Jack Sharry: Everyone, thanks for joining us on this edition of well tech on deck. As those of you who are regular listeners know, I have a lot of fun talking to executives from all over our industry about what they’ve done and what they plan to do, rather confluence of human and digital advice. Today we’re going to talk with someone who I followed for a long time and only recently had the opportunity to get to know a little bit. He did some great work at TD Ameritrade for more than a decade and now is doing important work at Orion. So this week we’re going to speak to Greg Menefee. For many years Greg has worked in lead teams at TD Ameritrade and now Orion and Orion. Greg is Senior Vice President of consulting and implementation where esteemed supports independent financial advisors and incorporating tech into their business enhancing the practice management of their business and their clients experience. So Greg, welcome to Wealthtech on Deck. Nice to have you on the show.
Greg Menefee: Appreciate it. Jack, thank you for the opportunity.
Jack Sharry: Greg, let’s start with you providing some background and color what you did at TD Ameritrade once we take a look at that. And then the lessons learned. We’ll talk about what you’re doing at Orion.
Greg Menefee: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So TD Ameritrade, well, it’s probably the 11 best years to date of my career, incredible organization run by incredibly human beings. It was one of those situations where I joined the organization as a technology consultant, an individual contributor. And I’d never really done that role before, but they gave me a shot. And then 11 months into that role, they decided they were gonna double the size, the team decided that they wanted to quit formal structure around that in a leadership position. And they took a chance on me, I ended up getting that job after those 11 months. And I’ve seen TD Ameritrade or I saw TD Ameritrade do this time, and again, where they would give people shot. And it’s something that as a leader I’ve referred to as the difference between you know, hiring and selecting right, you know, what organizations, you know, a lot of managers, they hire people to do jobs, right. It’s almost like, you know, they look at a resume, like it’s a baseball card, you know, how often you get on base? How many home runs? Are you hitting, right? She’s a person who’s got the most experience in the league a few years, we’re gonna go with this particular candidate. The TV didn’t do that. They looked at somebody’s heart, and they tried to figure out, you know, what does this person capable of and how hungry are they? And so they avoided what I’ve always called free agent hiring, right? Just that, show me the best baseball card, the best stats, and we’re gonna put that person in that position. And so, you know, then they empowered me to do that, as a leader. You know, it wasn’t that much further down the road that they offered me the opportunity to expand my role, and in doing so, backfill my existing position as head of technology consulting, and there was a woman, you know, watching leads tech consulting over Charles Schwab, I hired Janelle to be a technology consultant, and then promoted her to be a business consultant and promoted her on to lead the technology consulting team. She sat next to me when I started at TD and I can just tell this woman is incredible. She’s proactive, she’s collaborative, she’s communicative. She’s very appreciative. She’s always asking, you know, Greg, are there any questions you think I can be helping you with along the way? And I remember the interview, Jack, I asked her a question. That was kind of a trick question. And she did not get it. It did not go well. And I can tell she was little bit flustered. And I smiled, and I basically told her, not so many words, you’re gonna get this job, because I can tell you’re going to be phenomenal at this role. And of course, that’s why I ended up promoter and a couple more times. And she’s moved on to do great things. Same thing with Craig Cintron, he’s leading tech consulting, or he’s leading Consulting at Goldman Sachs now. And, you know, Craig came into the organization as a tech consultant, he never done the role before he excelled at that particular role. And so we decided, you know, what, you know, moved into promoting to another job, I’m gonna give this guy a shot, he was incredibly no told we think somewhere around 25 people ended up getting promoted. During those 11 years out of my organization, they’re all doing incredible things across this industry, probably a few of them already have bigger jobs than I do. And most of them probably will at some point in their career. And so, you know, from there, once you build that high performing team, you select the right people to come into the organization. It was a matter of trying to figure out what’s most important around here, and we had this new CEO come on board, Tim Hockey, and if Tim was in front of a camera, townhall Slack message, annual shareholders meeting whatever, in the first two minutes, he’s hammering home, the importance of client experience, and how we are going to compete based upon that. And so I had to take a step back and look at our distribution model. Think about how do we do consulting here across technology business and outsource investment consulting? And how do we do this in a way that elevates the client experience? And what I realized was the distribution model that we have, it just doesn’t work for them. If you get 7500 clients, you know, I’ve got I’ve got three business consultants to outsource or OCIO let’s call them consultants, intent technology consultants trying to elevate the experience for 7500 advisors. You cannot Do that doing one on one consulting with advisory firms. And so we completely flipped the model and decided to go from, you know, focusing primarily on one to one consulting to focusing on the one to many, one to few and one to write for you. And then, you know, my belief was not a preaches to the team. If we take fun, entertaining and enlightening content, to the masses, that the advisors with the skill will in time will walk up at the end of your presentation line up at the front of the stage and say, I want more of that. And it worked. And so that the the engagements where we did one on one engagements were born from our one to many or one to write few engagements. It wasn’t let’s just go out and try to figure out who are our biggest or largest clients and try to wedge consulting into their, into the relationship. And so, you know, even on that front, Jack, when I think about it, and I look back, I mean, completely changing the distribution model and probably halfway into my leadership career TD, you know, they let me do it. Right, they empower you that it was the type of organization George was the gentleman that gave me my first shot. And George was the type of guy that he made a compelling case. And he’d say, Alright, go for it. Let’s see how it works out Canada. And I think that that entrepreneurial spirit that we had, there was something that fueled a lot of people’s careers, because it led them to step outside of their comfort zone and, and focus on things that they might aspire to do. And then once they did that, well, it was a type of organization where they said, Hey, we recognize that we want you to do it now.
Jack Sharry: That’s great. And as we’ll talk about in a moment, you’re doing the same thing in Orion, right?
Greg Menefee: That’s right. You know, it’s funny when I think about Orion and TD Ameritrade, they’re extremely similar organizations from a cultural aspect. They’re both led by very intelligent people, or Clark is brilliant in my mind. They’re led by people that practice strategic foresight, and think really hard about, alright, what’s most important? And how are we going to construct a team, that strategy structure comp plan, right, get it all in alignment, to support that. And when I came into Orion, they created the role it did not exist before. And Randy Lambert, he was kind enough again, to take a shot on creating a new role for some unknown entity, Randy, and I didn’t know each other extremely well. That ever since I’ve gotten there, Randy’s type of guy that is just like, hey, you know, what are your thoughts he wants to know. And then when you share them with them, if they make sense, he’s on board with it. And he’s like, give it a shot. And so you know, when I joined the team, one of the things that I recognized was the relationship management team or strategic consulting team at Orion they there was not a vision, there was not a mission in place, we didn’t quite understand what client experience was how it’s different than just good customer service. And we didn’t have a foundation for that house. So after that, first 90 to 100 days, I hosted my first office, I got everybody together in Omaha, and said, Listen, we’re not going to talk about our products, we’re not going to talk about our solutions. All we’re going to talk about is we’re gonna do a half day here focused on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team to understand how to truly competent, culturally sound team function, so that we can have some ground rules to work well together. And then from that, we got to figure out what’s most important, what’s our vision, our mission. So I introduced those things at that particular off site, our vision is to consistently elevate the industry standard. And the way I describe that to the team was, listen, all of our clients have a whole bunch of different vendors. Our goal is that when they look at the relationship with you, you sit at number one, and there’s a gap between you and number 234, and five, and the way that we’re going to do that is by building a foundation of client experience, and helping these firms get the most out of their investment in Orion. And so then our mission was born of helping every client to maximize their Orion experience. And so that’s the passion. We’re in the process of trying to figure out how can we efficiently utilize active fi on this brand? How can we efficiently uncover what’s important to our clients? What are their goals, their goals, you know, for the entire firm their goals that might be in alignment with Orion and for the goals that are more firm-specific that maybe it’s a little bit outside of our core competencies? Is there a way that we can make connections within the industry to help them to achieve those things? And then on the ones that are Orion focused are technology and wealth management focus? You know, are we ensuring that they’re getting the most out of their technology? And then are there other Orion solutions across the kind of the client journey of prospect plan invest in achieve? Are there other Orion solutions that we can introduce to them that could create better or more efficiencies inside of their practice to the firm the enterprise and in a way that will then allow them to spend more time investing in elevating the client experience, the foundation of it and Orion to the foundation of it for our clients has to be when you ask the question why enough? The answer is ultimately going to be we are here to elevate the client experience. We’re here to compete based upon that.
Jack Sharry: If you would maybe go a little bit deeper and describe if you would, Greg, your team, what are their roles, what do they do, who do they interface with? They’re working with the advisors themselves? as their team, their, their tech up, you know, the folks that operate the tech at their place, how does that all work?
Greg Menefee: All of the above. And so you know, when getting back to kind of thinking, you know, we didn’t have a vision didn’t have a mission. So that was kind of run out of the gate, the first thing that I tackled, and what we’ve landed on is the mission of the team is to help every client to maximize their Orion experience. And the way we think about that is, you know, we have all these different products and solutions that our clients have invested in, we need to ensure that they’re maximizing that return on their investment. And so that means they need to fully understand what it’s capable of what the integration capabilities are out there, and how we can help the organization more broadly, you know, not just that our specific point of contact, but are the ways that we can bring thought leadership, are there ways that we can bring more education around our products to the broader universe.
Jack Sharry: They’re at each one of these firms, and talk with you in a little bit, because you’ve got such an array of capabilities. I mean, you’re really building out, in my estimation, the technology where with all of the future, and you have much of it now, but I’m sure there’s going to be some more pieces and more coordinated integrated pieces as you go on. So how do you work with firms? Because that seems to be one of the big challenges we don’t lack for technology we lack for how to implement how to coordinate, how to really maximize as you characterize it. So how does your team go about doing that? How do they get in there? And, and help folks? I mean, is there a process that they undertakers is very situational, depending on the firm they’re working with?
Greg Menefee: It is, so we utilize active technology, which you might be familiar with. And so from a consulting or coaching perspective, we utilize assessments in there to try to better understand what’s most important these organizations, not just at the highest level, but within the particular department that we might be interfacing with at that company. And so once we can uncover that through assessments or conversations, we capture all that information, and we try to think about what are the goals, some of these are going to be firm, specific goals that are a little bit outside of the scope of Orion, than others are going to be goals that we can help with either the current technology that they’ve invested in today, or, you know, one of the many different solutions that as we’ve all seen, Orion has acquired over the last several years, I mean, shoot since I’ve been here, they’ve already added, I think, three organizations since January. And so when we think about our mission each and every day to helping every client to maximize their Orion experience, it’s really, can we help you to get the most out of the existing technology you have, that you’ve invested in? In what other solutions that are Orion? Should we be having conversations about we think about this, throughout that kind of the advisor client journey. So you know, I remember from a CX perspective, I talk a lot about, you need to think about the client’s journey, universal prospect, onboarding, and ongoing at Orion, we think about, alright, the advisor client journey is going to be prospect, plan, invest and achieve. And so we want to look across all of that and figure out what is the experience that they’re currently delivering today? And are there areas where Orion can step in and help them to elevate that experience? Because as you and I’ve talked about before, and what I’m most passionate about, is client experience. I absolutely believe it’s the right competitive strategy for this industry. And I believe more and more advisory firms are catching on to that. And I think it’s going to be the big differentiator in the future.
Jack Sharry: Yeah, I’m kind of curious about this, because this is to me, and as you well know, we’re in the technology business, it’s b2b. So we don’t have as much direct advisor connection as others might have, certainly, as you do. And so one of the challenges because we tend to connect a lot of dots, we connect all the different elements of a planning process of, you know, the whole data flow, puzzle, ongoing management, rebalancing all the different elements that went as a managing a household portfolio. So that’s sort of the technical aspect. But I also need to do a fair amount on the practice management side and the soft side, he might call it sure, like customer experience side. So talk about how you balance the two between technology and the sort of that human experience, I got to believe, just as I’ve gotten to know you, but at the heart of what you’re doing is you’re trying to make both work. Right?
Greg Menefee: Absolutely. In that, you know, getting back to my first 90 days, you know, I was evaluating how do we at Orion, how does this team think about client experience? Because it’s so different than just good customer service, right? It is a competitive strategy. And while Orion might be a product company, the market that we quote, unquote, sell into is competing based upon client experience. And so we have to become subject matter experts or specialists on that particular topic. So that’s something that I’ve worked really hard with my team and helping them understand what is client experience all about? What is it not, then where does Orion kind of fit into that? That’s the message I’ve been, oh shoot for the last six weeks and different cities taking on the road. Right out of the gate. I created a client experience presentation that started to get some tremendous traction. I’ve got another three or four engagements coming up and I’ve declined four because I can’t be on the road for three months in a rep. I’ve got two kids that I need to spend some time with. But sure, I love going on in telling the message, it’s probably when I have the most fun at work, because I believe in it. One, I think that it’s the right competitive strategy for this industry. Number one, two, you know, a world class client experience starts with a world class associated experience. And I’m a huge fan of people having fun at work. So right, if you have to get that right, which means an organization has to focus and invest time and thinking about what does our associate experience going to look like? It’s going to support the way that our clients experience and feel our organization. And then how can we help them to see the connection between Orion that, well, if the advisor doesn’t already believe that client experience is important, they’re not going to make the connection. So that’s kind of step one for a lot of them. And yeah, I do feel like the industry is getting better at this. But there’s a long way to go. When I deliver one of these presentations, that as soon as the Lavalier is handed over, I’ve got a line of five or six advisors wanting to talk more in depth about it or asking me to come speak at their office or their conference in that tells me one, they recognize that this is the right strategy. And two, they’re hungry for learning more about it, because it might not be today, the way they’re thinking in their organization, right client experience is one of these things where you can’t casually do it, you have to draw a line in the sand and say, we are going to compete based upon client experience. Everybody in the organization needs to understand that we need to have a vision and a mission and values that are in alignment with that, and everybody needs to know them. And you know, I think when you kind of get to the end of that, one of the things that I frequently will say on stage, and I’ve gotten to the point where there’s no script, right, I just get up there and just start talking to mic delivered five times and deliver five different presentations. But the one thing that I am trying to help these firms recognize is that this is going to require leadership, just like there’s a difference between client experience in great customer service, there’s a difference between leadership and management. And if you decide you’re going to compete, you need leaders in the organizations that are going to lead that way. And if you don’t have a vision, or you don’t have a mission, or you have these things, and if I walk up to somebody in your office and ask them what they are, and they can’t immediately tell me, well, then it doesn’t really matter. This is why I get wound up about this topic, because I know it can help firms create a better environment, setting their organization, and I know it’s going to help them to win business. And at the end of the day, you know, I work at a for profit company, right? The more businesses organizations win, right, the better we all do. And so I’m happy to share this message each and every day.
Jack Sharry: That’s great. That’s great. I want to come back to this because I’m with you every step of the way, what you’ve described. And I want to back up for a little bit and talk about so how did you get into this business? I think I know the story here a little bit tiny bit. But I’d like to hear more. How do you get started? And how do you evolve to where you are today? And that’s what I’m going to come back to ask questions or address some of the things you’ve raised around customer experiences. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s really the customer experience business more than we are in the asset management business or tech stack building business or what have you. So tell us a little bit about your background. How do you wind up here?
Greg Menefee: Mediocre grades? Yeah, yeah, I, you know, I enjoyed college, I was an only child and I got to college and had a lot of fun. I didn’t fail classes. I didn’t get D’s, but I didn’t wasn’t an ace either. And I’ll never forget, you know, I didn’t have a job lined up when I got into college. And most the people that are listening to this probably won’t remember this. But there were these things called classified ads. And I applied to a job through the classifieds to Fidelity Investments and Dell computer. And Dell wanted me to work on Sundays, and I didn’t want to do that. And Fidelity offered me a job. And so that’s how I wound up in this industry. But how it kind of evolved from there. You know, once I got out of college, I realized, alright, you know, the party is gonna stay back there. And it’s time to get serious about life. And so I was that guy that was the first one at the office last one to leave. In fact, it was an hourly job. And so they didn’t even pay me for that first hour whenever I left, right, and you only got that little window of pay, but I didn’t care. And it paid off. People recognize it. And so I got an opportunity to I was asked to go to Boston interview for a job at Boston. And I went up and never been to Boston before flew up, interviewed for the job and flew back. And they said we’d like to offer you the job. Where were you living in? Dallas, Texas. Gotcha, gotcha. I was in Dallas. And so probably having recently seen the secret of my success, Michael J. Fox, I figured I’ll be running Fidelity Investments in no time. But of course, I got up there and realized, wow, this company is loaded with really intelligent people and I got a lot of learning to do. So I applied those same principles. Just kind of roll up the sleeves and worked really, really hard.
Jack Sharry: What area did you start in? operations or technology?
Greg Menefee: I was in marketing, but I was in the marketing information group. And so CRM was a new thing back then. And Siebel was the application that we were using. And so it was a business analyst on Siebel, than a systems analyst and project manager. And then I wound up spending my last five years in the single-family office space fidelity family office services.
Jack Sharry: Interesting, very interesting. And then the switch to TD. Tell me about that.
Greg Menefee: Sure. Yeah. As I mentioned before, wife decided to I met on a flight to Boston, she was a texted as well, she’s like, I want to go home. And I said, okay, and I felt like I owed it to Fidelity, they’d been really good to me for those 13 years, I went to my senior vice president and YuFei and said, Andy, here’s the deal, my wife wants to move back to Texas, I’m gonna make it work. I’m not going to come surprise you one day and just resign, I just want to go ahead, put that on your radar. At the time, it couldn’t work for me to transition to an office down in Texas with fidelity. And that’s when I made that transition over to TD Ameritrade.
Jack Sharry: That’s great. Terrific. I want to come back to what we were talking about earlier. And, and also, if you’d include maybe sort of learnings along the way, it sounds like you learned a lot, not only from a technology or operational standpoint early on, but then how you go sort of up the value chain, we’ll call it to that customer experience and talk a little bit more about that and what you’re finding in the field, because my experience with advisors, most of them that hate to generalize, but it’s fairly accurate. They like to manage money, they like to talk about the markets, they like to talk about making money, they like people, and they like helping people. But they didn’t sign up to become tech stack builders, or CTOs. And they didn’t sign up to be customer service, they hired people that do customer service. And here you are talking about client experience, which is in portfolio management isn’t tech stack, per se, isn’t customer service. It’s really about I think of customer client experiences all of that. But where the experience is that it’s seamless, and easy. And I’m getting good advice. And I feel comfortable and confident. But I think I’m probably botched that explanation, but I’m sure you can do it a bit better, since that’s what you do each and every day. Talk about that? How do you bring all that together? Because there’s a lot to bring together? That’s not simple stuff I just described.
Greg Menefee: Yeah, you know, one of the things I tried to help people understand is client experience isn’t an event. It’s not a department, it’s not a person in your organization, it’s a strategy. So you’re either going to compete based upon your product, your price, your experience, that’s it. Most companies don’t pick one, right? They flounder around between them. These are the companies that we don’t have memorable relationships with the ones that we don’t refer business to. They’re the ones that just if you need something, then you might stumble across them. The ones that each of us, you, myself, people listening, have really loyal relationships to these companies are laser focused on one of these particular strategies. And you know, when I speak with advisory firms, unlike, listen, you’re not a product company, you’re not creating new products and selling products, you definitely don’t want to be known as the discount advisor in town. That only leaves you with one choice. So you can either just not pay real close attention to it and be one of those firms that’s not super memorable, or you get laser focused on it and say this is how we are going to compete. Now once you do that. Now you got to think about how does this bleed across the organization, this kind of comes back to vision, mission and values, these things are critically important to me. They weren’t TD and they are in Orion, our team’s vision is to consistently elevate the industry standard. And then we had described that to the team when I built it was listen, all of our clients have relationships with all sorts of other vendors and advisors. Clients do too. Right? And so they have all these relationships. Our goal, our vision is that when they look at their relationship with their Orion, consultant, or relationship manager, that it’s it number one, and there’s a gap until you get to number two, number three, number four, and how are we going to do that? We’re going to do that by building the framing of this house on a world class client experience. We have to be thinking about this throughout everything that we do. So we’re going to need a mission to support that that mission is going to be helping every client to maximize their right experience. Why do we want them to do this? And this is something that I teach my teams a lot of a broken record it, you got to ask the question, why? Then you get asked it again, you got to ask it again. Ultimately, the answer should lead to because we want to elevate the experience that’s being delivered. And for us, we think about three different ways. There’s three experiences and we’re trying to elevate. We’re trying to elevate the advisors in client experience. We’re trying to elevate the advisors associate experience or team member experience. And we’re trying to help to elevate their experience with Orion. And that’s the same thing that they should be thinking about when they’re working with their clients. And so, again, that means you gotta take a step back and look at that client journey. Alright, through prospect planning and investing in achieving what does the experience look like today at our firm for our clients, and then investing time to figure out How can we elevate it? When are we even meeting the expectations of our clients? And then to All right, if we are, are there ways that we can create surprise and delight moments for clients, and, you know, RAs are loaded with creative people, you got to take time to do it, right, you got to take a step back and go, this is important, we’re going to talk about this. But like most of us, we get caught up in the day to day and just kind of managing one fire drill did another one other opportunity, etc, etc. You know, you’ve got to take a step back, I just did this with two leaders, my organization, I asked them to come here to Bentonville, Arkansas, and I said, I need you to come to Arkansas hours, because it’s been two days, we’re gonna get you guys each given Airbnb, we’ll pick the biggest one. And we’re gonna set up shop there. And we’re just going to talk, I don’t want you thinking about agendas, I don’t want you to come to thinking that there’s gonna be a lot of structure to this, I need a whiteboard, some markers, and we’re just going to have a conversation. And it was probably the most productive two days since I’ve been at Orion, right? Because it wasn’t just the structured what, you know, one Zoom meeting to the next meeting. But anyways, we were focused on alright, what is the experience that our clients have today and working with us? And we got to figure out what are different ways that we can start to elevate that experience. And for us, we’re going to start to get a little bit more strategic about how we bring information, thought leadership opportunities to our clients today, what I walked into, there’s technically no strategic planning, right? We don’t look at 2023 and go right, what is that going to look like for my territory. And in these relationship managers, they each have territories that they support, what I’m trying to coach them is towards is this thing that I call them CX segmentation. So you know, when I think about traditional segmentation, the way I joke about it on stage and with clients is, it’s selfish. And you know, it’s necessary, but it’s selfish. If you think about it, most all of us are segmenting based upon what you do for me, right? The revenue that you produce reference ability, etc, etc. Well, we I believe that organizations need to do that. But I think we have to overlay that with how do we believe those clients view their relationship with me? And how do we believe that they view the relationship with Orion. And so the way I kind of break it down is, you’re either viewed as a product provider, a technical expert, or a trusted adviser. And if you’re new to the relationship, you automatically are product provider, you’ve got to figure out how are you going to build up that relationship? Well, in order to do that, we need to figure out what’s important to people. You know, I think a lot of organizations just go around guessing what’s important to their clients, right? We have to ask them, right, what is important to you. And I’ve even gone as far as to coach the team to say, this idea of you elevating a client that you think use you as a technical expert to a trusted advisor, tell them, like just explain to them my mission here is to help every client maximize their writings experience, I want to help you to maximize your experience, my goal for this relationship, because I feel like I’m in this product provider category is to advance you to a trusted advisor, what I think a trusted advisor relationship looks like before you make a next tech investment. You and your organization. You’re calling it, we’re having a conversation about that. And I think in order to do that, you have to figure out right, what’s important to the client, not just with regards to their day to day things that they’re responsible for, but what are their passions, right? I love mountain biking now, right? You know, Bentonville, Arkansas, you want to talk about, you know, mountain biking with me or Bentonville, I’ll chew your ear off for three or four hours. Ironically, if you want, we come back to that, that’s because of the client experience they’re building around here. But anyways, you find out what that is that they’re passionate about. And then just find opportunities to enlighten them on it or share things. You know, you said it earlier. It’s relationship business, right? It’s not about us trying to get Orion, you know, risk intelligence into your office Orion compliance. Would we love for advisors to purchase it? Absolutely. But it’s more about, hey, let’s try to understand what’s the experience you’re trying to deliver. I want to build a strong relationship. So you know, trust me, so we can do that. And then if we have solutions here that can help you to strengthen that. Let’s just talk about let’s perform some due diligence on it.
Jack Sharry: I love it. I love it. One final question before we start to move toward the finish line here. And you just started to touch on I have a hunch where you’re gonna go with this. But where do you see this industry? Orion what you’re doing at Orion? Where do you see going over the next few years? Our business is changing fast. You seem to be leading it in terms of little concept around client experience. But tell us more. Where do you see things going?
Greg Menefee: It’s gonna get more competitive. Yeah, that’s my hunch. If you think about, you mentioned something earlier, around a lot of advisors who got into the business, not because they wanted to be leaders, not because they want to run a company. They just have to be really good at what they do. And fortunate as followed. I think that if you look at the firm’s that are growing the quickest right now. They’ve got leadership in place that that’s their job is to lead an organization. It’s not to lead an organization and also carry a book of 1525 clients that you’re supporting. You’ve got people that are being hiring into these roles that are very specifically to trained or educated on, you know, a chief operating officer, you got somebody that the principal is taking step back and saying, I’m going to run this organization, I can’t do everything. You know, when I think about the most recent restructuring at Orion, you know, you’ve got Eric has been, you know, I wouldn’t say elevated the CEO position, right. He always was the CEO. But he’s put these positions in where you’ve got rain beach as the president of wealth management, Brian McLaughlin running technology. And then you have Kurt Brown that’s running OCIO business that allows air to take a step back and more broadly, look at Orion and figure out how can we build the best company, the best solutions, integrated solutions, right, for our clients? It’s the same thing at these firms. That, you know, I think leaders have to take a step back and realize this is going to be a more competitive industry. What is the right competitive strategy? It is client experience? How are we going to look to excel on that front? And if there is, you know, just practicing productive paranoia, you know, a new entrant into this space, because this has been a pretty, you know, I don’t want to use the word lucrative. It’s been a very successful run for RIAS for the last several years, people have taken notice private equity has taken notice, right? Who’s to say Google hasn’t taken notice? And if you think about, you know, the taxi cab business, right? How did it completely get turned upside down? Client Experience and through technology? Right? VRBO. You know, Airbnb is, you know, there’s this thing called the internet, right, and apps and whatnot, have just created the opportunity to take something as simple as client experience and wedge it into an industry that’s never had it there before, and then compete with all the existing entrants and compete fiercely with them. And so I believe that the next client you win or you lose, is going to be based upon how they perceive the experience is going to be with your organization.
Jack Sharry: That’s terrific. So Greg, I could keep going a million thoughts that we’re going to talk about afterwards. So we’ll get to them. But our time grows short here. So as we look to wrap up, what are three key takeaways from our discussion today, you’d like to share with our audience? I’d love to hear that.
Greg Menefee: Yeah, sure. I thought about this. This was the one question right that I had in advance, and we pay little attention to it. I just mentioned it a second ago, productive paranoia. I think that this is something that’s extremely valuable. And it’s not done enough in organizations, where you take a little bit of time to think about where’s that next threat coming from? And you know, when you do that, you can’t help but start to practice, you know, strategic foresight, and start looking at the future nuts. What’s the next two years look like for our firm, just from a planning perspective, and a budgeting perspective and a growth perspective? Like, you know, really looking around the corner and thinking about, where’s the next competitor coming from? What is the next threat going to be? Where do we maybe need to shore something up? Or what are some of our strengths that we really need to lean into. And so I think practicing productive paranoia at the leadership level in the in RIAS is something that is worth investing in. I think that drawing a line in the sand when it comes to how you’re going to compete, you know, this is the thing that I try to almost yell at advisors from the conference stage is, I know you’re gonna love this, this presentation. But don’t just love it, you have to decide, right? We’re going to do this, like get competitive, be competitive, find that competitive spirit that I’m sure everybody has, and decide, it’s going to be on experience. And if you’re at a type of conference, where you’re there with other advisory firms look around and decide, I’m going to beat all of you, based upon the experience that we’re going to deliver. I think that the companies really are RIAS have really got to get serious about client experience and what that looks like across their organization. And then, you know, to couple that, you know, if you don’t have a vision and mission and values that people don’t know, in your organization, you’re not leading you’re managing, you need to have this it needs to be in alignment with client experience, and everybody needs to know it. And I will share where I messed up on that front. The first time I did this 910 years ago, you know, had an off site, we built our vision, we built our mission. And for the missions part, I put it into my signature line, every single time I saw it being demonstrated on team calls, I would reference it but you know, line for line. I just was regurgitating it for six months. And then one day in the hallway, I asked somebody, what’s our mission, and they didn’t know. And so I decided to test everybody on my teams, and I took them all out to lunch in pairs. And once we’d already ordered, I looked across the table and said, what’s our company’s vision? And what is our mission on the team? I got, you know, 16 deer in the headlights, and I realized that’s not their fault. It’s my fault. You know, as a leader that I have to ensure that they understand how important this is. And if you don’t have it memorized, well then how can you be expected to live up to it you’re not going to write you’re just kind of hoping you get lucky at that point. So anyways, you know, had another off site and shared with him. This is critically important, right? We need to all understand what it is So that was the first thing that I was doing here at Orion. And I think that it may take anything away from this one client experience. Of course, they’re gonna get that from it. But if you’re a leader on this call, even if it’s not, you’re leading the organization, right? You have team, you have people that report into you think about what is our mission? What are we here to do for our clients, and then put that into some words and help everybody understand it. Because when you’re a company, when people realize how their job is in alignment with their team, or their organization’s mission, how that is in alignment with the vision, and how that is in alignment with what the board and the CEO said is most important. They are more fulfilled at work, and they will produce better results. There’s no doubt about it.
Jack Sharry: That’s great. That’s great. Well, Greg had high expectations, you’ve exceeded them. This has been a real pleasure, really, have enjoyed our conversation. And as we do each week on our podcast, my favorite question to We ask our guests is off topic from what we’ve talked about, I have a hunch was going to be your answer. What is something you do outside of work that you’re excited or passionate about? And people might find interesting or surprising?
Greg Menefee: I am an unofficial member of the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce. I think. I joke with people now I’m like, you know, when I was deciding on what was next for Greg and the family, or it was, you know, Orion, or should I go to work for the town of Bentonville? So we relocated here, you know, a little over a year ago, after stumbling into this town. I saw a Facebook post, a Facebook post that said just got back from Bentonville. It’s a mountain biking mecca. And so we took a trip here that June, came back July, September, October, the full week of Thanksgiving, decided to buy what we thought would be a rental home. VRBO and then we just never left. We’ve never ruined it one day ever. Yeah, I have I’ve I’ve fallen in love with this town. Our family has fallen in love with being on bikes and outdoors. I get acres and acres and acres of trees behind this home. And we try to spend as much time as we can out in those woods, preferably on a bike.
Jack Sharry: That’s great. That’s great. I love that you shared that with me before and I had a hunch you might be bringing that back up again. I’m so glad you did. So Greg, thanks so much. This has been a great conversation for our audience. If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please rate review, subscribe and share what we’re doing here at Wealthtech on Deck. We’re available wherever you get your podcasts, Greg, once again a real pleasure. I can’t wait for the next time we have a chance to chat. So thanks so much.
Greg Menefee: Thank you, Jack.