Who is just a clever monkey?
Compliance & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Strategic Issues

Who is just a clever monkey?

February 19, 2013

by Tony Vidler

We are witnessing the evolution of a profession at a speed never seen in history.

As with any evolution we aren’t seeing all specimens in the species evolve, adapt and change.  Some primates remain primates forever don’t they?

The new model professional is a rapid thinker, with an amazing capacity for information storage and application.

It is now primarily “speed of thought” and adaptability that separates the evolving professionals from those doomed to a fairly static place in the advisory world.

When I have discussed this with people in the industry they have usually mistaken what I am suggesting at first: their initial reaction is to think I am referring to the innate intelligence of advisers.   Evolution isn’t really about intelligence, it is about adaptability.

Pretty much all financial advisers are intelligent.  Not all intelligent people however are adaptable.  Not all intelligent people who are adaptable are able to do so at the same speed, or quicker, than the fastest intelligent adapters.  If you want to see a demonstration of just really intelligent, then watch the 46 second video on the smartest monkey in the world at the end of this post.  She can do maths and memory retention problems quicker than any human.  So speed of thought, while critical, is not sufficient by itself.  There are some VERY smart monkeys out there….but…they are still monkeys.

Why is speed of thought together with adaptability becoming the main thing that separates the primary professionals of the future from others in the species?

Because information by itself is no longer valuable.

Old world media which is based upon delivery of information is struggling to find its way in a world where anything you could possibly want to know about flies past on your mobile phone – which is always with you – at 140 characters a time on Twitter.  People you thought you’d lost touch with forever can find you in 0.23 seconds via Google. Anyone can find pretty much anything, anytime…while waiting at a bus-stop.  Information alone is freely there for the taking by anyone who wants it.

Connectivity and the ability to engage in a relevant manner with huge numbers of people continually is now a critical differentiator on the evolutionary scale for professionals.  There are other attributes that together will separate the successful professionals of the future, including:

  • Speed of thought, as mentioned above.
  • Adaptability and responsiveness to rapidly changing consumer engagement preferences.
  • Pro-active engagement with thousands of people simultaneously, rather than just a couple of hundred.
  • An unparalleled desire to do things in new ways, and constantly improve and refine what you do.
  • Entrepreneurialism.  It is simply calculated risk-taking – or the willingness to try new things despite the chance of getting it wrong at first

Like it or not (and most advisers still seem to be in the “not like it” category) there are more than a billion people actively engaged on social networking sites with their friends and peers – and businesses – pretty much at any hour of the day around the world.  That’s where future customers are.

The professional who cannot adapt and master relevant engagement on a significant scale with social networking is doomed to just being a clever monkey performing maths tricks.

Footnote:  The world’s smartest monkey:


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