Creating a Culture of Intimacy
by Tony DiLeonardi
How can we create, or in many cases recreate, an
intentional culture of intimacy to enhance productivity? The
simplest way to do that is to do something different. Doing things
different than before often leads to new perspectives, which
usually lead to new opportunities. New opportunities inspire
thinking, action, and lead to new production levels.
Early in my career, I was attending the top
producer's conference for a large regional broker. I was one of 40
fund company representatives presenting to 250 or so top financial
advisers-who at that time, were the best of the best. For three
days we all sat together and listened as 40 asset managers
presented their story and sold their products from the main stage.
I can honestly say that out of 40 presentations, 35 were terrible.
The two main factors that made me come to that conclusion
1. Presentation Skills: They lacked the ability to capture and
engage the audience.
2. Content: The vast majority of presenters focused
solely on the performance of their product.
I left that conference with two declarations:
1. I can present better.
2. I wouldn't sell based on the performance of a
The first declaration was easy enough to fulfill with
study and practice. The second took some serious thought. You see,
the old model of presenting was based on a promise, and to be
frank, was out of my control. How could I ensure a top-performing
fund today, last month, or last year would continue that same way?
By selling on performance, I'm giving my advisers the right to fire
me if everything doesn't play out as I say. Talk about
I knew I had to figure out a different method to sell
in the industry that went beyond the traditional sales model.
Having only been on the job for six weeks at that point, I came up
with a plan and made my third declaration:
3. I'm going to help financial advisers be better practitioners,
grow their business, and manage their life.
No small feat, but I was ready. I took on a
completely different mindset in my approach to doing business. My
focus became less about the product and more about the producer and
the culture of the industry itself.
What's exciting about this strategy is that many
successful companies are doing it today with extraordinary results.
Take a look at Google: They have created not only a unique culture,
but also a movement. At the core of their business model is that
happy employees are productive employees. Google takes care of its
people. They have built a campus where any need you could ever
have-in work and in life-is addressed. From meals, to healthcare,
to dry cleaning-all your bases are covered at Google. Source: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/googles-culture-of-success/.
Another company that has created an amazing culture
for its employees and its clients is Zappos. Their business
practices are so transparent, they have their 10 core family values
listed right there on their website. Source:
Deliver WOW Through Service
Embrace and Drive Change
Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
Adventurous, Creative, and Open Minded
Pursue Growth and Learning
Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
a Positive Team and Family Spirit
More with Less
Passionate and Determined
What are your core values for your business? I
encourage you to think this through and come up with what really
drives you to do what you do for yourself, your employees, and your