Solving Problems/Improving Leadership

Speed, Delivery, and Drive: Potential Shortcomings of Short-Term Thinking

After my fourth week at AlphaSights, I am beginning to notice more and more about how working in a fast-paced industry can drive short-term thinking. Associates in the Client Services department prioritize delivery, speed, quick results, and immediate responses because their clients often times have incredibly short turnarounds and deadlines. As a result, Client Services Associates often do not spend as much time focusing the potential legal issues that can result from a lack of attention to detail. While the ability to complete projects quickly pleases clients and helps Client Services Associates reach their quarterly goals, my Client Protection department notices that a short-term mindset and overemphasis on delivery to clients can complicate the Client Services Associate’s role and contribute to an increased workload for other teams including Client Protection, Client Service Excellence, and Advisor Relations.

AlphaSights created the Client Protection team to address the legal and compliance issues that stem from short-term thinking and the occasional lack of attention to detail, but I think the company and the Client Protection team can do more to ensure Client Services Associates take the time to think through some of their outreach to industry advisors, bring concerning correspondence to Client Protection’s attention, and practice good record keeping habits to ensure the company’s focus on speed and growth is sustainable and scalable. As the company continues to increase its annual business and hire more associates, attention to detail, a long-term mindset, and awareness as to how different company teams work together becomes increasingly important.

My individual intern project is rooted in my understanding of how small mindset shifts from short-term to long-term could improve AlphaSights operations. I am responsible for coming up with a set of Client Protection “top tips” to distribute to the Client Services department to help them remember the importance of slowing down your work to ensure there individuals do not overlook potential legal concerns for the sake of saving time and quick delivery to clients. Using my knowledge from Jepson courses, I will focus on explaining my tips to the Client Services department in a non-accusatory, helpful, and straightforward manner. So far, I am honing in on three major areas of observation where I notice the most frequent Client Services confusion, and am collaborating with the Client Protection team to come up with an effective, creative, and useful delivery method. I plan to build out a flow chart to help Client Services Associates understand what might contain a legal concern, a “how to” guide to use different compliance softwares, and a company training session to refresh Client Services Associates about best practices for dealing with tricky advisors. My ability to understand organizational cultures, successful leadership strategies, and how to work with others guides how I approach my project planning and execution.

Overall, I find the tendency to think and operate in the short-term is natural for young people. I can be impatient with slow and inefficient individuals, groups, or softwares, and stressed out by tight timelines, which helps me empathize and understand why Client Services Associates can get so caught up in a culture of immediacy. Nonetheless, my internship is teaching me the importance of strong attention to detail and how I can help others slow down to think through their actions not only to serve clients but also to maintain AlphaSights’ success and scalability.

One thought on “Speed, Delivery, and Drive: Potential Shortcomings of Short-Term Thinking

  • ksoderlu

    Having worked in higher education my whole career, often dealing with student ‘crises’ – I have always told newer professionals (say area coordinators in residence life) that there are VERY few things that require an IMMEDIATE response. If someone is threatening to harm themselves or others, that is IMMEDIATE, but with many other issues that arise there really is time to stop and think about implications, ramifications…to evaluate different ways of dealing with an issue. It seems you have found that as well. Though reaching quotas and providing expeditious results to clients is important, stopping to think about other items (implications, complications, etc.) is really possible and need not screw up quotas, customer service, etc. Good insights. Sounds like your project will have its challenges, but it sounds like you have a good plan.

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