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Transforming a Financial Services Firm Through Technology With Geoff Moore

Geoff Moore

Geoff Moore is the CIO of Valmark Financial Group, a financial services agency working exclusively with entrepreneurial wealth management firms to meet its clients' unique and ever-changing needs. He leads a team of experts who use technology to solve business challenges and manage the cybersecurity of Valmark and its member firms. Geoff has over 20 years of experience in technology and financial services and was selected to the Surge Ventures Industry Council for his expertise in cybersecurity for financial service firms in 2022.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Geoff Moore talks about Valmark Financial Group

  • What’s the hardest part about cybersecurity today?

  • What Valmark prioritizes internally to better serve its clients

  • How to measure success in the cyber world

  • How Geoff got into technology and helped Valmark grow

  • Building operational excellence and customer experience

  • Geoff shares his thoughts about AI

  • Tips for having an innovative team

In this episode…

The financial service industry is constantly evolving. So what can you do as an independent financial advisor to keep up and serve your clients?

According to Geoff Moore, wealth management firms can partner with agencies to help them achieve operational excellence, mitigate risks, and grow. Since the whole industry is evolving, these agencies also need experts to help them better serve these advisors. As a technology and financial services guru, Geoff shares how he supports his company in maneuvering the tech world to grow and become a support service for the industry’s top tier of financial advisors.

In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker sits down with Geoff Moore, CIO of Valmark Financial Group. Geoff explains how Valmark helps people and what it prioritizes internally to serve its clients better. He also shares how he got into technology, how he supports the growth of Valmark, and the correlation between building operational excellence and customer experience.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This is brought to you by Quik!

At Quik!, we provide forms automation and management solutions for companies seeking to maximize their potential productivity.

Our vision is to become the leading forms automation company by making paperwork the easiest part of every transaction.

Meanwhile, our mission is to help the top firms in the financial industry raise their bottom line by streamlining the customer experience with automated, convenient solutions.

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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.

Richard Walker 0:12

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins where I talked to business leaders about how they help their customers win, and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Past guests and included Marc Butler of Marc Butler Consulting and Blake Wood have Lumiant. Today I'm speaking with Geoff Moore, the CIO for Valmark Financial Group. And today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forums automation, when the last step to earning your clients business requires filling out paperwork, don't ruin a good relationship with a bad experience. Instead, get Quik Forms to make filling out forms a great experience and the easiest part of your transaction, visit to get started. Before I introduce today's guest, I want to give a big thank you to Clint Casper of Beacon Strategies, go check out their website at and the amazing industry roundtables that we host which is where I met Geoff. So now I'd like to introduce Geoff as the Chief Information Officer of Information Technology for the Valmark Financial Group, Geoff Moore leads a team of experts who use technology to solve business challenges, and manage the cybersecurity of Valmark and its member firms. He has served on multiple industry committees such as FSI as operations tech Council. In 2020, the Valmark mycase team was a runner-up for tech Team of the Year for the Greater Cleveland partnership. In 2022 he was selected to the Surge Ventures Industry Council for his expertise in cybersecurity, for financial service firms. That's awesome. When he's not testing out the latest technology, and I know he loves to he loves CrossFit hiking and listening to his children perform music. Geoff, welcome to The Customer Wins.

Geoff Moore 1:59

Thanks, Rich, thank you for that introduction.

Richard Walker 2:01

Okay, now, if you haven't heard this podcast before I talk with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they built and deliver a great customer experience. And the challenge is to grow in their own company. Geoff, I want to understand your business a little better. How does your company help people?

Geoff Moore 2:16

I worked with a Valmark Financial Group, we're an independent broker-dealer, or a broker in general agency. So we help people that are independent financial advisors, help their clients with better financial plans, better products to help just make overall financial services better for them.

Richard Walker 2:33

That's great. I don't know if you knew, but I used to be a financial advisor. And I love that focus on helping people because I think as humans that is in our nature to focus on how do we help others? I don't think we can live without the dependency on others, you are on the role of Chief Information Officer, what is unique about that, and how you help Valmark help those advisors and clients.

Geoff Moore 2:54

Yeah, so I kind of think of like three buckets that I focus on when I'm thinking about how to help Valmark and help those end financial advisors and even end financial clients. So the first thing kind of easiest, is just operational excellence, right? Taking the kind of the boring out of, or the tedium out of financial services. I mean, you work in forms, you understand how many different forms and data points there are, and filling out that kind of information manually and having manual processes, that's not a good use of anyone's time, right. So we try to focus on things that make it easier to do business, both with Valmark for both the clients and the advisors. So that's kind of the first is number one just operate efficiently. Number two is mitigating risk. Right. So cybersecurity, great example, right, we've seen her I've seen everybody's seen kind of the rise of things like ransomware. And just, when I first started my career, you'd maybe you get some a virus or something like that. But the stakes are much higher now, right? People are getting targeted, large sums of money can be taken from them, so cybersecurity is even more important than it's ever been. And then lastly, really try to help people grow. So help Valmark grow, help bring new advisors to Valmark and help our advisors also grow with their clients through things like marketing, and different sales tactics and different technology tools they can use.

Richard Walker 2:54

Man, you just gave me this flashback memory. My first early days 1993 1994 working for financial services and passing a floppy disk from one computer to another with a Trojan Virus on it was like one of the scariest things that ever happened to you.

Geoff Moore 4:29

Sneakernet right. Yeah, it was yeah, it was in thinking but think about how slow that was to propagate to right. Now we're so connected. Everything's so digital. It's so easy for these things just happen. Super quick.

Richard Walker 4:44

Yeah. So this is something that you specialize in. I mean, in your bio, you've been recognized for this. What do you think is the hardest part about cybersecurity today?

Geoff Moore 4:54

Matching up the risk to where you want to spend money. You could spend an infant That bucket and there's so many different vendors with so many solutions out there, it's trying to figure out what is the right risk you need to mitigate, and the right tools and partners to work with to help you do that. I think that's probably the biggest challenge. And it's ever-changing, you could do this risk assessment, you know, a year ago, and then today, you reach a totally different decision based on events that have happened, news stories, etc. That's probably the biggest challenge.

Richard Walker 5:25

Yeah, that's interesting, because it reminds me of how you choose a financial advisor to how you choose any software product, or how you even buy a car, you're trying to match up these different components to how you want to spend your money. I find that to be quite challenging. I mean, even in our company, today, we were talking about how do we want to spend our money to build the right product and the right features for people? How do you and your organization choose? Like, what's most important? How do you make that priority list?

Geoff Moore 5:52

This is a great question. And I've talked about this with some others. And you need a team, you need a committee, really. And I'm very fortunate the chief compliance or Evelle Mark, his name's Doug Wilburn, he has been a phenomenal partner for me and saying, this burden is not on you alone, it is on us as a firm and we're going to work and do this together. So he's helped me build out a whole cybersecurity committee in Valmark. And that includes legal it includes finance, it includes operations, it includes some HR and technology all together, because each of those different areas have different risks. And we need to figure out what are the most important risks we want to focus on? And as a firm, where are we going to commit resources, both in time and dollars to help do that. And it also comes to when you're working with financial advisors, right, you need to create policies to help them as well. So what are the right policies? What is being maybe, were we being too lacks worded we need to be more aggressive and creating policies to help mitigate the risk and to keep them out of trouble? Right? Because they're looking for us to be the experts to help give them guidance in terms of how to stay and keep their clients safe.

Richard Walker 7:03

Yeah. And so I'm thinking about a lot of times we're talking about customer success, and how we help customers when we measure success. But it seems like in the cyber world, we only measure failure, right? Oh, no, somebody had a breach and 10 million records were found. How do you guys measure? And what metrics or what measurements do you use to come up with success in the cyber world?

Geoff Moore 7:24

We look at number of incidents. So we have a certain target that we want to have less than x number of incidents, right? If we can go a year and not have any incidents, that's great.

Richard Walker 7:35

Okay, but then you're counting how many failures are acceptable, right? Yeah, that'd be the right word breaches. Incident, maybe it's fair.

Geoff Moore 7:45

Yeah, you're trying to look for a more positive metric, like? Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, that's probably the most important metric, you could look at, certainly some others. But I think in terms of just like, top of the house, like in an ownership team, or whatever, that's as the end of the day, if you're, if you're taking the right steps, you should have fewer incidents.

Richard Walker 8:08

So forgive me, as a leader or CEO of my company, what I look for is how much stress you reduced for me, meaning the incidents is great, like lower lumber, that's awesome. But I wish we could measure this kind of stuff. Let's talk about it.

Geoff Moore 8:24

I was gonna say the stress thing, it's hard to know, because it's like, are you not stressed because you're not even aware of the risks. So you're like, blissfully ignorant. Or, you know what I mean, like, I can also be...

Richard Walker 8:37

I think that's how it should be, I think we should be able to, like, if I was your advisor, I wouldn't ever want to worry about security. I would want that to be just like status quo. We have high high security, and I sleep at night, I never worry about it. Yeah, you know, that's what I mean.

Geoff Moore 8:51

The funny thing Rich is we actually do things like fishing and security awareness training, to actually just give them just a little bit of anxiety just so that they are aware and vigilant, right? Because I think you can also be sort of, too lacks, or the biggest thing we found is like people, we talked about wanting to be good servants, good customer service people help our people. I think a lot of times when I've seen something go wrong, it's not coming from a bad place. It's literally coming from a place of I want to do right by my client, I want to do the best thing. But the bad guys are out there trying to take advantage of our good nature.

Richard Walker 9:28

Yeah. So let's take a step back. How did you get on this path? What were you doing that made you say, I want to focus on information technologies and operational excellence, etc.

Geoff Moore 9:39

Thank you. Great question. So basically, how did I start my career? So I did not want to do anything with computers. I didn't have the internet growing up. I went to college. And I thought I was going to be like a counselor, like a psychologist. That's totally what I thought I was going to do. So I got a random roommate in college and this kid was like, he was a Computer Science programmer and he owned it. And he taught me so much. And I just thought his world was so fascinating. But I still thought I was going to be like the CFA or a stock picker or something like that. So I got my first job in financial services, I was an econ major, I always loved financial services as well. It was 1999. And Y2K was right around the corner. And I was just fascinated by this idea of the web and being able to connect with people. And I went to this firm, and I saw all of these technology problems. And I didn't even realize it, but I kind of had a knack for it, like having a roommate that was a computer science major. And I kind of worked on the web team in college, and I just, I sort of had a knack for it. And I was just like, oh my gosh, your life is so long. Really, when you're 20 you think it would be I'm like what do I want to do everyday and doing technology, it just felt fun. I felt like, I couldn't believe you could get paid to do this. I just thought like, man, that is going to be an awesome life. And I was kind of good at it. So I just saw that I could help people like my friends that were like having problems. I was like, well, people seem pretty happy. And I enjoy doing it. So let's go. So I just taught myself how to program kind of wrote a billing application early in my career that was pretty helpful for the firm. And I just haven't looked back since. I feel like I've had fun every day. Obviously, there's only stresses in life. But I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to play technology and play with technology and help people every day.

Richard Walker 11:26

I'm sure in those emergency situations where something's going on, you've got a fire to put out. I'm sure everybody around you really appreciate your FMDJ voice this the calm, soothing counselor voice coming through at all times.

Geoff Moore 11:39

True, I do tend to be pretty calm until I'm not so yeah.

Richard Walker 11:44

Very high threshold before you flip over.

Geoff Moore 11:47

Pretty much except for my kids. So that's a different story.

Richard Walker 11:49

Yeah, I think everybody has that. No, I think that's really awesome. Because it's hard to figure out your career when you're early into your career and you fall into something that you love and identify it early. I know a lot of people are envious of that. I think it's ironic because I did not want to do computers at all. And I did not understand email in college. I was like, what is this thing? But I love tech as well, obviously.

Geoff Moore 12:13

Yeah. That's so clear. I mean, talking to you the few times I feel like every time I talk to you, I pick up some new tip like even today, you gave me like three new tips for technology. I'm like Rich knows technology.

Richard Walker 12:23

I dabble. I dabble. Everybody thinks I'm a gadget guy, and they want to buy me the latest gadget. I don't care about gadgets. It's like, what makes me more efficient, that is more important to me. You mentioned you have these three kind of legs to the stool of your role. And one of them is how you help your firm grow. What do you think the way is our for an internally focused role like you have? Maybe it's not internally focused, but you're not on the sales team? Are you? How do you help your firm grow? What do you think the senators are?

Geoff Moore 12:53

So that is an interesting question. So we call it recruiting in our world. And it's not like hiring is just like recruiting new advisors to join us. And that is a whole separate team or committee. And I'm actually part of that committee at Valmark, which is probably an odd for someone in my role. But I've always been interested in marketing actually had a as a hobby. I had a website that sold firepits. And I got into like SEO and had some like search rankings in Google for the words firepit and firepit. So I've kind of got the idea of a funnel, I kind of understood it. So a couple years ago, we were looking in the sales team was saying, hey, we need some new technology to help us be more efficient. I'm like, okay, kind of thought about it. Did some research, we ended up picking HubSpot. We implemented HubSpot at Valmark for our sales and recruiting team. And I kind of thought I was just going to do the data migration and kind of help them set up the system. And then that was going to be the end of it. But just like one thing turned into another I kind of saw what they were doing. I had some ideas, they liked some of the ideas, some of the ideas worked pretty well. And it's just stuck and I am thrilled to get to do it. I love that Valmark is so open to letting me be a part of that and just try and experiment different things. So that's been probably one of my favorite things that I've gotten to do in the last couple years is help that team.

Richard Walker 14:09

That's great. It's really great to hear that you have those different perspectives, and kind of your fingers in the pie with your company. I don't know if you share this or not. But I mean, Gartner Group Microsoft, McKinsey recently put out an article about this have said that the companies that focus on a better customer experience are the ones that actually influence and drive growth in their businesses. So that's why I didn't ask you about operational excellence first because I think I want to see if you see a tie between building operational excellence and the customer experience and then what you're doing out to help grow. Is there a correlation in your mind?

Geoff Moore 14:46

Yes. 100%. So I will say probably in 2018 we had a big initiative. We called it our my case initiative and you kind of referenced it earlier in the call. And the simple goal of that project was make it easier for advisors to do business with us, getting data from them to us simply as possible. And I'd say, prior to that we did not do as good a job as we could have. And there was a lot of friction, and it made it difficult for our advisors to work with us. But we kind of just from a big corporate perspective, right, in that my case team at represents, you know, people in technology, people in testing people from the business units, business analysts, business owners all coming together to figure out, like your world, like, what are the best forms? How do you structure your form? How do you get the data? How do you organize this, to make it as easy as possible for them, and then that's going to lead to, hey, I have a great experience, I'm happy as a customer, less fire drills, and then I'm more willing to talk to somebody else about it. I mean, one of the things I really learned from you Rich was kind of the power of a net promoter score, and how you can use that in your business. And that starts with giving a great experience, right? If you don't have a great experience, it's tough to grow, either through testimonials, one of the biggest ways to grow is through referrals, right? So if they are having a great experience, it's going to be harder to grow.

Richard Walker 16:01

I forgot we had talked about NPS way back when so did you guys implement that? And if so, how? What segments did you go after?

Geoff Moore 16:09

Yeah. So we did, we did, I came back, I talked about it. And we absolutely did. So we kind of have this goal of what we call 8585, which is, we want an 85 net promoter score from our people that sort of like own the practice of these advisory firms, and then an 85 engagement score from our internal employees. Right. So it's the idea of like, hey, you got to treat your employees right, so that they can then give good service to your customers. So we're focused on the 85. So in this last year, our most recent survey, we had a from what we call our member from principals, we had a rating of 90 from net promoter score and members overall, just 76. Wow, and then staff engagement of an 87 with our most recent engagement, so I'd say that is pretty good. So we're pretty happy with it, I'd say it times, and at times, we can get a little bit kind of hard on ourselves. Like we really like to please. And if someone has an incident somewhere like oh my gosh, so and so's upset. What can we do to fix that? And it's like, Well, that just happens sometimes, too. Yeah. But we are, we are laser-focused. Yeah.

Richard Walker 17:10

I don't have a baseline then for the people you're measuring. What do you think your peers are doing? Or what is a good score?

Geoff Moore 17:17

I don't know, that's a great question. I would love to see some other independent broker-dealers to see what their score is like to get a better benchmark, but I want to actually come up with a new score. So just kind of a funny story. We are small, right? Like in some areas, larger, independent BDs are going to compete much better, they're better capitalized, they've got even more tech, etc. So it's tough. So they'll, they'll say something like, we'll pick up the phone and 37 seconds on average, whenever you call us. I'm like, okay, well, I don't know if we can compete with 37 seconds. But I want to go with the hug metric. So we just finished building a new patio, Valmark. And we invited some of our local offices to come celebrate this opening with us. And it's also our 60th anniversary of Hallmark. So and we're gonna have a separate party for our 60s. But it was it was a moment to pause and be grateful and be thankful for everyone that's helped build the business. And I was just shocked that so many local number firms came up to me, and just gave me a hug. And I was just like, man, I think our measure for success might be the hug metric, like how many other advisors in the relationship with their home office do they walk up? And how many people would they feel comfortable hugging at that firm? So I think we also need to start NPS I want to start measuring the hug metric. So maybe this year at our annual conference, I'm going to measure I'm gonna put on social media. How many hugs I can get by your How old is the sign free? Hugs? Hugs? Yeah.

Richard Walker 18:51

Yeah. All right. Well, let's put out a call to the industry. Let's have all the broker-dealers put out their NPS scores measured against advisor satisfaction. And a hug score. I want to know that one for sure. Yeah, and all the introverts are saying no, I don't want a hug.

Geoff Moore 19:06

Don't touch me. Don't touch me.

Richard Walker 19:09

Yeah, that's really awesome. Yeah, there's different metrics, like SaaS companies, a 55 is a really good score. And our score has been 83, 84. And I mean, we're ecstatic about that. I don't know if we would ever get to 90 or 95. And your goal of 85 I think it's fantastic. Yeah, that's really, really awesome. So I'm also curious then when you think about building this customer experience, how long does it take you?

Geoff Moore 19:39

Man, I think it takes longer and it takes more people than you would think. I think when I was younger, I would think like one or two years, right now, I think it takes much longer. And I think in my arrogance, I thought I could do more of it by myself, right? Typical Gen Xer, independent. I got this I can do this. And I think what I found is the best is to get other people involved kind of like I've said, being on part of teams getting other people involved, admitting you don't have all the answers, finding people that do empowering them to help make good decisions, bring their input, because everyone's getting all these inputs, and no one person is going to be able to collect enough data to create a great experience. So I think that's the biggest thing is just being patient. And in software, right, you want to deliver iteratively. Right. So picking the points that you think you're going to be the biggest point, putting things out there and continuing to evolve. One of the things, you know this, but like, not thinking about things in terms of projects, but thinking about them in terms of products. And I know, you get that as a software vendor, but I think sometimes internal groups, we tend to probably think, in projects. And we also need to think in products. I know, that's a big gardener thing. But I think that's been a helpful mindset. When I talked about my case, like that's not a project, that's an ongoing product that we have that needs feed care, and helping it it needs feedback loops, right, from customers, and continuous improvement and evolution.

Richard Walker 21:00

Yeah, we actually struggle with this all the time. I mean, just in the last two weeks, we've been rehashing a product design. And I actually said something to the effect of, are we trying to bend the product into what we can do with our current tech? Or do we want to build the right experience for the customer? And it's a big difference, because it feels like we're building a road from here to there. But we didn't realize there's a river in the middle, and we have to build a bridge. And we didn't realize there was a tunnel that needed to be built. And we didn't realize there's a bunch of trees that need to be knocked down. Yeah, we're just like, well, we laid out the plans to build the road. Oh, wait. So now it's a question like, do you go around those things? Do you find a natural bridge? What do you do? Or do you stop and say, okay, we're not going to get to that endpoint, we're going to build the tunnel, we're going to clear the trees, we're going to add the bridge, and then build the road. And it's so frustrating. I don't know, if you and your team go through those frustrating moments, too.

Geoff Moore 21:55

Yeah, I mean, especially in any company. I've seen some of these pictures on LinkedIn of like, we call them cloud first firms and then they've got like the legacy companies that are like 60 years old, like us that you have a lot of legacy considerations, right? It's not as easy to move fast, right? You've made past decisions, previous decision, tech debt, whatever you want to call it, that also factors in it makes it easy, or makes it difficult, you can't be quite as nimble as you'd like.

Richard Walker 22:20

Yeah, for sure. I'm gonna bring up another topic, which is one of my favorites. And I know, because you'd like to tinker with tech, you're gonna have some cool answers about this. Let's talk about artificial intelligence briefly. Okay, so how do you see AI changing or impacting customer experience? How you deliver service, how investors get service at anything that you want? But how do you see it impacting your world?

Geoff Moore 22:40

I feel like 2023 is the year of AI. Right, ChatGPT just blew the doors off? I think part is coming and saying, I don't know yet. I still think there's just so much evolution, it's happening so fast. It's a little bit hard to tell, there's just, but two things to think about. The first is I think there are a lot of everyone's throwing the AI label on their product, right? And what is real data science, and what is just lipstick on a pig, or just some fancy cover that they're using the AI. So I think, for your average person, that's very difficult to decipher. Right? And then what are people doing with that data is where is it going? How's it getting used into models? Is it safe? So, and then the other thing that I found really interesting, I'm gonna credit Meredith Lambert from Catchlight, for helping me understand this is firms are now understanding that their data is very valuable. So for example, we just heard stories coming out of Reddit coming out of Twitter, they're either saying you can't publicly scrape our data, or you're gonna have to pay a very, very expensive API fee. And I think they haven't really said it publicly. But I think part of this is they found that their data is very valuable. And these large language models, were using it, and they were getting a free ride, and now they're getting all the benefit from it. So I think we're going to start to see a shift of kind of power, maybe from some of the tools to some of the people that actually have the data. So that's interesting. And then I'm most excited for in terms of how does the customer win with this, get back to your original question. I got a little off-tangent here. I think in the categories of things like advice engagement, there's tons of opportunity, right? So if I'm a whatever, maybe I don't have a lot of money per se, but my age, maybe you know, my net worth maybe you knew a couple key data points. systems have been built that can then give me very targeted advice or can help my advisor, give me the advice I need, especially if I'm maybe a B or C client, right? Maybe I'm not the A client, maybe they don't have enough time with me. But I think some of those advice engagement tools can be very interesting to leverage AI and provide good insight into those like specific key moments that matter for people.

Richard Walker 24:54

Yeah, I share your sentiment that there's a lot of confusion, especially with marketing labels on products, and I asked myself Is this really AI or not, and AI is a very broad kind of framework. And some will argue there is no such thing as AI, actual sentience and artificial intelligence. It's just different models, right? So I kind of categorize it like this, there are products that you're already using, that are going to get better, because there's going to be AI injected into them by the manufacturer of that product, right, like Microsoft Word is only going to get better, it's going to write more and more for you as you go. But then there's other things like you buy a specific AI-driven tool to solve a new problem that you haven't solved before. I just found out from my forums team, we took an AI tool that is robotic process automation, and we've automated a task that they've been asking me for a decade to streamline. It's too complicated to streamline. And AI is just like, click, click wait, click, click wait, click submit done. Yeah. And we drove our cost down to $3 an hour with this AI?

Geoff Moore 25:56

Wow. That's, that's incredible. That's absolutely incredible. I think some of that's hard to predict. Right? In some of it's very much in the weeds. And it's just somebody's sitting at their job and just going hey, what about this and just pops out?

Richard Walker 26:14

So that's one of the things that I'm trying to instill in people. And I'm wondering if you think the same way or if you're trying something different? How do you get people on your team to have the mindset to try out some tools to see if it'll benefit them to see if they can make their jobs easier, better faster? Or do you find people are reluctant to do that for any reason?

Geoff Moore 26:32

Great question. And this is where management comes into place. Right? I think it's very easy. I actually seen in some big companies. And I've heard people, especially in my kind of role, just like complain about people not being innovative or whatever. And I'm like, well, but as a manager, or as a leader, did you create the space for them to be innovative? Or did you load them up on so many other tasks that you just said to them, you know, basically go be innovative? Or even if you provided the tools? Did you provide the environment that allows them to experiment to and to fail? Right? Like, that's tough, and you can't have everybody have kind of infinite playtime, but how do you? How do you as a leader has you managed to kind of carve that out for people intentionally so they have the opportunity to experiment. And I do think that's more of a leadership problem than a individual contributor problem.

Richard Walker 27:23

I think that's important to recognize. And given that you love tech, and you're willing, and wanting to try different things, it's easy for you to say, oh, I'm going to spend 10 minutes trying to search 30 minutes or whatever. I don't think everybody thinks that way. I think a lot of people say, you gave me a job to do, I'm doing it, I'm doing it the way I was trained to do it. They're not thinking, oh, I should make this better, faster, easier, I should have a trainer tools. So how do you help them make that space?

Geoff Moore 27:52

I do think you got to carve it out. Right? Like in some place like I have to recognize, like, people like myself are gonna be more willing to experiment. And I think I just asked them, like, it's some of it's like, knowing their roles and what they do. So it does take some leadership, somebody's experimenting, go, hey, I think this, like, do you do this? I think you kind of, is that what you do? Yeah, that is kind of what I do. Hey, I think there's this thing that's kind of like this, would you be willing to come work with your manager? Can we try this? And nine times out of 10 people are definitely willing to try. But they just might need a little bit of guidance in help to experiments, it's not their first thought.

Richard Walker 28:32

Yeah, I think that part of my role in being an innovator is to try to bring people to new ideas. So I'll send my marketing team hey, I just found this thing actually helps me with podcasts, potentially try it out. Tell me if it works. Should we use it? And just giving them the ideas and saying go try it, I think is a helpful way to get them involved? Look, as we wrap this up, I have another question for you. But before I ask it, I want to help people connect with you, Geoff. So what's the best way for people to find you?

Geoff Moore 29:01

Best way is LinkedIn. I'm kind of a LinkedIn junkie. So I like hanging out on LinkedIn. If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, I pretty much connect with everybody. I should probably be more discerning, but I'm not. So I love to connect with you. I'd love to see what you're up to what you're interested in, follow your posts. Especially if you're in financial services for sure. Financial Services and tech like let's definitely connect and talk.

Richard Walker 29:24

Awesome. There's your invite everybody. All right, so Geoff, here's my last question who has had the biggest impact on your leadership style or how you approach your role?

Geoff Moore 29:35

This is gonna sound corny but my mom. She has been an executive in the building construction, industry vinyl siding for a long time and she is just an absolute Tiger of a lady. I've learned a ton from her. And then I would also say the executive team at Valmark, including owner Leia Rybka. My current boss I scaled Callahan, they've been extremely supportive in terms of helping me grow my career, helping me learn helping me come out a better leader. So shout out to all those people.

Richard Walker 30:09

I love it and shout out to the moms. Did you know that my mom and I started this business together?

Geoff Moore 30:16

I did not know that. How was your mom involved?

Richard Walker 30:21

Well, she's a technologist first. And when I was an advisor, I went to her and said, Hey, we should build something, you build it. And then I'll do sales and marketing and keep doing financial planning. The truth is, she was so busy with her consulting clients, she never found the time to build it. So I did. I said, you know what, I'm just gonna build it. I did it over Christmas, by the way, I'm gonna build it. And then we worked on it together. And we said, okay, we got something here. Let's build a company together. So she invested. She worked super hard. And the hardest part for me was calling her Cheryl, instead of mom in front of clients.

Geoff Moore 30:57

That would be hard. Dude, that's awesome. I loved hearing that story.

Richard Walker 31:02

I just love that you made a shout-out to your mom. I think that's so awesome. Yeah,

Geoff Moore 31:06

She's 73 And she still works.

Richard Walker 31:09

Wow. That's fantastic. Geoff, I want to say thank you. Geoff Moore, CIO of Valmark Financial Group. Thank you for being on this episode of The Customer Wins, go check out Geoff's company website at And don't forget to check out Quik at where we take the work out of paperwork. I hope you've enjoyed this discussion will click the like button. Please share this with someone if you liked it that much. And subscribe to our channels for future episodes of The Customer Wins. Geoff, thank you so much for joining me today.

Geoff Moore 31:39

Thank you Rich.

Outro 31:41

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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