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Consciously Advising Financial Clients

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of January 1, 2007

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by David A. and Austin S.]
  • Can fine art help clients to connect to a financial planner?
  • Could knowing clients' Character Types help the financial relationship?
  • Could some form of illustrative art improve financial transactions?

Do you know?

[Question 1] I once saw an impressionist painting of New York's financial district and felt very connected to what I saw. In my mind, I saw the hustle and bustle of stock brokers, and investment bankers, moving through the scene. If a financial planner had this kind of art in his office, would it help his clients to more consciously manage their money?
Off the top of my head? Yes. Seeing art which portrays financial life could raise peoples' financial management skills. Know, however, that any type of art wherein people can picture movement can potentially do the same thing.

What I'm saying is, yes, picturing people moving through financial scenes can potentially help clients to be more present during financial planning meetings. At the same time, picturing any kind of movement, such as ballet, or mountain climbing, or even clouds moving across a sky, can accomplish the very same thing. Why? Because "consciousness" is "the skill of picturing movement." Thus, picturing movement of any kind will raise peoples' consciousness. Clients and planners alike.

Equally important is the idea that, for some folks, this same art may decrease their conscious. For instance, while you report that impressionist paintings raise your levels of personal consciousness, for some folks, this same art may generate disconnections. Why? Because any time we witness something which raises unanswered questions in us, we become less conscious. Especially if these unanswered questions pertain to seeing movements we do not recognize. Ergo the range of reactions to Pollacks and Monets.

In fact, a great example would be a Picasso styled ballerina. What I mean is, while some folks might feel drawn into a painting of this sort, others might become so disoriented, they might have to look away.

In effect, this is similar to what happens to people who wear reading glasses, when they look across a room without first removing their glasses. If they try to bring into focus what they see across the room, they can get quite disoriented.

Art can have the same effect on people. Especially if the art requires they personally interpret what are to them unrecognizable movements. Moreover, this potential for visual disorientation holds true regardless of the subject, financial or otherwise.

My point is, choose wisely, grasshopper. The meaning of the art you choose should be visually obvious to your entire clientele. Otherwise you risk making your clients less conscious, rather than more conscious.

[Question 2] Would music in the office help? Could music cause some clients to go into shock? Is a room with windows or a view more, or less, beneficial with regard to keeping clients consciously connected and out of shock?
What you seem to be asking is, to what degree does an office environment consciously connect the people in it? The answer? It depends. On what? On who your clients are. For instance, say you love classical music. However, say the classical music you play is so dark and intense, your clients shut down. Or complain. Or get annoyed. Or feel depressed.

My point is, it is simply human nature that bridges of personal similarity build trust, whereas intensely dissimilar personal interests create distance. So would a room with a view be beneficial? Yes. However, if the view was so spectacular that your clients couldn't stop looking, they might become so unfocused as to impair the personal connections.

In reality, this is why people who know interior design get paid the big bucks. Their skill and talent lie entirely in how well they can help businesses to facilitate personal connections, especially between the office staff and the clients. Translation. The goal of a beautiful interior design should be to raise peoples' levels of consciousness, specifically in ways which enhance personal connections without causing distractions.

Keep in mind, too, that peoples' reactions to office environments will vary based on their Social Priorities. What distracts a Neatness First person can totally engross a Learning First person. Likewise, what confuses a Comfort First person may stimulate a Freedom First person.

Ultimately, then, clean and simple is best. At the same time, because there are so many variables, you should probably design your office interior in ways which first raise your own consciousness. After all, they are coming to you, in essence, because you are more conscious than they are about money. Again, choose wisely.

[Question 3] Would knowing your clients' personality types help? How could a financial advisor use this information? For instance, would knowing the Character Types of a husband and wife help the advisor to communicate to the couple better? How about if the advisor knew his or her own Personality Fractal. Would this help?
Would knowing your clients' personality types help? Yes. In fact, I would love to find the time to design some business related, Personality Fractal matching instruments. How would a financial advisor use this information? Basically, you could tailor your entire approach, including the way you voice your concepts, to peoples' Character Type and their first Social Priority.

For instance, say you are talking to a couple who are both "Understanding First" people. Moreover, say this couple is asking you about investing in a mutual fund. Teaching these folks the basics of how mutual funds work would probably go a long ways toward building trust. However, say these folks are "Freedom First" people. In this case, if you tried to teach them these same basics, they might feel trapped and disconnect. Worst case, they might literally feel like running from the room.

So would the advisor knowing his or her own Personality Fractal help? Actually, yes. A lot, in fact. More so, if the advisor also had a basic working knowledge of Emergence Personality Theory. Especially with regard to the nature of the Inner Layers, including Character Types and Social Priorities.

[Question 4] The last time I opened a bank account, I opened it at the Citibank in Washington Heights (NYC). As I did, I felt myself craving some kind of visual aid to help explain the endless stream of forms the woman handed me. How could some kind of visual interface, Bernie type artwork, or other illustrative pictures be integrated into this part of the world of finance?
Austin, as you're well aware, this is no simple question you've asked here. I'm not even sure I can briefly summarize all the things you'd need to know.

The first thing to consider, of course, would be the average levels of client knowledge. In other words, the kind of artwork you might see as helpful might insult a more financially knowledgeable client. Obviously, then, your first task would be to identify the various levels of client knowledge. In effect, you need to decide who needs visual supports. All people. Some people. And do you decide? Do they?

A second task would be to identify the various financial transactions people might need help picturing; retirement, savings accounts, mutual funds, checking accounts, etc. In each case, identifying a visual fractal to represent this class of transactions would be the first step. After which, you'd need to incorporate this fractal into financially instructive scenes at several levels of financial sophistication.

Yet a third task would be to do all this without disconnecting the client. Either by insulting them or by alienating them. For instance, say you are dealing with a couple where one is financially educated and one is not. Which level of artwork would be appropriate?

All this said, please know, I absolutely agree with you that financially instructive artwork can, and should, be a part of peoples' normal financial lives. Moreover, hopefully, our own Bernie Book will be instrumental in starting this process.

[Question 5] Many financial concepts feel like visual "holes" to me. For instance, I cannot picture what a "self employment pension" is. What I intellectually know is, if I put money in it every year, it will create more money for me over time and that eventually, it could help me to buy a home. My question is, would using some form of art to illustrate and explain financial concepts help clients to connect to, and understand, what these concepts are?
As I said in the previous answer, undoubtedly, visual art could be used to explain financial concepts. The trick, then, would be to translate these financial concepts into recognizable fractal images which would tell visually recognizable stories. In other words, while in theory, visual art could help explain finance to people, in practice, finding the right fractal image can be a bit tricky.

For example, many banks use pictures of piggy banks to represent a whole group of financial transactions. Moreover, because most people can readily identify piggy banks with the essential qualities of saving money, using piggy banks to visually represent savings accounts can help focus peoples' financial consciousness toward saving.

On the other hand, if you were to use seeing dollars fly away as a way to motivate people to open savings accounts, you might only succeed in making them too anxious to even talk about savings.

As for what a "self employment pension" is, a good way to "self instruct" is by looking for a personal picture for each word in the phrase. For instance, what scenes does the word, "employment," raise in you? What pictures does the word "pension" bring to mind? And what does "self" look like to you?

Ultimately, having your own pictures for these and any other words, in fact, is the best way to grasp the underlying concepts.

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