How Strategic Short Cuts Can Make Your Business and Life Easier
Episode 6824th March 2022 • Human-centric Investing Podcast • Hartford Funds
00:00:00 00:26:51

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Dave Ingram discusses how optimizing your physical and social environment can help you obtain better results in business and in life


John Diehl: [:

my daughter yesterday. She's in the process of, you know, she's new

in her career. She's thinking, well, not thinking about she's

planning a move halfway across the country. And yesterday, she was

just so upset that she started to shut down because she felt

overwhelmed. And I don't know about you, but there are times that

happens to me. And when it happens to me, I feel like I got to step

back and kind of break things down into their most foundational

items, right? I need to take it step by step. I need to break things

into like smaller goals and think about how I'm going to accomplish

things. You ever, you ever deal with that same kind of feeling.


Julie Genjac: [00:03:01] Oh, I certainly have John, and and I think

you're absolutely right, finding the breakdown of some of those

smaller details. One step at a time, rather than creating a list of

50 steps, what's the one next step that I need to do? And it's

interesting when I when I speak with financial professionals,

oftentimes they're debating whether they should hire a coach or a

consultant or find it a formal accountability partner for themselves

in their practice. And but oftentimes they'll say, Julie, I'm just

I'm too overwhelmed right now. I'm too busy. I'll do that later. And

I would always argue that that that moment when you feel as

overwhelmed as you've ever been, is exactly the moment that you need

to engage that accountability partner, coach, consultant to help you

break your next step down and make sure that you continue to move

rd. So wholeheartedly agree. [:

John Diehl: [00:03:53] And I'm a I'm a huge proponent of David

Allen's getting things done right, thinking about the very next step.

But what I love about all the kind of all the thought leaders around

productivity and and things like that is that you usually don't

implement their whole system. You just grab an idea here or an idea

there that makes you better, right? It helps you personalize your own

system so that you get something that works for you. But that idea of

what is the very next step, right? What is the next thing I'm going

to do, I think is a really important one when we feel like things are

over our heads a little bit. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:04:32] Absolutely, and I think oftentimes we think

that we have to wipe the slate clean and start fresh in every aspect,

and that obviously is a very overwhelming thought, especially when

you've never been busier. And I think just reminding that it is those

minor adjustments that any of us can make in our professional life or

our personal life or both, that, if implemented and executed

consistently, can truly have a significant impact in the long run.


John Diehl: [00:05:52] Yeah, absolutely. So, Julie, recently we had a

conversation with one of our colleagues, Dave Ingram. Dave is one of

these guys that thinks really hard about his business and about the

business of the financial professionals he does business with. And

Dave has these shortcuts right shortcuts. They're kind of they make

us more efficient. They're small things that you can implement to

make things better in your business and really better in your life.

So I think we should let our listeners in on some of those

conversations we have. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:06:27] Absolutely, let's go chat with Dave.


John Diehl: [00:00:01] Hi, I'm John. [00:00:02][0.8]

Julie Genjac: [:

John Diehl: [00:00:04] We're the hosts of the Hartford Funds

n centric investing podcast. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:00:09] Every other week. We're talking with

inspiring thought leaders to hear their best ideas for how you

can transform your relationships with your clients.


John Diehl: [00:00:19] Let's go.

Julie Genjac: [:

David Ingram, who's regional vice president and advisor consultant

for Hartford Funds. He's responsible for marketing Hartford Funds and

the Hartford Smart 529 in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

David supports financial advisors and their clients with educational

material, client seminars, product expertize and practice management

strategies. In:

marketing director. He's a registered representative of the Hartford

Funds Distributors is FINRA Series six, seven and sixty three

registered and holds his life and variable licenses. Originally from

New Jersey, David attended Lemoyne College, where he received a

bachelor's degree in marketing. He later attended Rutgers University,

where he received a master's degree in business administration. David

currently lives in New Jersey with his wife Elizabeth and their son

Lincoln, and twins Maxwell and Jackson. David, thank you so much for

being here with us today on our human centric investing podcast.

We're excited to talk to you about some of the strategic shortcuts

that you've developed in conjunction with financial professionals to

help them continue to grow their business. So again, welcome and

thank you for being here. [:

Dave Ingram: [00:06:10] Hey, Julie, my absolute pleasure. Thank you

for the introduction and very much looking forward to sharing some

th everyone out there today. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:06:21] Excellent. Well, let's get into it, David,

obviously we've all been through an interesting couple of years with

our world changing so rapidly and as we look forward into the next

year, I think we would all argue that there will continue to be some

changes and and adjustments to process. I'm really excited to hear

about some of the strategies and shortcuts for success as you like to

call them, that you've worked on with financial professionals. And

uld you like to start today? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:06:51] Yeah, well, let me start just by clarifying

this idea of shortcuts to success because I want to make it clear,

and I think many in our audience fully understand there's no

substitute for hard work. So if I can caveat all of this hard work is

a prerequisite for success. But I would argue that there are

shortcuts, there are shortcuts along this journey to success that can

make the process easier, better and more exciting. And so that's

really what I want to build off and share some of these shortcuts

today with our audience. [:

John Diehl: [00:07:30] So, David, when we talk about shortcuts or

when you talk about shortcuts, I think really what you're getting at

is ideas that advisors can use financial professionals can use to

leverage their time. Because let's face it, as our practices grow, I

think we all realize that we can't just do the same things that got

us here because as we continue to grow, gather more assets, we just

don't have enough time. Is that really what kind of started you down

this track in terms of working and observing and reading and kind of

gathering those best ideas from the advisors you work with?


Dave Ingram: [00:08:09] Absolutely, because I was running into these

same challenges in my own business, and I think almost for anybody

that enters this industry, we all enter in and it's pretty simple by

no means easy, but it's simple we all enter in and to some degree

we're trying to meet people, convert prospects to clients and gather

assets. Simple, but not easy. And then what happens for many of those

over time as our clients grow and our assets grow? And for some of

us, our teams grow in overall business grows, so too grows the

complexities of running what was at one time, a simple business. And

so what I found is that for many financial advisers, they don't need

a whole bunch of new ideas thrown at them. It's more of a

streamlining and simplifying of their business. And so that's what

I've continuously worked and focused on is how I can help them

simplify their strategy to magnify the results. And and that's where

I came across these these shortcuts. And if I give you an analogy,

what I mean shortcuts to success. I think back when I was in high

school, I played this game in Nintendo and most people familiar with

the tender, but there was this particular game called Contra and

Contra. The concept of the game. You were this elite commando that

was set out to fight these enemies, and you began this game with

three lives. Now this game was very difficult, very challenging, and

I just don't know of anybody that got from start to finish with the

three lives you were allotted. However, if before the game began, you

typed this cheat code into your game console and this cheat cut code

is etched in my memory even today. Decades later, if you typed an up

up, down, down, left right, left right b a select start, you were

granted ninety nine lives. And by the way, that she code for those

people out there that it drew a smile to their face. It's because you

two were playing Nintendo and Contra in the late 80s, early 90s. But

the point was if you typed in this cheat code this shortcut, you

still had to show up. You still had to play the game, go through the

paces and see it from front to finish. However, you had such an

inherently easier time in winning. You entered the game with such an

elevated level of confidence. You knew I'm going to get through this.

There may be challenges. It may not always be easy, but I'm going to

see this through to the end. And it's no different when it comes to

this journey to success. When you incorporate not necessarily cheat

codes, let's call them shortcuts. When you incorporate these

shortcuts, you play the game with more enthusiasm. Progress delivers

more passion and energy, and it makes this path easier and better to

obtain success. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:11:09] I love that analogy, Dave, although I didn't

play that game. I can just envision what I'm trying to remember is

that cheat code just in case I ever come across that game in the

future. But you know, as I sit here and think about simplifying and

there are a million different things that are flying through my mind

that I myself could even adjust in a very minor way to ultimately, if

implemented and executed, could have a positive result in the spirit

of trying to simplify our list. Do you have any themes or buckets

that we could put any of these shortcuts into as we think about what

might work for our own day in terms of, you know, short cutting and

e as productive as possible? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:11:51] Absolutely, Julie. Let's think about this

overarching theme, let's talk about this on the macro. What we're

going to be getting into and discussing here is ultimately the

greatest shortcut to success is optimizing your environments to

obtain better results. And we can talk about different environments.

But what we're going to be talking about, I think, is so often

overlooked, misunderstood, underutilized. And if we can bring this to

the forefront, we can help people create environments that are more

conducive to their success. And again, will make that path to success

easier and better. And you know, let me just start with this

environment that everybody should be focusing on if they're not

already, it's your physical environment. You know, I've heard this

and I think many people would attest to this. We're in an age where

we are all living, working and operating in what I've heard referred

to as the distraction economy. We are in the distraction economy, and

I think this pandemic that we've all been mired in has just further

magnified the distractions in our personal and business lives. So if

you are just operating passively in an environment around you, you

may not even realize how much drag and resistance is being created

not necessarily by you, but for you. Because of this environment

chock full of distractions and interruptions, which leads to starting

and stopping and second guessing and changes in directions. So there

are ideas you can do, much like typing in that cheat code into the

game console before the game begins. There are things you can do in

your physical environment that will lead to more focus, more flow,

more productivity, which will allow you to become more successful in

a shorter period of time. [:

John Diehl: [00:13:56] So, Dave, let's talk about that physical

environment, I mean, I remember when the pandemic started, right? I

had a corner of the living room. My daughter had the other part of

the dining room. The two dogs had the run of the house. The

landscaper oftentimes would come at the most inopportune times. So I

think if anything, it accentuated the need for physical space. But

can you give us a couple of your top ideas towards maximizing that

physical environment? What are you talking about there?


Dave Ingram: [00:14:25] Yes, so here's a top idea. Let's begin with

technology. Right, and if we think back to when technology decades

ago was introduced in and many of our lives, the concept behind

technology was supposed to be a good thing. You know, we got

technology, we have computers and it's going to allow us to become

more productive, more efficient and ultimately put more time back

into our personal lives, right? We're going to get finished our work

thanks to technology in quicker periods of time. But it's almost done

the opposite. You know, technology, we don't we no longer just leave

work in the office, right, like these devices become vices. It's the

iPhone, the iPad, the laptop, the computers like we know we need to

unplug to truly recharge. But because technology is so readily

available, becomes that much more difficult to do just that, you

know, so we have to think about creating an environment not where

we're trying to rely on willpower and discipline to get us through

and allow us to focus, but rather we mute all the sirens that are

around us. You know, the incessant distractions from the pings of the

text messages, the dings of your e-mails hitting your inbox, the

rings of the inbound on schedule, phone calls? You know, if we're not

careful, we can spend an entire day being busy. Answering to the

allure of the sirens, but not necessarily being productive, not

le in terms of our business. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:16:05] Makes so much sense, Dave, as we've sat

here, I've had six of those on various devices pop up, just as you

were describing that and typically my I would wander and I would, you

know, think, Well, I better open that email. I haven't heard from

that person in a while or ooh, that feels urgent. But if I'm in the

middle of a project, all of a sudden my attention is completely taken

away, and then it might even get worse from there. So do you suggest

that we turn off those notifications or for a period of time per day?

Or what kind of structure can you provide in terms of a best practice

that might help all of us keep that focus and really implement that

shortcut for success? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:16:45] Julie, something you said that was

interesting, and it's a heck of a segue way. You know, if you're in

the middle of a project, that's absolutely when you should be

silencing the sirens, when you're entering in to some of these more

cognitively demanding activities that truly are the needle movers,

these are the high value activities these projects you refer to. Yes,

you want to create an environment that is conducive to that focus

that is necessary. You know, I had an entrepreneur once tell me. If

you're checking email. At random times of the day, it's a not so

subtle reminder that you didn't know what to do next, so you wanted

to default mode, so you think about this. Although we're talking in

themes and on the macro, I want to make sure we give actionable ideas

that can immediately implemented by our audience here today. Let me

give you one such example. We all have that email pop up notification

on our computer. I would strongly encourage you if you have not done

so already, disable that email pop up notification. We really don't

need a notification popping up incessantly throughout our day,

reminding us of something that we already know. We've got mail,

right? Here's the only email pop up notification you need the rest of

your life. You've got mail as you're listening this podcast. There's

emails coming in next week. You have e-mails, next month you have

emails, so you don't need this distraction popping up. And again, it

seems so innocent. Well, let me just take a quick glance at. But, you

know, every so often it's a name that catches us, it's a topic that.

And before you know it, you're sucked into that vortex, you're drawn

into that that black hole. And your research supports this. Research

shows that it can take 25 minutes or more to get refocused on that

with which you were working on prior to said distraction. So we only

need a couple of these pop ups to rear their ugly head. Get us thrown

off course before you know it. Our entire morning or afternoon was

just taken away from us. [:

John Diehl: [00:18:58] Dave, before we depart the physical

environment because I have a couple of questions on some other things

that you and I have talked about. Any other tips for that physical

nment aside from technology? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:19:13] Yeah. And let me actually take a step back

because we're talking about ideas. But let me reinforce the

importance on why we need to take action. Why? You know, there was a

gentleman, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, he said. If we don't create and

control our environment, our environment creates and controls us. And

I think that's what technology does. It can control us if we allow

it. But let me reinforce why this is so important to take the time to

control your physical environment and making sure you're working in

an optimal environment. There was a study done by McKinsey and

Company, and they were focusing on top executives. This was a 10 year

study, and they were examining their flow and productivity. And what

they found with these execs is when they were operating in a flow

state, they had up to 500 percent more productivity in a flow state

than in normal circumstances where they're being interrupted and

there's distractions. So imagine getting the equivalent of 10 hours

of work done in two. That's what Flo can do for people. So this is a

shortcut if you create and control your physical environment in a

manner that's conducive to your success. It can have a huge impact on

your effectiveness and productivity. And if you don't do this, this

is what it feels like for me to operate in one of those environments.

Imagine running a marathon where your shoelaces came undone every 10

to 15 minutes. Right. Like, you could still finish that race, but

understandably, it's going to take longer. More frustrating, not only

physical energy, it's just going to suck you drive your mental energy

and it's no different than this marathon of business. You know, if

we're not silencing these signs, if we're not controlling our

environment, if we're not making sure technology is being used for us

rather than against us. It's like your shoe laces are come undone,

then done done every 10 to 15 minutes throughout your workday.


Julie Genjac: [00:21:27] That makes so much sense, Dave, and I have

so many ideas for myself already that I and that I need to work on

after we after we chat here today. I'm curious, you know, we talked

about the physical environment. I know in past conversations you and

I have had you've talked about the social environment and the

importance of that on our success, ultimately in the long run. What

would be some guidance or some some points or best practices on that

social environment that you would be willing to share with us today?


Dave Ingram: [00:21:57] Glad you said this usually because this is

another shortcut. You know, we get that physical environment in check

that can have a great impact. But another environment we really want

to examine and focus on is our social environment. This, too, is a

shortcut on this path to success. And there's an old saying and many

people familiar with this, you are the average of the five people you

spend the most time with. So look around you and see who makes up

your social circle. I view my social circle as a thermostat, right?

So let's say I'm playing this game of business in life at 80 degrees,

but the people I surround myself with are operating at 90, 95, 100

degrees or above. They can't help but bring me up. So you want to

make sure that you're surrounding yourself with people that are

playing this game of business and life at a higher level. And now I

know this pandemic has made it challenging to. Build off of what I

call, you know, not what I call, but what is the proximity principle?

The proximity principle is the closest you are to someone, the

greater impact you can have on. Well, the pandemic for some of us has

inhibited our ability to physically be in people's presence. The next

best thing I found. If you can't be in someone's physical presence.

Read the books they've written, listen to the podcast they've been

interviewed on, watch the YouTube videos. They've produced because

what happens if you have full immersion? You become conversationally

proficient in the language of success, and when you surround yourself

with these types of individuals, it's not long before you change your

mindset, you change your thoughts, you change your behavior, you

change your actions and then it won't be long thereafter before you

see a change in your results as well. So, Julie, I'm so glad you

brought that up because your social environment, that too, is another

shortcut, a strategy that can allow people to scale.


John Diehl: [00:24:11] So, Dave, one thing I just want to clarify for

everyone when when you talk about social environment, you're not just

talking about that, that life people who you interact with day to

day. You're also talking about content providers, authors,

podcasters, YouTubers, whoever it may be thought leaders that kind of

change the way you think. It maybe give you new habits to think

about. I'm sensing that it's a mix of both, both the people you

surround yourself with, but also kind of those thought leaders and

the people that make you think about your business. Is that right?


Dave Ingram: [00:24:46] Absolutely. I go back to that cheat code,

when I was a kid, type it into my game controller. UpUpDownDown left,

right, left right. Select Start. Here’s a Cheat code. I shared this

with my nephew. He's in his young twice and he and I have great

dialog, great conversations. And I told him, I said, Listen, if you

read 50 books, 50 books in the genre of personal and or business

development, you will be wildly successful. And the reason is because

again, he will be conversation with proficient in the language of

success and most of his kids credit. He is doing just that in the

strides I've watched him make in such a short period of time. He's in

a young 20s today. If there was an NFT of this kid, I'd be the first

one in line to buy it because I'm betting on him because he's

applying this shortcut to success. And I'm marveling and getting to

watch my young nephew make unbelievable leaps into this, this pursuit

of success on his own personal journey. And it would be no different

there in our audience today. [:

John Diehl: [00:25:53] You know, Dave, I was laughing earlier because

when you set about that, Cheat code, UpUpDownDown, whatever it was,

you were laughing because you said, you know, many played those

games. I was laughing because you just blew my mind. But the nice

thing about these shortcuts that you're talking about is it doesn't

require us to rethink our whole system. These are simple things which

oftentimes we take for granted. But if we just put some intentional

thought to them, maybe we'd find something that just shifting

something a little bit can make a big difference in our business.


Dave Ingram: [00:26:26] John? Absolutely, these are simple things.

The maddening irony is simple is complex, right? Mark Twain said it

best when he said, I wanted to write a short story, but I don't have

time. So I wrote a long one instead. These are simple concepts, but

it's the start that stops most people. Like for the audience that is

out there today, I implore you, if any of this resonated with you.

Take a first step. Take one simple step. It's the start that stops

most people. It's the consistency that separates the best from the

rest. So, you know, we know complexity is the enemy of execution,

therefore, let's keep it simple by keeping it simple, as you were

talking about John. Keeping it simple will increase the likelihood

that we actually get started, and by making sure it stays simple,

it'll increase the likelihood we stick to it over time.


Julie Genjac: [00:27:26] Excellent guidance, Dave, thank you so much

for being here with us today and and sharing some of those simple

shortcuts and. And I think you're absolutely right. When do you want

to get better if it's right now, then start immediately. Don't wait

till the beginning of next week, next month, next quarter, we can all

get better right now. Thank you again for being with us today on our

n centric investing podcast. [:

Dave Ingram: [00:27:49] Thanks so much, my pleasure, Julie and John,

thoroughly enjoyed it. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:24:37] Thanks for listening to the Hartford Funds.

Human Centric Investing podcast, if you'd like to tune in for more

episodes. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts

inkedIn, Twitter or YouTube. [:

John Diehl: [00:24:51] And if you'd like to be a guest and share your

best ideas for transforming client relationships, email us a guest

booking at Hartford Funds dot com. We'd love to hear from you.


Julie Genjac: [00:25:02] Talk to you soon.