With an entrepreneurial zeal that arrived when she was at her peak in her job, Beverly Flaxington followed her heart and co-founded The Collaborative with a drive to grow businesses by gaining human behavioral insights. The magic happened and is still going strong with over 25 years in the industry, helping numerous firms achieve their goals.
Today Beverly, as the organization’s Principal, is keen on achieving business results through understanding human behavior. Known for her distinctive and proactive perspective, Beverly has changed the landscape of businesses by allowing clients to bring their teams together to train them to communicate effectively, work together seamlessly, and produce results.
Aside from being a business development and marketing authority, Beverly is also a Gold-Award–winning & bestselling author, international keynote speaker, and college professor.
The Humble Start
After kickstarting a career in financial services as a high-school student working for a bank, Beverly held numerous positions and worked full-time to put herself through college and graduate school. After graduating with her MBA, she believed that she wanted to be in Human Resources and took a job as an Executive Recruiter, later realizing that this job was much more about sales than HR.
Beverly kept learning on every curve and considered herself fortunate to be hired by her client, one of the biggest insurance companies in the United States. She held many roles in the investment sector, including running a division, overseeing a turnaround project, and creating a new product offering within a subsidiary company.
Overcoming Hurdles to Create Disrupting Impact
Beverly reminisces about when she quit her job and her father told her she was a failure; “He believed I was walking away from a great opportunity to have a successful long-term career making loads of money.”
In the early years of her business, Beverly and her then partner faced many lean months trying to figure out their focal point to generate business. Due to the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks and the stock market crash of 2008, Beverly witnessed her clients losing their lives and experiencing devastating effects on their businesses. Her partner left on bad terms. Beverly sought people she could trust to grow her business over the years. “Finding team members with the skills and having similar values to mine was a challenge, and I am thankful now to have a fabulous, experienced team I trust and work well with,” adds Beverly.
While overcoming challenges at every corner, Beverly also started spreading the message about “The Human Factor” several years before it was the popular thing to do, following her passion for focusing on the human element and incorporating it into all decisions, planning, and goals.
Beverly became a Certified Hypnotherapist when she was at a corporate job, and she would try to blend the ideas of understanding the mind and how people think and make changes with her corporate role. She says, “At that time, I had to keep the two separated, but now it is a hot topic, and many businesses realize the importance.”
“I have two patents for unique ways of solving succession planning for advisors, and several trademarked approaches that include understanding other people. I have also written several books incorporating this focus,” Beverly explains.
Offering Distinctive Solutions with Flexibility
The Collaborative is primarily a training, consulting, and coaching firm dedicated to the financial services industry, working with financial advisors, institutional investment firms, retirement firms, and banks. The organization works with individuals, coaching them to help them reach higher levels of effectiveness; with teams, to help them become efficient and effective; and with whole firms, on change management initiatives. The Collaborative is growth-focused and utilizes its proprietary tools to help clients make change happen.
The Collaborative has been a virtual team for many years. Beverly asserts, “We started with our own office and learned we could be more efficient and responsive working from our homes. We allow our team members to do whatever is needed to serve our clients best. I also work to align team members with things they are good at and passionate about. I believe in being flexible to ensure people are doing jobs they enjoy.”
The Collaborative utilizes technology for communication, either on screen or via phone. The company put its proprietary sales training on a tech platform years before the pandemic hit, because it wanted to allow easy access from anywhere for anyone. The organization has change management tools, such as its personal SHIFT process, that are entirely virtual via online and email. “We are always trying to find the best ways to deliver information and ideas to prospects and clients in the most digestible and easiest ways,” says Beverly.
Beverly expects the next significant change in business management will be the acquisition and development of talent! The pandemic and the Great Resignation that followed it have changed the environment entirely for companies large and small. Recruiting good talent that fits a company’s culture and the team will be increasingly challenging. Once the talent is recruited, ensuring a good onboarding process and training people to know how to do their jobs will be critical. She mentions, “I also think companies must look more at aligning values with the work. What does the working parent need from their employer? How can employers offer flexibility to those team members dealing with an aging parent? What about team members who want to move around during the year? How can they accommodate that lifestyle? How can employers help with childcare and lifestyle changes?”
Firms large and small will have to become much more creative and focused on the needs of their employees.
Over the Horizon
Beverly aims to sell or merge the firm with a more extensive training organization to achieve economies of scale in what they do. The Collaborative won the WealthTech Award for “Best Training Solution” in 2022. She believes that her firm offers the premier training experience in the marketplace. She expresses, “We are always told ‘I’ve been through lots of training but nothing as good as what I have received from your firm’ and I would like to get this material and these tools out to more people.”
In addition, The Collaborative has had many cases where they are referred outside the financial services industry. Its approach is successful in every situation; thus, Beverly would like to expand her firm’s reach into other sectors.
Beverly would like to see the change management program, the SHIFT Model, be distributed on a retail basis. It is a great model for helping people reach their goals and make change happen. She feels the need to focus on getting this out into the marketplace.
Sharing the Pearls of Wisdom
Beverly advises the next generation of aspiring business leaders to be lifelong learners. She says, “Soak up information and knowledge wherever you can. Take the job you might not want long-term, if it gives you a chance to learn something new. Even in situations where you might dislike what you are doing, or the people you are working with, look at every opportunity as paid learning. You never know when something will lead to something else that will be a good situation for you.”
“Very importantly, keep your relationships and value the people you can engage with in every situation you work in. Everyone has a story, and everyone has something to share. Figure out what that is from everyone you meet with,” Beverly concludes.