Turning adversity into a new strategy

September 27, 2011 Categories: The Science of Advising
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Lacrosse player

At the start of the 2011 season, University of Virginia coach Dom Starsia was already the most successful coach in lacrosse history, and his Cavaliers had perennially been a top contender for the NCAA Division 1 Championship.  However, this season was different.  Their record was 8-5 and they were not in the top ten.  Coach Starsia was dealing with several off the field disciplinary problems and his two best midfielders (through whom most of the offense was generated) were indefinitely suspended for violations of team rules.

Against all odds

The lacrosse world was convinced they were finished.  No one would fault Starsia if the team had a mediocre season.  Instead, he found a way to adapt and take advantage of a bad situation.  He changed both the offensive and defensive strategy, focusing on a more balanced offense and a zone defense.  The team responded with a run in which they won 5 straight games including a 9-7 win in the title game.

Take a look at your playing field

With the current U.S. market in such turmoil1, no one would fault you for having an average or stagnant year.  Many advisors we talk to say they are happy if they can just keep clients calm and business steady.  However, the best advisors find ways to use the difficult market to distinguish themselves in the eyes of their clients.  They focus on segmenting their client base, strengthening their service model and creating more comprehensive and long-term client reviews.  As a result, clients can understand and value the services you provide.  Volatile markets remind them that they need you.

A new strategy

Of course, the million dollar question is how.  Using segmentation analysis can help you identify who is generating your revenue and where your service efforts should be focused.  A service matrix can streamline the process of addressing your clients’ wide-ranging needs.  Goals-based and forward-looking client review ideas can help lessen the focus on short-term market cycles.

Making a change to your business is never easy. Market volatility doesn’t make it any easier. However, the changes Coach Starsia had the courage to implement brought them another championship.  The changes you make to your practice could help bring it to the next level, too.

1 http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/10/markets/volatility/index.htm

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