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Is Your Financial Advisor Asking The Right Questions?

I recently returned from the annual Fidelity Investments Executive Forum held this year in Naples, Florida. The venue was beautiful, but the real gem was the outstanding agenda packed into 2 short days. While there were many excellent presentations and some important takeaways, one especially stood out to me. On day one Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, gave a talk entitled “The CEO’s Dilemma: Asking the Right Questions.” In it, he emphasized the need for leaders and organizations to ask the right questions in order to better anticipate change, respond to it effectively, and better serve their customers. To stress this point, he shared a very powerful example.

As principal designer for GE Healthcare, Doug Dietz was visiting the radiology department at a children’s hospital to meet with staff about a new CT scanner he had designed that was recently installed. As he was standing there talking, a technician said that she had a patient coming in for a scan and asked for him to step outside for a few minutes. As the child approached the room with her parents, he noticed she was weeping. The father then bent down and told his daughter that they had talked about this and it was something she had to do. She just became more upset resulting in the need to have her sedated for the scan. In seeing this, Doug went from feeling like the proud papa of his new machine to a complete failure. His focus in designing the machine was on how to get the best scan with almost no thought given to how the end user or customer would feel about the experience. It so moved his heart he knew he had to solve this problem. But how? By asking the right questions. His team began asking questions of families, children, and experts in child psychology to come up with a vision for the solution. The result? The GE Adventure Series of CT/MRI scanners. These scanner rooms have child-themed adventures ranging from pirates to camping. This commitment to better serving the customer, by asking questions to gain an understanding of how to improve the experience, resulted in a dramatic reduction of sedations. But not only that. During a visit to one of these newly installed child-themed scanning rooms, Doug was chatting with the parents of a little girl who had just had a scan. The little girl kept tugging on her mom’s shirt. Finally, the mom turned to her daughter asking what she needed. The little girl said, “Can we come back tomorrow?” Doug began to cry. He looked over to the technician who was also shaking and crying. Doug later apologized to the technician for becoming emotional, but she told him this experience had reminded her why she got into healthcare; something she had since forgotten - to help children. You can watch a presentation Doug gave in 2012 in this 20 minute video.

A client-centric organization dedicated to asking the right questions can have a powerful impact. We at PYA Waltman are always learning and thinking about new ways we can better serve you, our clients. Our purpose is not centered on investment solutions or wealth planning. It is more fundamental and important than that. Our purpose is to help each one of you, our clients, reach your unique goals. This is why we ask questions that help us get to know you. Not just the value of your portfolio, but your hopes and dreams for your financial future.