C3 Financial Partners

Internal Team Experiences: Going in the Right Direction (Farther and Faster) Using the Compass

We hosted our fourth 15-minute webinar of the “Coffee with C3” series in October, “Going in the Right Direction (Farther and Faster) Using the Compass.” Todd S. Healy, Carolyn J. Smith, and Celeste C. Moya sat down to discuss ways to determine whether or not you are going in the right direction — in life, at work, or with your clients.

Our C3 team talked about how to improve problem-solving processes and client satisfaction using Chuck’s tool: The Red Flag Compass™ (The Compass).

What is The Compass?


The Compass is a tool used to inform the conflict resolution journey of a client or team. At the Northern point of The Compass, a client or individual is “Satisfied” with their current situation.

“Satisfied,” in this case, typically means that the client is not actively moving forward towards their goals. It does not imply that the current situation is without potential problems.

Our job is to be cognizant of all the potential gaps between the current situation and objectives and make them “Aware,” bringing them into the Eastern point of The Compass. Next, we have to understand if those gaps are problems that the client or team wants to “Fix.”

Oftentimes, people only want to address their big problems, not their little ones. It is important here to move forward based on their objectives and not your personal opinion.

If a decision is made to fix the problem, you will move to the Western point of The Compass and model “Options” to help solve the problem. Based on the nature of the situation, a team or individual will explore and select an option, ultimately moving back to “Satisfied” through the implementation of a solution.

The Compass In Action: Internal Team Experiences

Our team at C3 has learned a great deal about The Compass over the last decade working with Chuck. Implementing this tool in our workflows has greatly improved our clarity in progress with both clients and our internal team and financial professionals.

Using the compass with clients enhances our ability to serve them with greater awareness; but beyond that, C3 also uses it internally to track our cases and progress within the team.

For example, if we already met with a client and made them “Aware” of a potential risk or obstacle standing between them and their goals, we categorize them in our CRM as “Aware.” If the client decides to move forward to correct that issue, we would then categorize them as “Fix,” and so on. This identification allows our team to easily understand where the clients are when looking at our reports.

Since C3 also has the pleasure of working with a team of financial professionals. It is not unusual for teams to come together and find that one or two of the financial professionals have been working with the family or members of the family with a specific client and have developed different levels of closeness with the client.

We again use The Compass to help get everyone working together, on the same page, and to check-in with one another about where they view the client on The Compass. In this way, the tool becomes an easy way to make sure everyone has shared all relevant information needed to work collaboratively in the best interest of the client.

Celeste noted that The Compass is used internally to open up opportunities for communication. It is easy for us to assume that other financial professionals are “Aware” of our various areas of expertise, but, in reality, most of them are not.

A few months ago, Todd and Celeste met with a financial professional that has been a partner with the firm for many years. This financial professional was no stranger, but as the team was going through some of the examples of their recent cases, the financial professional shared that he was not “Aware” that C3 could do some of these things, such as: life settlements, premium finance, long-term care, foreign national coverage, or even that we were able to work with clients outside of Texas.

He had always thought of us as life insurance experts but had not really understood the full spectrum of our capabilities. By going through The Compass, it became very clear to us that we needed to do a better job of using this same methodology with our financial professionals. Since then, we’ve been implementing this tool with others.

Ultimately, there are many ways we use The Compass both internally and externally. It is a tool that helps ensure that everyone involved with a client or project is on the same page.

Bringing Awareness to Internal Problems

Our role is to see all the angles, all the gaps. We can make clients “Aware” of potential problems and offer solutions. When they implement a plan, it’s a win-win.

But, sometimes, they still do not want to implement a plan to address it. In fact, statistics show that half of clients and financial professionals do not go forward with solutions. In moments like this, realize that we cannot care more than our clients do.

With that, we encourage you to try The Compass with your own team or clients and let us know how it works for you.

There is no guarantee strategy or process will be successful.

Individuals and businesses, even nonprofits, engage us to identify, prepare for, and manage some of the risks they can't control.

Senior Vice President, Lion Street Private Client Group