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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

Our coaching activities have spiked in the past several months, as teams have been hitting the pause button to consider their messaging. Despite our now socially distant environment, I still ask this question:

"If I made your acquaintance at an industry conference and subsequently, had a chance conversation with your partner, would it be obvious you are both on the same team?"

If the answer is "not sure" or "no," this suggests that you are not aligned on your messaging. Galvanizing around tight, distinctive messaging is not easy, which is why so many teams sound like a working group rather than a cohesive enterprise.

My advice? Shed thinking about "what we do" for our clients, as this starting point propagates the sameness disease throughout our industry — holistic, comprehensive and, my all-time favorite, "comprehensively holistic."

Instead, start with your belief systems. Can your team agree on a set of core beliefs or isms? Harmonizing on isms can be an invaluable first step to aligning on messaging.

Bottom line: If you are looking to build a "team in harmony," aligning on messaging just may be the most powerful place to begin.