In this first article of 2019, Ryan Binkley would like to wish all readers a very Happy New Year and wish you well for 12 months of progression and prosperity.
To kick this off, Ryan would like to take things back to the final few weeks of 2018. The Generational Equity Christmas Luncheon is always one of the highlights of the year for the firm, providing the ideal opportunity to celebrate the year’s achievements and look forward to what’s next for the company.
In 2018, Generational Equity:
- Won the prestigious Investment Banking Firm of the Year from The M&A Advisor for the third consecutive year
- Opened new offices in New York, Cleveland, Columbus and Austin
- Set a new internal record for deals completed, beating 2017’s record-setting year
- Surpassed $4 billion in wealth transferred to our clients over the years
Alongside these accomplishments, Ryan Binkley also was delighted to single out those who best exemplified Generational Equity’s core values in 2018:
- Golden Rule: Bob Axtell
- Unity: Musa Jagne
- Integrity: Norman Schulman
- Diligence: Dave Heymann
- Excellence: Carlos Torres
Making Constant Improvements in 2019
It is this attitude and pursuit of excellence that Ryan wants to focus on now. During the Christmas Luncheon, Ryan spoke about the work of one of his current favorite authors and motivational speakers, James Clear.
James Clear is a self-improvement specialist, who dives deeply into the importance of good habits and human behavior. Ryan picked up a copy of James’s best-selling book “Atomic Habits,” which is a guide to making 1 percent improvements to your life every single day, and how over time these good habits lead to substantial leaps in ability, well-being and success.
As Clear notes in Atomic Habits and his many, many articles on the topic of habits, numerous people are naturally inclined towards instant gratification – they want to be great at what they do and they want to be it now!
Wanting to be the best in your chosen field is a great attitude to have, and something Ryan Binkley and the leadership team at Generational Equity have always instilled in their team’s development. That’s a big reason why several members of the firm have been singled out as Emerging Leaders in the M&A industry.
But, wanting to reach that goal immediately when that’s not how things typically work can lead to people becoming demotivated and frustrated, which hampers productivity. Clear instead promotes a concept of “marginal gains.” By improving by a percent point per day and no further, after a year you’ll be 37 times better than you started.
“In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse… But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits
Applying Marginal Gains to the M&A Industry
Ryan Binkley was keen to present this message by Clear at the Generational Equity Christmas Luncheon, as he strongly feels it will improve the firm even more.
For those currently working in the M&A industry, interested in joining it, or working with a firm in another capacity, applying an attitude toward continuous improvement may make a world of difference in what you achieve and how you achieve it.
Ryan has discussed the topic of nurturing talent in M&A in a previous blog. But, now coupled with the knowledge he has gained from James Clear’s excellent analysis, he has some tips below to help both burgeoning M&A professionals and the managers supporting their development:
1 – Start the day on the right foot
It might be a cliché, but your morning routine plays a big role in the day’s achievements. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous – for some it will be making a cup of coffee, others a 10-minute jog around the block. The important thing is doing something that gets your mind and body in gear for the day’s activities, and overcoming the initial challenges of implementing this routine. Encourage your team to instill the morning habits that will enhance their abilities for the day ahead.
2 – Make time for mentorship
Generational Equity has a longstanding culture for mentoring, where our most experienced professionals provide the guidance, direction and leadership for those new to our processes and M&A in general. These positive lessons help set the helpful habits that has supported Generational’s growth over the years, and ensures that today’s recruits will be tomorrow’s leaders for the firm and the entire M&A industry.
3 – Set regular goals
As Ryan noted in a prior blog, Generational Equity not only sets consistent goals for our team to focus on, but works closely with staff of all ages and experience to determine unique milestones based off strengths, weaknesses and ambitions. Clear uses the analogy of a small boat – the goals you set are the rudder, while the oars are the process you use to get there. That’s why Generational is diligent in explaining and guiding the development of its team, showing the course to reaching each member’s objectives.
4 – Analyze each day
It’s not enough to set goals – you must measure them over time. At Generational, every member of staff is encouraged to analyze each day, each meeting, each transaction they are part of. Ryan and other key managing directors share important financials and performance indicators with members of the team, giving them a sense of the big picture and establish areas for future development. It is this focus on constant improvement that ensures Generational’s team is never complacent, but determined to make each new year stronger than the last.
5 – Align your environment to your goals
Establishing an environment in your company that emphasizes constant improvement is crucial. At Generational Equity, Ryan maintains this with core values that include a focus on building on every aspect of work, from developing skills to building stronger relationships with clients. Core values are not simply there for show.
Make 2019 a Year for Progress
James Clear’s suggestions for continuous improvement can apply to all areas of life and business, but Ryan Binkley feels they have a key place in M&A. This is because, not only do those working in the industry need to focus on developing their own skills and understanding, but they also need to manage the expectations of clients throughout the process of exiting their business.
In many situations, clients selling their company can be anxious to complete a transaction at the earliest convenience, which means they lose out on maximizing the value of their exit. What Ryan and the team at Generational Equity instead preach is the importance of a step-by-step approach, with each action gradually building towards a deal that achieves an optimal value and satisfied clients.
Ryan is looking towards another year of growth for Generational Equity, with some significant leaps forward that include the opening of a new main office. He hopes this article will influence the steps you take to make small but consistent improvements in the months ahead, so you too end 2019 stronger and more successful than you began it.
And, a big thanks to James Clear for providing the inspiration for this article. You can learn more about him and view his work on establishing positive habits at jamesclear.com.