By Neil Jensen

We make most of the advancements to our business platform during the slower summer and early fall months. To that end, we have off-site sessions each spring in which we look at our business and prioritize the projects we want to work on.

We like to organize these sessions around a theme. This year we used the Harvard Business Review eBook, "Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?" by Michael Schrage.

The book makes a number of powerful points:

  • Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their business
  • We should be investing in our clients' human capital, not just our own
  • We should have a vision for what we want our clients to become (i.e. what attributes they have)

The book resonated with me because our focus is already on making our clients better investors. We invest a significant effort in educating our clients and reinforcing good, long-term behaviour.

Needless to say, we had some healthy debate on:

  • Customer vision: If our customers were a product or service, what would their top 2-3 attributes be? What kinds of clients are we trying to create?
  • Alignment with client experience: How does the client experience align with our customer vision? What requirements are we imposing on our clients?

We then ran through a separate process of idea generation and filtering to determine which initiatives we will work on.

While I'm not going to give away any surprises on our efforts this summer, I thought it would be interesting to share the main traits we want to encourage in our clients:

  • Engaged, disciplined
  • Knowledgeable, savvy
  • Long-term in thinking
  • Tribal, willing to spread the word about Steadyhand (we freely admit that this one is self-serving :-) )

There is definitely some overlap in these concepts, but they were distinct enough to help us sort through and prioritize our list of initiatives.