Thousands of Lives

Published: May 13, 2013

Although they impact thousands of lives, you're unlikely to meet them face to face. Most of their waking hours are spent developing others who become your most trusted partners. Like your physician, minister, and attorney, your financial adviser is selected with care. The relationship is anchored in trust, accountability, talent, and character. Recently, thirty-six of the nation's top financial advisers gathered in Milwaukee to strengthen their teams. Each leader represented a team of about twenty specialists whose group owns stewardship over the financial stability of thousands of lives.

With the security of this many families at stake, the price of admission to the two-day team effectiveness assessment and training workshop was courage. Along with a quick look at their strengths, team leaders were required to make a close inspection of their vulnerabilities. For some, a culture of collaboration was being undermined by the failure to appreciate the value of different perspectives. For others, the challenge of innovation was being neutralized by the wish to stay comfortable with common ground and the status quo. For still others, recent personnel changes had stymied their ability to refocus on their new circumstances with poise and resilience.

Vulnerability creates opportunity. Insight empowers action. By the end of the workshop, leaders had digested their assessment results and shared each other’s experience and expertise to forge action plans targeting measurable change in performance. Their interventions will happen quietly behind the scenes. The results will unfold in your living room. When your financial adviser sits down to discuss your family’s long term goals, he or she will be coming from a leader who has made a deliberate investment in supporting the mission, values, and development of his or her team.

One workshop. Two days. Thirty-six leaders. Five-hundred-plus financial services professionals. Thousands of lives.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.