The definition of insanity

It’s time to rethink professional development days and stop doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I am sure you have heard the words from Albert Einstein where he said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

Our financial planning industry regulations and legislation has continued to change and there looks to be many more ahead based on last week’s parliamentary sitting - yet ongoing industry training continues to be the same old school product provider sessions of 20 years ago.

Everyone acknowledges that continuing professional development is an essential part of ensuring that we as financial planners improve our knowledge. I know it was 10 years ago that I completed my Diploma of Financial Planning, which means that I completed my tax subject over 15 years ago. The only way I have managed to keep up with regulations is by ensuring I get the relevant knowledge to keep this element of advice I provide up to date.

For too long we have relied on our licensees to support us in ensuring we meet the ongoing training requirements, with many based on a continuing professional development point or hour system. Yet time and time again licensees roll out training days where the sessions are just a branded “product flog” or a supposed “educational session” that leads into a “product flog”. It just has a fancy title.

For years, I have spoken about planners moving from product sales to true, objective-based advice. Advice that focuses on strategy and structure with product being secondary, if even required at all. How is it that if I add more value as an objective-based advice planner that I still have to attend mandatory licensee training that has product at the end? Surely this shows that as an industry we are running the same training over and over again and yet expecting planners to be different!

In 2016, MyPlanner took stock of our ongoing training plans. If I didn’t want to attend the PD days and conferences, surely our planners wouldn’t want to either. We ran a national conference with no fund manager presenters. Not one. At 9am on Sunday morning the rooms were packed with planners who wanted to hear sessions that truly improve how they do business, how they engage with clients, speaking to other planners about how they do business.

This lead us into thinking about what else needs to change. If planners want this style of training, why don’t we move these “product education sessions” online so planners who may want to meet their Corporations Act “know your product” rules can view it in their own time?

Then how about making PD days a place for planners to present to each other? How they do a first appointment, to planners talking about their compliance experiences and how to be better, to showcasing what they are doing in their client services packages and how they deliver them.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers speaks about 10,000 hours rule, where he states that if you would like to have world-class level skills in a chosen field, you need to commit 10,000 hours. Some of this could be on-the-job training, but if you assume an eight-hour day, five days per week, 50 weeks a year – it will take five years for me to be a specialist financial planner with world-class skills. The question is though, if I completed 10,000 of product education sessions could I still class myself as a world-class financial planner?

With training regulations about to change again in the years to come, I encourage you now to take stock of what sort of training is going to give you a different result? What sort of training will give you world-class skills in the fantastic industry we are in today - financial planning. Let’s make 2017 different. 


Philippa Sheehan is the managing director at MyPlanner Australia Pty Ltd

 

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