On last week’s team training tele-class a healthy discussion started brewing around feeling “overwhelmed, undervalued and unheard.”
The conversation started with how to “fit it all in” for the team and for the attorney while still being able to serve the clients each week. It kept coming back to “There’s never enough time!” The interesting thing is this “never enough time” feeling leaves the attorney and the team both feeling overwhelmed, undervalued and unheard. How does this happen?
We began to break down the observations one small piece at a time. The team went from feeling overwhelmed and unheard to leaving the call feeling empowered knowing there is a tool in their toolbox to take them (the team and attorney) out of the mindset that “it is what it is” and a life of reactivity that “it’s just part of being in business.” Well, it doesn’t have to be!
Bottom-line, the most successful solo small practice firms live a life by design vs. default. Everything we’ve heard, read and seen on success shows the common theme is you want to model the belief, values and behaviors of successful people.
Here are three keys to success we’ve seen in successful entrepreneurs who are proactive not reactive to their businesses and their lives:
1. They control their calendars vs. their calendars controlling them.
2. They have proactive weekly communication with their team.
3. They have a process for what you do.
Here is how each of these keys can take away the sense of being overwhelmed, undervalued and unheard.
Overwhelmed: The number one cause of feeling overwhelmed is reacting to whatever the day throws at you. The tool “Time and Money” is the technique that will eliminate overwhelm and replace it with focus, immediately. The folks who spend one hour (as a team) watching the “Time and Money” webinar are the ones who drastically decrease the feeling of overwhelm, of being on a roller-coaster ride of emotions feeling like there is never enough time, and that you can’t get to the important things. Weekly focus is the solution. Time and Money will support you in getting there.
Undervalued: Feeling undervalued stems solely from inconsistent, weekly, proactive communication. Not making the time to carve out weekly team meetings with a pre-set agenda is the core of feeling of “undervalued.” The “typical” way people conduct business is by holding weekly team meetings where the focus is only on current work in progress or by having hallway conversations. Conversations are started but then time is up, and you never get back to them or you start communication ping pong with emails and voice mails to which there is no follow up.
In our experience, the number one reason team feels undervalued is simply because there is no follow-up to things the team brings up and as team it is our job to follow up on the things. Team, we promise you; it is not the attorney blowing you off or intentionally not following up on the things he/she promised. It’s simply a result of not keeping the commitment to your time together each week to handle these matters, no matter what! Weekly team meetings and production meetings are sacred ground and should not be violated. It allows for consistent communication, which is the solution.
Unheard: This nasty offender is due to lack of following process. When we derail from process, due to being “too busy,” the unforeseen chaos this creates is inconceivable. In our experience, the story goes something like this…”we start to get busier, and the attorney gets jammed up…the team is swamped…and we can barely keep our head above water. We start to blow off our weekly team meetings, skip workshop confirmation calls, pass over follow-up calls, ditch proper trust reviews, and next thing you know, team comments, such as “I suggested we X, but she never confirmed if we can do that or not,” “I sent him an email about it last Tuesday and still haven’t received a response,”, “I shared that the client was unhappy and needed a call back but that still hasn’t happened,”, “I know we don’t see clients on Mondays but there is nowhere else to put them, and if I don’t get them in, they will go down the street.” We are agreeing or disagreeing with the validity of the statements, BUT these are clear indications the feeling of being “unheard” is beginning to permeate your team. This happens when everyone begins violating the structures and processes you have in place just to “keep up.” When that happens, all vehicles that were your safety nets (focused calendaring, weekly team meetings and processes) have gone out the window due to survival. Process is the solution. “Skipping things” will never get you “caught up” and will cause everyone, team and attorney, to feel “unheard” which carries even bigger consequences.
In our experience, you can pretty much set the calendar every 90-days for a breakdown of some sort stemming from the feelings of overwhelmed, undervalued and unheard. The reason is things start humming. Business starts coming in, and before you know it you are back saying, “we are so busy” and that is when you abandon systems. None of us ever consciously do this, but the slippery slope of “too busy” is the catalyst that starts the vicious cycle.
To avoid this destructive cycle occurring every 90 days, implement the solutions above for avoiding feeling overwhelm, undervalued and unheard.
To make sure the solutions stick, give your team the support and resources they need to anchor to proactivity and understand how to communicate with you responsibly and effectively. Start your team on the path of a business by design, proactive weekly communication and having a process for what you do. Don’t Be a Yes Chick tele-series is a step by step guide to commit to planning, communication and process. Now accepting registrations for our program beginning April 10th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register or for more information.
“Practice the simple act of saying “good enough!” and “good enough—for now”. ~ Dan Millman
In order to effectively communicate (and train) replacing yourself in your current role, you need to be able to articulate the what, why and how.
The weekly practice of “Replacing yourself” will create a win (boss)/win (you)/win (your replacement), every single time.
1. The Law of System
If you can’t hand over what you are currently doing to someone else and have them follow a step-by-step process and get the same results you get, then you ain’t living the law of system. It is imperative when you are going through your transition phase that every single step, no matter how “no duh” they seem, is written and has a “Step X” in front of it. Break it down into small steps; write them down and make a checklist. See the stepping-stones from where you are to where you want to be. Casual verbal references to “the way we do things” or hoarding onto work so others have to come to you for the secret decoder doesn’t work. The law of System not only allows you to “get rid of it” but sets the stage for the next phase when you find yourself “moving on up”. Remember, every time you replace yourself, there is someone 1 step behind you and someone 1 step ahead of you. Not to mention, it’s great to shine the systems you have created as a vehicle for show and tell when it comes time for annual reviews, pay raise proposals and new position openings.
2. The Law of Growth
The best way to do this is to continually test if you are living in the comfort zone or living in the growth zone. Are you feeling challenged and exhausted while exhilarated at the end of your day? This is the comfort test. This also allows you to demonstrate to the boss they are getting the greatest return on their biggest investment; you. Staying on a growth track will show your employer you’re worth every penny and then some, especially when companies are looking for ways to reduce expenses, collapse roles or justify paying you what you are worth.
3. The Law of Accountability
Life is about accountability. If you don’t share what you are up to with the people you work with, your chances of action and success decrease considerably. Reporting and tracking what you are up to and sharing it with everyone in the office in an organized manner (weekly meetings) will allow you to not only achieve your goals but also creating top of mind awareness on a weekly basis about what you’ve accomplished and what you are up to for the week.
4. The Law of Communication
Sending e-mail, voicemails and texts, because it’s faster than actually talking with people, is not living the law of Communication in today’s automated, hi-tech atmosphere that actually creates more damage and allows us to hide out vs. personally connecting and relating with another. The quality of your relationships is directly tied to the quality of your life.
5. The Law of Revocability
Replacing Yourself and creating your new role is not a forever. Simply “try it on” and if it doesn’t fit like you thought it would, it is completely revocable. There is never punishment for stepping up, systematizing and leading in the workplace. Give yourself permission to take it on, try it on and then redesign it if the current role is not a right fit for you.
6. The Law of Pride
Having a commitment to being right and declaring it all not only will halt your livelihood, as it shows that you’re uninterested in learning ideas and approaches, but will also send red flags to everyone around you that your world is all about you. When it comes to replacing yourself and training the “new you” provide acknowledgement, praise, allow questions, stay current and listen to their suggested new ideas.Take on that you can be a “cause in the matter” but give credit to others contribution; you’ll be seen as a team player, a leader and a driving force to the thriving group. We’re not saying take a back seat. Bragging is one thing, but tracking and sharing success through project management, system creation and successful revenue tracking and other tools is another. There is value of sharing your accomplishments as long as you go about it in the right way with pride, inspiration and a spirit of “Pay it Forward”. It will always come back to you.
7. The Law of Enrollment
The key ingredient to replacing yourself is enrolling others. If you choose to “do it all” you WILL (notice we did not say may, could or possibly) fail. Your boss doesn’t have time to keep a running tab on each employee, so how else will your boss know how valuable you are to the company unless you tell him? Bragging is one thing, but letting colleagues in your industry know of your success through case studies, promotional bulletins or other such tools is another. It’s important to recognize the value of letting others know about your accomplishments as long as you go about it in the right way.
8. The Law of Perspective
Despite our best attempts to do everything right, they may sometimes approach roadblocks and need to seek the advice and perspective of a respected friend, colleague or even a business coach. Acknowledging that you aren’t perfect will earn you respect in the office.
The Law of Replacing yourself allows you to feel good about letting go “how i used to do it”, allows you to create a bigger further for another who was comfortable with “a good enough employee”. Together, we are transforming the employee role; we are creating intrapreneuers in an entrepreneur’s world. For the first time we are able to live one for all and all for one in a way that everyone wins. It is no longer about climbing the proverbial ladder, alone. Imagine your daily life if you started your career with a goal to replace myself within one year, two years or maybe five years?
The fundamental rule for replacing yourself with a qualified replacement is to make sure it is in a way that allows you to create a bigger future for yourself within the business. It’s critical that you do it properly; that takes the 8 Laws of Replacing Yourself into consideration. Give yourself permission to give up the act of perfection. Conventionally, nothing and no one is perfect, except flow, change and fun”.
If you want to start your team on the path to becoming empowered and stepping into leadership roles, Don’t Be a Yes Chick tele-series is a step by step guide to move them from “employee” to “leader”.
Are you ready to let go of “how we used to do it”? Now accepting registrations for our program beginning April 10th. Email email@example.com to register.
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” ~ John Maxwell
At one point or another in our lives we’ve each lived in a place of ease, security and poise. Welcome to The Comfort Zone; a place where you drive to work and don’t really dream up ways to take that idea mentioned in yesterday’s meeting, create a project manager and put it into action. No for you, you can pretty much predict what each day will bring, and you can deliver and conquer with your eyes closed. You’ve been in your current position for X amount of months or possibly years, and you do it damn well. However, something is “missing.” You meet the days without that butterfly-in-the-belly feeling. There is neither angst nor excitement on how you are possibly going to get “it” moving to produce remarkable results.
Welcome to the doorstep of Growth. Welcome to the commencement of Replacing Yourself.
Are you thinking, “Wait a minute? What does this mean? It sounds kind of scary. I “like” what I do, and I do it better than anyone else in the office. There really is no one to take over what I do. Furthermore, well, then what would I do?”
The greatest mistake we see “great employees with a ton of potential” (what we like to call Intrapreneurs) make is the traditional “continuation” in the workplace. You’re probably saying, “What’s wrong with that”? Well, this acceptable behavior is detrimental when companies are looking for ROI’s (Returns on Investment, including what they invest in employees) or employees are looking for that annual raise to climb the proverbial ladder. The real problem is most employees are not aware of the act of replacing yourself and stepping up out of the comfort zone.
The truth be told, many of us believe if we give up control of what is “ours” we are being reduced in importance. In all honesty, the boss will have no trouble replacing you with someone who accepts and encourages capability, position and resourcefulness. So either get busy growing or stay busy existing, either way you have to choose, and yes, existing in a role without growth, is a choice.
We are not talking about managing up, delegating or giving up control. We are talking about reinventing yourself.
Molly actually found herself standing in this very crossroad just last month with an employee. Every year her company conducts a Year End Planning Retreat where they shut down the business for an entire day to work on revisiting the company organizational chart and designing their Top 10 Intentional Projects for the year to come. We started the day by going through the company “org” chart and outlined all the necessary roles and responsibilities needed to meet our goals, objectives and serve our clients in 2013. After two hours, the exercise was completed and Molly started feeling a bit “empty.” Molly has served the company of three employees in the role of “CEO” for the past three years. Now, if you have ever worked for a small company, you know the CEO role means a little bit of this and a lot bit of that. Her roles ranged from accounting to customer service in any given day but every client loved her, and she did her work tirelessly with compassion, authenticity and most days, with a sense of accomplishment.
In their retreat, when they approached the Finance department someone else stepped up saying, “It makes the most logical sense for me to take that over to free Molly up to work on Relationship Building with Power Partners.” When it came to event planning, Molly would find herself saying, “Actually, that is not the best use of my time if finding new Power Partners is my primary contribution to the company.” After completing the company organization chart on this early December morning Molly realized she just “gave away” over half of her job! She knew enough to know this was a “story” she was creating in her head but, nonetheless, she was feeling a bit “empty.” For so many years Molly took a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that she could “do it all and everyone depended on me.” The company of three had grown to a company of five over the past year. She had to replace herself and grow into new roles to support the growth of the company and to allow other team members a place to grow into.
She now found herself feeling empty, nervous and excited all at the same time. WOW, this is the exact place she needed to be sitting in. Molly had just replaced herself.
After going through the org chart Molly could put herself in one role/department and one only, Marketing. Never in a million, trillion years would Molly have put herself in the role of “Marketing.” In fact, anytime the word marketing came up she would literally get a belly ache. However, finding herself in this place of angst and overwhelm she knew she was simply filling the role of a connector, cultivator and nurturer. Funny how this stuff works, THAT is Molly’s Unique Ability®.
Connecting, cultivating and nurturing…now that, Molly cannot only do and do with pride, but she is already thinking of ways she is going to enhance and grow this role.
Sealing the Deal – The Transition Phase
Often, if we get to this point, we stop and then wonder why our new, great ideas and plans never move forward. Any major change requires a transition plan.
The very next morning the team scheduled a one-hour team meeting to distinguishing all the roles they have each reinvented themselves with. They realized they needed to be responsible and create a Transition Schedule to determine their current activities in their current roles, the time it would take to train the new person and the steps to systematize it. One hour later they had a transition schedule that would take four complete days to implement. They scheduled out an entire week, three weeks from now, to implement the Transition Plan. Then they would each be able to step into their new worlds confident that someone else had stepped into their previous role and was trained and ready to succeed.
This is Replacing Yourself.
Sound interesting? Then stay tuned for The 8 Laws of Replacing Yourself.