Financially Fixated: It’s About More than Dollars and Cents
By Tom Guy, VP of retail operations, Mike Albert
At Mike Albert, we spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and living our company values. In this series, Navigating the High Road, senior leaders from our company explore our core values, why they are important, and how we instill them in our corporate culture.
On some level, most of us are “financially fixated.” Whether you’re balancing a personal budget, growing a business, or preparing for retirement, it’s critical to understand how much money you have coming in and how much you need to save or invest to reach your goals.
But at Mike Albert, we believe that being financially fixated goes beyond tracking dollars and cents—it’s also about people. This way of thinking about finances has strengthened our business. Read on to see if it can do the same for you.
Financial fixation demands personal responsibility.
A truly financially fixated organization takes a team but also requires personal accountability. This balance is something we drive home within Mike Albert. While we operate as one team, each of our associates understands their critical role in the performance, profitability, and growth of our business.
Within my team, I strive to educate our associates on how they can be financially fixated to benefit our company and our clients. Each person needs to understand how they impact our clients’ profitability and our own. Our associates are expected to ask themselves, “How can I change a process or improve efficiencies to help our clients make more money? What can I do to keep clients coming back, generate more leads, and increase revenue for our business?” And as a leader, I also rely on my team to hold me accountable and speak up when something isn’t working, or when they see an opportunity to grow our business.
Are your colleagues asking themselves these sorts of questions? If not, how might your business improve if they did?
Financial fixation means understanding your audience.
You don’t have to be an accountant or a seasoned financial advisor to be financially fixated. Ultimately, you just need to be an expert in your field—and keenly understand your audience, their needs, and how specific financial decisions can be beneficial to them. Knowing your audience and their pain points enriches your ability to be “financially fixated.”
For instance, when our team talks to a chief financial officer, we expect a straightforward conversation. A CFO is looking at a master budget, focusing on how much money is coming in and going out. For them, a “financially fixated” conversation will revolve around the simplest, most cost-effective ways to boost productivity, reduce costs, and increase profits for their business.
On the other hand, when we start that same conversation with a head of human resources, we take a completely different approach to being financially fixated. An HR department typically doesn’t generate revenue for their company in the way that a sales or service team would—so their financial priority might be saving money through employee satisfaction and retention. To that end, we might, for instance, recommend that they lease company cars to retain employees and cut costs associated with hiring and training new team members. While each conversation is valid and important, knowing our audience allows us to understand their problems better and deliver financially-sound solutions.
Financial fixation is about providing the best service possible.
We have six distinct company values at Mike Albert—but ultimately, each of these values empowers us to provide the best possible service to our clients. We are, after all, in the service industry; our business depends on meeting our clients’ needs, developing creative solutions to their problems, and helping them innovate and grow. And we can’t deliver the best experience and service without working as a team, owning our actions, and being client obsessed.
The same goes for being financially fixated. Having a deep understanding of a client’s financial goals allows us to provide them with exceptional service—whether that’s identifying ways to cut costs, expand their services, or boost their fleet's productivity. And being financially fixated on our clients also supports our own business; our satisfied-client track record typically helps us generate new leads and revenue for our company. It’s a win-win.
Running a business requires a keen understanding of dollars and cents—but you can’t forget about the all-important human element when it comes to being truly financially fixated.