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CMI Blog

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The Art of Unteaching - Tim Sanders

By cmiadmin | Jun 30, 2016 | Comments Off

The Art of Unteaching - Tim Sanders

The Hammond couple was firm: “We want to follow the bond-heavy asset allocation ‘All Weather’ plan that Tony Robbins recommended in his book, Money: Master the Game.” They’d both attended his seminars and felt a strong connection to his perspectives. For their financial advisor, this flew in the face of current research and his existing wealth management strategy for them.

Their next-door neighbors were leaning a different way: Lots of gold and a little mix of moonshot stocks. Where did they get this allocation advice? From a random blogger they discovered on Facebook.

For many of you, non-traditional financial advice can create a lot of confusion on the part of your clients, or worse, steer them away from your research-based recommendations. Popular personalities such as Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman and Tony Robbins have published New York Times bestsellers that have sold in the millions — all offering advice that may be perfect for some yet not-so-perfect for others, depending on the client and the circumstances.

With the rise of the Internet and social media, anyone can be published today via digital technology. Thousands of financial advice, stock-picking and investment strategy blogs offer strategies that are only backed up by their hyperlinks, which often point to anecdotal stories or outdated findings.

Ubiquitous content and a growing ability to search-sleuth online or canvass social networks has created a Research-It-Yourself (RIY) economy. In a startling white paper titled The Future Of Advice, investment researchers confirm that “whether buying a car, a new home or financial products and services, consumers are making informed choices largely based on information and research they find on the web, or referrals they receive from family and friends.”

...too much information can lead to buyer overwhelm, which ends up in a ‘no-decision’ result.

For almost all self-served investors, there’s a lot of hazard in relying on this advice. In many cases, it leads to bad decisions. Worst of all, according the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), too much information can lead to buyer overwhelm, which ends up a ‘no-decision’ result. In your industry, that translates to no implementation of a wealth management strategy.

For financial advisors, one of your greatest challenges is to steer clients towards sound financial planning and away from an undisciplined approach to making decisions. It’s not easy, though. Your clients might have a false sense of confidence in their research method or, worse, in the outlets they are getting their information from. Like all unteaching or reconditioning, finesse is required. Here are four steps you can take to recover control of the client conversation, moving them to sound decisions about their future:

• Study the competition

You cannot challenge what you do not clearly understand. If a certain book or article seems to be driving your client decisions, take the time to read them or at least become familiar with their main points. If a blog is doling out bad allocation advice or railing against working with financial advisors, invest time looking at the last few months of what it has published. The more you can point to specific flaws in research, advice or market analysis, the easier it is to create doubt in the minds of your clients that leads to trusting you for key information.

• Recognize the truth in bad advice, then challenge it

Emotional intelligence is driven by one’s empathy for others and respect for their feelings. When a client feels strongly about something he read in a book or online, don’t be entirely dismissive of his efforts or the points made in what he read. For example, you can recognize that many funds have successfully used bond-heavy allocations in the past as a way of creating an ‘All Weather’ plan. Then, based on your research, show them how changing market conditions require a more seasonal approach so as to avoid being locked into a specific allocation, which can leave money on the table or increase risk. Think of this as the ‘Yes, But’ approach to unteaching, which protects the client’s fragile ego yet then steers them back to professional advice tailored just for them.

• Introduce commercial insights based on research

At this point in the conversation, give clients insights for wealth management based on your firm’s research and best practices. Provide insights into market reality, strategy, timing and investment psychology that point back to your products and, most of all, the value of profession al financial advice. Create a strong sense of urgency that decisions must be made, plans must be put into place and continuity of approach must be protected over the long haul. Your client will appreciate anything you can do to simplify their decision-making to the point of taking action now.

• Install a framework for sound wealth management

The reason your client has embarked on a Research-It-Yourself plan has to do with her notion that the answers are “out there” online or in the bookstore. To prevent misinformation from clouding their future decisions, council your clients on how they should formulate their wealth management strategies. Illustrate how vetted research, certified financial advisors and a community of professional collaboration increases their chances of outperforming the RIY consumer over time.

In their recent research in financial services, CEB refers to the Unteacher as a “Wealth Challenger,” who leads by insight and presses clients to take action. Unteachers cut through the noise, create clarity and take control of the client conversation. They press for action, not more research. According to CEB, they secure higher share of wallet and gain many more referrals than their rapport -based, go-with-the-flow financial advisors.

Brexit and the rise of the city-state by Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Jun 30, 2016 | Comments Off

1-cSC0c88iPgcHCIA_fi9OhABrexit and the rise of the city-state

by Mike Walsh

Why the fight for the future between millennials and boomers is only half the story

Britain’s fateful decision to leave the EU has been cast as a bitter split between young and old. It’s an old tune: selfish baby boomers squatting on the future, at the expense of the millennials. But what if the real conflict were not between generations but rather between the city and the countryside?

Look closely and you will see a new pattern of discontent. Angry demagogues on both sides of the pond, are being empowered not just by an ageing population, but by the rage of voters in regions blindsided by globalization. City elites, with ties to big corporations and international finance, have been consistent winners in an age of porous borders. They don’t wake up each morning with a view of an abandoned steel factory or a mothballed manufacturing plant, and so struggle to understand why anyone would vote against an EU fast track lane for their weekend trip to St Tropez, or the ability to freely shuffle professionals from one corner office to another.

Brexit is a perfect illustration of how city dwellers see the world differently.

London was the only English region to vote to stay within the EU, and nowsome think it should remain, even while the rest of the country splinters. Emboldened by city’s overwhelming support, Sadiq Khan, the new mayor, has already started campaigning for more tax-raising powers and control of public services. He won’t be the last leader of a super-city to ask for more independence. But will the 21st century drift to the city state be a force for greater productivity or just further instability?

Cities are growing rapidly today, because scale matters. Unlike companies, the bigger cities get, the more productive and creative they become. Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist, spent two years studying the underlying data of big cities. He discovered that the characteristics of cities could be reduced to equations. For example, if you knew the population of a particular area, you could accurately estimate its average income and the dimensions of its sewer system.

As cities grow, they obey certain rules. Urban, social and economic phenomena become more intensive with city size. And most importantly, as West and his colleague Luis Bettencourt have argued, cities are social reactors. The more people who live in one place, the easier it is to facilitate human interactions, the exchange of ideas and creative collaborations.

The trend to density is why cities, rather than countries, are becoming natural attachment points to the global network. It is also why innovation and investment decisions are being increasingly influenced by the interaction between cities and global companies, rather than the plodding regulation between countries and regional alliances.

Left unchecked, the trend to urban ultra-density will only widen the gap between rich and poor. That is not a story that will end well, for anyone.

Imagine a dystopian future of powerful city-states like London, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai, populated by the privileged, and protected by constant surveillance, high walls and swarms of AI drones. Freelance workers, necessary for jobs that cannot be automated by robots, will enter cities on daily or hourly visas, and be assigned tasks from their wearable devices. When they finish their assignments, they will be asked to leave. For just like Athens and Florence, the ancient city-states of old, only citizens have rights.And not everyone gets to be one.

Avoiding this bleak outcome will require smart leadership and the ability to ensure a wider distribution of the benefits of globalisation. Although dinner party guests in tech hubs like San Francisco might enjoy debating the merits of providing a universal income, access to global opportunities may prove more effective than opportunistic compensation.

Bringing rural and regional areas into the global arena will not be achieved with populist rhetoric, but rather with a more pragmatic playbook: investment in high speed transportation links, cheap connectivity and tax-free, regional business zones.

Investing in development is harder than delivering a diatribe, and given the divisive nature of the current political environment, countering the rise of city-states may prove an impossible feat. After all, a poor and angry electorate is easier to manipulate than an educated, informed and enabled one.

So, if you prefer, you might wish to simply upgrade your home security system and wait for this year’s annual purge.

If you are interested in more of my ideas, you can stalk me on the Web. I spend 300 days a year travelling: researching markets, interviewing clever people, giving talks and looking for the future in the seeds of the present. Drop me a line if you would like me to speak at your next event.

Follow me on Twitter | Watch my talks | Listen to my podcast | See More

Standing Ovation for Michelle Ray

By cmiadmin | Jun 30, 2016 | Comments Off

Standing Ovation for Michelle Ray

Michelle Ray received a standing ovation for her Lead Yourself First!  presentation at the Metz Culinary Management Summer Leadership Conference, held at the Mohegan Sun Resort, PA. Focusing on their theme, “The Power of Relationships” Michelle presented to 300 General Managers, Divisional Leaders, Franchise Owners and Executives as the closing keynote speaker. Metz Culinary Management is one of the leading U.S. food services companies, ranked in the Top 50 by Food Management Magazine.

Metz FamilyMichelle Ray (Middle) with the Metz Culinary Family

See More About Michelle Ray Here 

Your CMO Needs An Upgrade - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Jun 30, 2016 | Comments Off

Your CMO Needs An Upgrade

by Mike Walsh

Marketing might be rocket science, after all

Being a CMO will be one of the most interesting, but also one of the toughest jobs in the 21st century.

Consider the context: consumer behaviour is changing faster than the planning cycle of marketing campaigns, marketing technology is becoming the most complex part of the enterprise stack while the rise of agile, ruthless competitors from new markets means that brands have to achieve global scale to avoid imitation and replication.

Things were once far simpler.

The average household watched television at dinner time, read the newspaper at breakfast, listened to the radio on the way to work, and enjoyed magazines in between.

Today, consumers have multiple devices, intelligent objects and networked screens surrounding them. They are exposed to as many as 10,000 ads per day. Most have cell phones, many of them smart devices, and over three billion people are on the Internet.

Technology is changing marketing, but that doesn’t mean that the CMO of the future should act like a CIO. High performance CMOs don’t need need to manage and provision IT systems, but rather what it takes to push technology to its limits in the service of transforming customer experience.

The platform doesn’t matter. How people use it, does.

That should come as no surprise. Of all the roles in the business, marketers have always been closest to the customer and the market. What has changed in the 21st century is not the focus of the marketing team, but the source of their insights. In the past, focus groups, market research studies and advertising agencies were reliable channels of consumer information. No longer.

Marketers must be data natives. Like high frequency traders, they have to design platforms and deploy resources so that they are always in the middle of real-time data streams, constantly testing and adjusting their market interventions.

Data is the lingua franca of the modern enterprise. Finance, HR, IT, customer care, marketing and operations are all moving into the Cloud, becoming more integrated and automated. As that happens, data will change from being something used to describe past events — to a currency of real time value that can be used to not only predict what might happen next, but actually shape the design and delivery of your product.

Why measure brand awareness, when you target a specific individual? In the data driven enterprise, it is possible to track the lifecycle of a customer — as they undertake their journey from an initial brand discovery, through to trial, purchase, evangelism and upgrade. With that information at your disposal, there is nothing you cannot achieve. You can literally design an entire company to serve a single person.

The next generation of companies will do just that. We are moving into the era of hyper-personal business. Already, no one sees the same retail home page at Netflix or Amazon, nor the same newsfeed on Twitter or Facebook. These are companies built to scale for millions of customers, but fashioned to serve just one at a time.

Embracing data has real rewards. According to McKinsey & Company, companies that are more data-driven are 5 percent more productive and 6 percent more profitable than other companies. If anything, that understates the case. Can you really say that Netflix is simply 5 percent more productive than a TV network, or Amazon slightly more effective than another retailer? In truth, they are entirely new kinds of businesses.

Change is not easy. Marketers have been schooled to think in channels, not customer behaviours, to measure their success through abstractions not algorithms, to create strategy not run experiments, and to applaud advertising that wins awards not customers.

Embracing a new marketing playbook will be confronting both for you as a leader, as well as for the rest of your team. But doing nothing is no longer an option. Your customers will force you to change long before your shareholders do.

See More From Mike Walsh Here 

Successful Fundraising Event for Robyn Benincasa's Project Athena

By cmiadmin | Jun 23, 2016 | Comments Off

Successful Fundraising Event for Robyn Benincasa's Project Athena 

Wow! What a fun surprise from Firebirds Restaurant! Yet another Athena will be born due to their generous support of the Project Athena Foundation. You rock, Team Firebirds!

Xoxo Robyn

Deremer Studios Jacksonville Commercial Photography - www.deremerstudios.com

See More About Project Athena Here 


By cmiadmin | Jun 20, 2016 | Comments Off


With Tim Sanders by Terry Weaver

On this episode of “Making Elephants Fly,” Terry sits down with Internet Pioneer, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, Leader, and one of the best guys on the planet…Tim Sanders. Tim was an early stage member of Mark Cuban’s broadcast.com and later joined Yahoo where he rose to the position of Chief Solutions Officer and named its Leadership Coach. Tim’s past books include the New York Times best seller “Love Is The Killer App: How to Win Business & Influence Friends,” “The Likeability Factor,” and “Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence.” Tim’s latest book “Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges” unpacks the idea of how collaboration is secret to selling anything. Join Terry as he talks with Tim about the power of collaboration in building a life worth living and creating opportunities that you could have never created alone.