Like many in my generation, part-time jobs in high school helped form lifelong values. In my case, the experiences varied widely ranging from my first summer job washing dishes in the kitchen at Providence Hospital to helping out at the funeral home to delivering The State newspaper in the pre-dawn hours. I learned a great deal about human nature and customer service from my paper route in particular and many of these lessons have carried over to our work with clients today.
Building the Foundation
The first lesson learned from my morning paper route was dependability. You have to show up each and every day on time. You become well acquainted with things that you are willing to do to keep customers happy and things that you are unwilling to do. This is important in our firm today. We don’t try to be all things to all people. We have a clear planning and investing philosophy based on long term evidence. If someone wants to pick stocks and time the market, we probably won’t be a good fit.
Another value I learned was accountability. Each Monday morning I met with my manager and paid him for the papers from the previous week. I was responsible for collecting from my customers (this was before everyone paid online) and he in turn was responsible to his boss. In our firm, we work with clients as a team and every team member is accountable for particular functions that contribute to the overall client experience.
There is a common theme between what I do today and what I did on my paper route…trust. The essence of our client relationships revolves around trust. Prior to trust, however, clients first have to have faith that we will understand their concerns and provide counsel that is in their best interest. Trust is the fruit that develops from this act of faith. From this foundation we help clients become confident, secure and comfortable. Ready for a real conversation?