Tony Beaven Brings His Leadership Philosophy to AIB
We’re delighted to announce the newest addition to our growing team of Industry Guest Lecturers – Anthony (Tony) Beaven. Tony is the General Manager and CEO of Elders Financial Planning (EFP), a wealth management dealer group which provides tailored financial advice and long-term strategies to help people achieve a financially secure future. EFP was established in 1995 under the umbrella of Elders Limited, which itself dates all the way back to 1839. Today, EFP has 67 practices across the country and continues to grow.
Tony began his career in Britain, where he was born and raised. He studied engineering, financial planning and leadership, as well as sales psychology before moving to Australia. He’s worked at a number of financial organisations in leadership roles, most recently at ANZ Private, AMP Financial Services and Suncorp, and he holds a Master of Business Leadership.
Tony took up the head position at EFP in January 2016 and admits that at the time, the culture wasn’t what it is today. Putting into practice servant leadership, of which Tony is an advocate, he consulted with his financial advisor network and involved them in the journey to reshape the business.
While it can be impractical to involve everybody in all key decisions, Tony advises, “In any organisational change strategy, you need to empower the diverse talent and subject matter experts at all levels of the business. Don’t move forward with the strategy until you clearly understand the impacts and consequences of any decision you intend to take. If you don’t empower your specialists, you can potentially create many forms of resistance, even with your best staff. This can result in disillusionment and resignation of a talented employee.”
Tony recommends embracing all forms of resistance that may eventuate in any strategic planning process. “You need to listen to the resistors, understand their concerns and be prepared to change your strategy if need be. Don’t dismiss them because resistors are probably the best and the most knowledgeable talent you’ve got, and these same people are the future ambassadors of any change strategy.”
Within the EFP structure, the financial advisors are all self-employed, which in some companies can mean they’re left to their own devices. Not here. EFP offers scholarships to help with their ongoing education, support and mentoring. “We’re like a big family at EFP that supports each other, so I am always available to any adviser at any time,” explains Tony.
It comes as no surprise then that at the core of Tony’s leadership philosophy is a fervent belief in servant leadership. To him, being a servant leader involves helping others to be the best they can be. “It’s about giving back. If I do everything I can to help and support others, then I’m doing my role and watching them develop their capabilities. In turn, they become leaders in their own right which creates tangible benefits for the organisation as well.”
Tony acknowledges that servant leadership is one of many leadership styles that need to be understood by modern day leaders, along with integrity, business ethics, authenticity, compassion and a deep understanding of emotional intelligence. On emotional intelligence, Tony explains, “It is one of the fundamentals. Once you can understand your own emotions, feelings, and the impact they have on others, only then can you truly start to understand your staff’s feelings, behaviours and perceptions of you as a leader.”
We look forward to hearing more of Tony’s insights into leadership, organisational change and strategic management throughout the AIB curriculum. We’re sure our students will benefit from his experience and positive outlook, just as his team at Elders Financial Planning does.
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