what is not working?  But what I’m doing, and the thing that I say to everyone is you have to know your weaknesses because, while I believe very much that you invest in your strengths, you have to cover up your weaknesses.  You have to bring in people to compliment your weaknesses.  If you’re not aware of what they are, then you’re going to have a problem.  Because, at least for us, I know my weakness is an attention to detail, the small details.  And so, I’m surrounded by people who are incredibly attentive to details.  That’s really helpful.  It creates an environment where I can keep doing what I’m really good at and then the company continues to thrive because there’re people different than me with different skills than I have working around me that are better than me at what they do.  Our own advisors are such better advisors than I could ever be.  They have knowledge I could never have and they do their jobs and run practices better than I ever could.  But I provide infrastructure and support, and decisions that they could never make as well.  So, that symbiotic thing requires that you’re surrounded by people that have complementary skills as well as a complimentary aptitudes.  So, again, I think really interesting.  I think we went through this really quickly.  I hope people find it fascinating that we’re gonna obviously get an opportunity to talk about this in a few more podcast, so.”

MICHAEL: “Absolutely.  Well, thank you for joining us, Joe.  And for everyone listening, I hope it’s food for thought around have you become the bottleneck in your business?  Do you have to do something different if you want to grow to the next level?  And even just, I think, candidly looking at decision, do you want to grow to the next level?  ‘Cause the amazing thing about this business you can make some incredible income by hanging out as an incredibly successful lifestyle practice.  But if that’s where you want to be, understand that that’s where you want to be and some of the ramifications that go with that, like, your ability to attract and retain talented people, if you’re not creating the growth upside for them.  So, be mindful of what you’re trying to create.”

JOE DURAN: “Yeah.  I think we’re both saying the same thing.  Don’t go to the next level unless you really, really want to.  And, in order to do that, you’re going to need to change the job you’re doing.  You have to be okay with that.  The opportunities are all there, but you have to do it knowingly and intentionally.  So, thank you, Michael, really enjoyed it.  Have a great day.”

MICHAEL: “Absolutely.  Thank you, Joe.”