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Look outward, say conference keynoters

By Susan Weiner



Looking outward was a theme of the NAPFA Spring Conference’s three keynote sessions.

That theme was most explicit in “The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves,” presented by peak-performance expert Chris McIntyre. An outward mindset takes into account other people’s feelings, capabilities, and goals, he said. In contrast, an inward mindset sees people as vehicles to be used or as obstacles. Outward organizations have members who collaborate, innovate, and are engaged, while inward organizations tend to be “blind,” siloed, blame others, and have poor morale, said McIntyre.

McIntyre shared an example of a SWAT team member who felt tempted to shove a citizen who refused to sit down as directed during a raid. However, taking an outward view, the officer asked the man why he wouldn’t sit. He discovered the man wasn’t able to sit normally because of recent surgery, so he found a creative solution that allowed the man to sit safely. This demonstrates the importance of listening deeply.


For her part, consultant Kelly Decker urged attendees during “Communicating Is a Contact Sport” to focus on readers, not themselves, in their communications. Decker used an x- and y-axis graph to categorize communications in terms of their self-centeredness versus audience-centeredness and how well they connect emotionally with audiences. Because people “buy on emotion and justify on facts,” she urged people to project as much warmth as possible.





In “Creating Wow Service Moments,” former Disney executive Louie Gravance stressed the importance of connecting with clients through a PLAN. The P of plan stands for purpose, the emotional underpinning of what you sell; L for the language you use to express that purpose; A for the actions that you and your clients see; and N for the shared narrative you create together.

Clients were also central to “Using Digital Assets to Gain Clients and Assets,” presented by Ric Edelman of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals. Almost two-thirds of U.S. adults are “crypto curious,” so if you’re not discussing digital assets with your clients, you risk losing them to someone who tackles that topic. He argued that blockchain is as important a technological advance as the wheel, and he recommended a 1% allocation to digital assets, adding that such an allocation won’t harm your client financially but could materially help portfolio performance. In an email following cryptocurrencies’ post-conference decline, Edelman said, “I affirm my recommendation. Also, the recent decline creates opportunities for rebalancing and reinforces the value of dollar cost averaging.”

In “DEI and the Bottom Line: Measuring Progress, Improving Performance, Increasing Productivity,” consultant James Pogue emphasized that diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts must be led by an organization’s leaders, not just its diverse employees. For those who feel out of their depth on this complex topic, Pogue said expertise is not necessary to lead, especially when you’re willing to learn more. As part of this effort, it’s important to take stock of your thoughts about diversity, equity, and bias, he said.

If you missed the presentation by University of Georgia’s Professor Kristy Archuleta on burnout, learn some of her many tips in “How advisors can fight burnout,” her article from the July 2021 NAPFA Advisor.

Gain insights into conference speaker and NAPFA member Mike Walther’s approach to special needs planning in “What’s so special about special needs planning?” in the April 2022 NAPFA Advisor.

Remember, if you registered for the in-person conference or the Virtual Experience, May 17–19, you’ll be able to watch recordings of conference sessions. Don’t miss the valuable information and CE credits you can gain from the comfort of your office or home!

If there are specific conference speakers or topics that you would like to see in the NAPFA Advisor, please let me know at Your input helps us tailor the magazine to your interests.