Those that advise business owners and provide them with products, services, and advice designed to help them on their business journey do an exceptional job at being active participants in their client’s lives—when their clients let them. It’s very similar to your doctor. We often call our doctor as a reaction to something; an acute issue, a concern, a need for medication. Similarly, business owners call their advisors with a specific need: a product they need from them, or a service they provide. It is a transaction, an exchange of money for a service or a product and the transaction was initiated by the customer. Just as is the case with most patients with their doctor—“something happened, I need something from you, I am calling you.”
In medicine, and in business, we are often trying to be proactive or preventative in our approach—which is a great concept and one that undoubtedly creates healthier people and businesses when done effectively. However, it shouldn’t be an “either/or” between reactive and proactive (or prescriptive) approaches to business or medicine. There is a natural interconnectedness between preventative and reactive medicine, just as there should be an interconnectedness between prescriptive (preventative) and reactive service from advisors who provide value to business owners. They both follow the same pattern:
- Set a baseline of information
- Provide context for that information
- React to that contextualized information and prescribe a better path forward
Let’s consider the doctors first with this pattern. Traditionally, the general practitioner needs a baseline amount of information or knowledge to help their patient. They need to know who you are and a series of data points to understand the current state of your health. This can be blood pressure, weight, history, etc.. Information to help set this initial baseline. Then, they need context for that baseline data. They might see that your blood pressure is high relative to others in your age range. They might see that your body mass index is worrisome for someone your height. That context helps them understand where you are relative to others. They then want to help you create a plan to achieve a certain goal—by reacting to this contexualized information and prescribing a plan forward. It might be exercise, medication, or some combination of both. They have reacted to what they found out and have undertaken this process. The problem? In order for continuous preventative medicine to be truly effective, it requires one very important thing: constant awareness to the ever-changing baseline.
Reacting to ever-changing baselines is part of the natural loop; It’s a necessary part of recalibrating gameplans and building more effective prescriptive approaches going forward. The problem is when the data stream slows or stops. People stop going to the doctor because they feel fine and have other priorities for their time.
Similarly, advisors—whether banking, accounting, or wealth—can always do more when they have more information. Just like the example of a doctor who has more information (data) to constantly reset the baseline, advisors tasked with helping business owners build value and mitigate risk find similar benefits when they have more information.
The same is true for business owners. They are the author of their own story but constant re-assessment of the baseline of information, layering on context to that new information, and determining the appropriate next steps, is that perfect combination of “react to something new, prescribe a path, and measure the newly created baseline that follows.”
Reacting or being reactive is typically viewed as a negative. We need data and information to constantly reassess where we are, provide context to that new information, and prescribe our own path forward to an outcome we wish to achieve. The danger isn’t being reactive—the danger is ONLY being reactive. Updating information or a baseline needs to be the first step towards taking proactive and intentional action. And there are countless people out there whose job it is to help you understand the baseline, provide context to that information, and prescribe a plan that will result in the goals you’re looking to achieve. It’s time we include them in that feedback loop and derive the value we expect them to bring to the equation. Whether that be our health, our business, or something else. The advisors we task with helping us achieve better outcomes should be an active participant in helping us achieve that future—make them part of the loop.