I Can’t Deal With My Partner

beverly flaxingtonBeverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We are two very successful female advisors now working together, but we had very different practices and approaches with our clients. We identified this during the “dating” process and knew it would be something we would need to reconcile. One of us is a very thorough planner and puts a lot of emphasis and rigor into the planning process; the other is more of an investment person who likes to meet with fund managers and consistently watch the market and rebalance accounts.

I am writing this so you won’t guess which one is me and which one is my partner, “Sally.” We talked about our different viewpoints, shared client backgrounds during which we could see how the differences play out in who makes an ideal client for each of us and then agreed once we had merged practices, we would deal with how best to integrate our differing styles.

Now that we have been together for nine months, I asked Sally when she wanted to sit down and look at our client experience to see where we blend our approaches. She got huffy, told me she was busy and her approach and style with her clients was working fine, and she didn’t see a need to shift. I was taken aback, which I told her, and reminded her how often we had talked about blending our approaches. She said my approach would be disruptive to her clients and there was no reason for us to do this.

Then she said she saw an opportunity for new clients to choose which approach they liked better and work with the one of us who fit their needs the best.