Support Team: Initial Meeting

The initial meeting with a new support-team member is vitally important. A good connection and aligned values means everything. Here are some ideas for a checklist to help increase the odds of a successful first meeting.

In this article we’ll share several key steps for successfully developing and gaining the most benefit from your support team members as well as ideas you can employ to develop ongoing win-win relationships. We will also share ideas on learning how to achieve increased results while working within a defined structure.

This checklist will support you in determining the effectiveness of your trading support team—a key factor in becoming the trader you strive to be.

In a previous article entitled, “Developing Your Support Team,” we addressed the importance of having a trading support team. We also touched upon the various types of support you should have. In this post we will outline a format for conducting a productive initial supportive team meeting.

This meeting is essential for several reasons:

Confirm your core support team members for 2015.

Specify the roles and responsibilities of each support team member.

Define the benefits your team members will receive for supporting you.

Share your goals for 2015, and understand theirs.

Clarify the goals of your support team as a whole.

Outline the problem areas you need help with and to determine who can best help you with specific issues.

Provide each team member with tools for planning, managing, tracking and refining your defined team implementation processes.

Minimize or eliminate doubts and to clarify what you expect from one another.

Identify ways to continually escalate a win-win relationship for all involved.

If you have never set up a support team before, there’s no better time to get started. Don’t let the above intimidate you. You can get started with one simple step: make a mental survey of potential team members based on your present circumstances.

Granted, the process of formalizing a support team can seem daunting at first. You will indeed have to plan and moderate one-on-one meetings with key team members. You will also have to plan meetings for the entire group.

Asking for help may not be in your wheelhouse, but keep in mind that you lead by example.

More important than the amount of work involved is the attitude with which you tackle the work. Your team will pick up your subconscious cues. Chances are good they want to support you. Let them help.

Remember: It’s your plan. They are your support team, and you are the team leader. You are the key.

The Support Team Meeting

The following checklist to help you build your support team. The overall goal is to work together to achieve the results you need, and then to turn around and provide concrete benefits to all team members. Before the meeting:

Communicate in writing your purpose for formalizing a support team

Explain how you will use meetings to formalize the team’s structure

Communicate the benefits you see for everyone involved

Ask prospective members to provide written questions prior to the meeting

Share the questions with everyone involved prior to the meeting

Here is a list of questions you can expect to answer:

What do I get out of being on your support team?

What do you expect/want from me as a team member?

What type of specific issues do you expect me to help with?

Who else is on the team, and how will we work together?

I’m not a trader, how can I help you?

Prepare an opening statement that summarizes your trading style. Don’t just tell your support team members how you trade; tell them why you trade, too.

Next, explain outright what’s working and what’s not working with your trading, and explain how you think you can improve upon. Close your opening statement by providing examples of how you would like to be supported. Pick a one or two of your team members and provide examples of how they could help you based on their personal talents, strengths and experience.

Once everyone is clear on your background, needs and wants—and the ‘whys’ behind them—you now discuss potential roles and responsibilities. At this time, share your expec-tations and timelines. Wrap up this section of the meeting by explaining what each mem-ber stands to gain by taking part.

Important: be clear about your expectations from the get-go.

Next, communicate with your prospective team members just how they can support you in trading. You should also discuss methods of resolving issues as they arise in such a way that the team’s spirit is lifted rather than deflated.

Note: whoever is taking minutes should make a list of all suggestions made and should provide this list to all participants.

Next, conduct a brainstorming session and come up with solid, measurable goals (process and outcome) that the group should aim to achieve. Establishing achievable and measurable goals is essential to maintaining team motivation. Also, when conducting a brainstorming session, it’s important that you establish the guidelines for the session beforehand. For instance, you will find it helpful to discourage members from judging one another when free-associating.

For your brainstorming session to be effective, all members must feel safe to suggest ideas, no matter how outlandish. Often, within unusual concepts is the seed of a brilliant idea. At the same time, you want to push your team members to come up with as many ideas as possible. Go for “just one more idea.” Finally, set a time limit and don’t stop until you reach it.

The final step of your meeting is to summarize the proceedings in writing. Attach a personal thank you to each email or memo with a reminder to RSVP for the next meeting.

Note: Even if you only have one support team member, you will find this structure advantageous. Structure promotes productivity. Furthermore, this structure conveys the importance of your request for help and your respect for your support team member.

Until next time . . .