Sharing Some Rocky Mountain Kool-Aid
I just returned from another fantastic Rocky Mountain experience: four jam-packed days, over two conferences, hosted by the Purposeful Planning Institute.
This has become an annual trek to Denver for me, which will surely continue for years to come.
Four Going on Five
I first attended PPI’s “Rendez Vous” in 2014 and returned again the following year. Last year, they added something new, an additional conference called “Fusion Collaboration”.
I decided to do both in 2016, and I jumped in with both feet again this year.
There was some confusion again, on the part of some attendees at either or both this week, about the difference between these two conferences.
I came up with an analogy that got a great response from everyone with whom I shared it, and the title of this post gives you a clue as to what it’s about.
Try Some of this Great Kool-Aid
Fusion Collaboration, the newer portion, is aimed at technical professionals who deal with business families, and families of wealth, and its goal is to introduce these more transactional folks to some of the other, deeper ways that these clients need to be served.
The presenters at Fusion are mostly specialists who work on the less technical aspects of wealth transfer, in what I like to call the “family circle”.
Many people used to call these the “soft side” (and still do), but now it’s more often dubbed “relational”, or “family dynamics”.
Fusion Collaboration is PPI’s attempt to get them to try Purposeful Planning Kool-Aid and “get them hooked”.
Let’s Swap Kool-Aid Recipes
By Wednesday evening, Fusion was wrapping up, and many of the lawyers and accountants and transactional specialists were preparing to depart, only to be replaced by a fresh crop of attendees.
The people who came for Rendez Vous, for this, its seventh incarnation, didn’t need to be enticed to drink the proverbial Purposeful Planning Kool-Aid.
Most of these people already subscribe to “Kool-Aid Aficionado” magazine, and they bring their Kool-Aid mixing and serving tips and recipes to share with their friends.
Besides the relational experts, many traditional transactional professionals who’ve become Kool-Aid fans also attend this conference regularly.
What’s In this Stuff?
If you’re curious about the main ingredient in this enticing beverage, it was nicely summarized by PPI’s founder, John A. Warnick, in one slide, which read:
Purposeful Planning = “Client-centric” + “Family-centric”
Most professional advisors already recognize the importance of putting the client’s needs and desires at the heart of wealth transition planning,
They also usually understand (in theory, at least) how important it is to bring next generation family members into the picture, preferably early on.
Many of those who’ve traditionally driven the discussions around the pieces of wealth and business continuity, and transitions to the next generation, would consider themselves the primary drivers of this important work.
That may be true in the strict “transactional” sense, but more and more families are demanding a more holistic approach, which naturally involves a host of other experts from different, perhaps “secondary” domains.
Ideally, a collaborative group, or better yet, a team of advisors, will work together to figure out and design a complete inter-generational solution, along with the client family.
In order to do this work efficiently, and effectively, it really helps if the advisor team can work as collaborative equals.
Who Are They?
To give you an example of the types of specialists I’m talking about, here are some words and titles from some of the business cards I collected this week.
- Legacy Advisor
- Independent Trustee
- Family Enterprise Advisor
- Gift Planner
- Communications Specialist
- Family Dynamics
- Philanthropy Consultant
- Family Legacy Advisor
And I know I’ve easily missed at least a handful of specialties.
July in Colorado
After the opening dinner of Rendez Vous, as a table exercise, the “Elders” in attendance were asked to share with the “Tenderfeet” why we keep coing back every year.
At my table, most agreed it was the people, all of whom seem to come for the right reasons, i.e. to serve families better.
It’s also a great place to fill up on information, ideas, best practices, contacts, and lots of hugs too.
Oh, and Kool-Aid, of course!
Hoping to see you in Denver in 2018.
Would you like a glass, or a whole pitcher?
Links to previous Rendez Vous blogs: