What Are Your Biggest Frustrations Working for an Entrepreneur?
Our previous blog shared part of the results of a focus group we held for support team across the country in a giant attempt to figure out where the disconnect lies between the boss and the team when trying to reach a common goal within a small business. We shared in this blog what team member’s greatest joy was in their job. Many business owners were surprised to see what really meant the most and connected to their support team.
In this blog, we are sharing with you the greatest frustration team shared. We want to share our findings with you, not to scare you, but to inspire you. We are hopeful you will hear the commitment of team with an honest, while respectful, cry for you to allow them to help you grow your business with joy and ease. Team members and bosses speak two distinctly different languages, which often leads to disconnect even though both sides want to achieve the same goal. Our hope with this blog series is to allow you an inside look into the thought process and voices of support team so you can better understand and communicate with yours.
Are you surprised when you hear what team members think? What we hope you notice is the massive about of “CARING” for the business, and your success, behind each of these frustrations. Team members who are just collecting a paycheck typically don’t care if clients are mad or things aren’t done. These team members care – intrapreneurs in an entrepreneur’s world.
What is Your Greatest Frustration Working for an Entrepreneur?
a. When I stop believing in my boss because I don’t have faith/trust that they will get it done. I would not hire my own boss as a client. And I don’t like feeling that way, it is disheartening.
b. The entrepreneur won’t just let go and trust the key people in the company. If he would I think things would run much smoother. I realize it’s his baby and hard to do that, but crucial at some point in time for the best of the business. That’s my biggest frustration.
c. The business owner won’t get out of my way. I expressed my frustrations to him in the moment and received encouragement … then all downhill from there…things go back to the same. I really am at a loss to get his attention and I really don’t think he would miss me if I left. I can’t seem to communicate that to him without sounding “entitled” or risk being told “I’m a less than stellar performer”. I say these words as a tear rolls down my cheek and I hate myself for that. Those contradicting words from how I felt 6 months ago to now haunt me on a daily basis, every time I open the door here. I am working a “job” right now because I’ve told myself I’m doing this for my family and to get my daughter through college. It’s the only thing that eases the pain. But, when she’s done with college and the BIGGEST reason is gone….. I’m afraid my heart will be more broken than usable as I look for the spark of passion every day.
d. We are known as the “Last Minute Larry’s” and now we’ve all gotten in the “HABIT” of making that the standard/norm.
e. Letting the boss hire family; when the boss hires the wife, kids, extended family, etc. and there is no accountability in the business. The team doesn’t respect them and will never say anything because they are afraid they will be out of a job. And it sucks for the spouse because they become the buffer because people will go “WHINE” to them hoping they will do something about it at home. Then the circular cycle begins.
f. Getting interrupted. I am preparing documents, answering phones and keeping the calendar and everything else. I will be in middle of drafting and the boss is always “shouting” out things to me and I lose track and mistakes happen. I don’t have 4 walls or a door around me so I am in the constant firing line and if something comes into his mind he has to interrupt me to tell me at that very moment, and everything goes downhill.
g. Lack of responsibility on entrepreneur’s part.
h. Getting my boss to focus on the top pressing cases. I present the TOP 3 Gotta’s for the day, he will agree to it but then he will go hide out in email and not do what he said he would. Then sometimes things will linger out there for 2-3 weeks and the clients will be frustrated and screaming at me. At first I was hopeful that things would happen and now I just feel blown off, disrespected and don’t ever believe that he is going to follow through. Then I have to lie and make excuses for clients. I don’t lie. It is not o.k. with me to lie.
i. False Agreement. No matter how many times we remind them that they have priorities and they agree they have absolutely no commitment to it. They are just “YESSING” us to get us out of their office but they are going to go and do what they want anyways.
j. The Hero Complex. I am so excited at the start of the week when we have our TOP things identified that we are going to knock out of the ballpark this week. Then we have a sick or emergency client. We will over care for them and over compensate to help them and drop all the other things, and everything else goes out the window. It’s a new distraction for the entrepreneur so they get to come out as a hero without any understanding of how they just wrecked the world of the assistants and other clients. Not to say we are not going to tend to our clients in need but the business owner will make it into a big social worker ordeal to do so they don’t have to “work” on the things they don’t like, They thrive in chaos and crisis.
k. Nothing is ever as easy as the entrepreneur thinks when they initially commit, and it is insulting to our intelligence. I feel like she thinks what I do and the value I bring is tasks that are simply “quick and easy”.
l. Trying to manage my schedule but I feel like I always need to go back to my boss to get stuff from them and I have to stand there until they finish it because I have no faith that he will ever complete it unless I hound and pounce, or eventually break down in tears. Then I am appearing emotionally unstable vs. committed to the business.
m. They destroy their weekly calendar which in fact destroys ours.
n. Time management with the boss. They are very unorganized and it’s very frustrating when they throw a curve ball into everyone else’s day.
o. Trying to close the loop on open items. When you are trying to pin down the business owner and I have a deadlines. I submitted the same thing four times and it keeps getting “lost” in her priorities and now I am in the red and can’t move this off my list and it looks like I am not getting MY job done. I don’t like feeling like I am not doing my job.
Are you surprised at what team members think? What we hope you noticed is the massive about of “CARING” for the business behind each of these frustrations. Team members who are just collecting a paycheck don’t care if clients are mad or things aren’t done. These team members care – and that is invaluable.
Stay tuned for the 3rd, and final, series of this blog, “If there is one thing you could change in your business, what would it be?”
If you have a team you want to be honest, while respectful, with you about what isn’t working in your business consider enrolling them in the Don’t Be a Yes Chick tele-training series to participate in conversations such as these. Next series begins September 4th – contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register or with questions.
To read Part 1 of this series – click here.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
Sometimes all is takes is one plane ride to have a complete and utter nervous breakdown. There is nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. You are alone with yourself and the fact that you have to confront the brutal facts of your current reality. There is a saying that I have been preaching for years when my clients come to me with crisis. “Every time there is a breakdown, there is a breakthrough waiting on the other end.” Reality bites when you are faced with taking your own coaching! Two weeks ago I was getting ready to board a plane to Syracuse for the MPS Annual Enhancement Retreat. One hundred of our members shut down their law firms for four days to come and invest in creating their futures. I was so pumped to be part of such an amazing community.
At the gate, while reviewing the agenda for the retreat, I was thinking of the breakthroughs that were going to occur in the room, was excited for the clarity that was to occur and how each attendee was going to make 2012 their best year yet! Then my cell rings and it is my husband. “I’ve been layed off”, he says. “Oh yeah, no severance pay.”
I literally walked onto the plane in a total fog. I sat in my seat and for the next 1 hour and 20 minutes had a total nervous breakdown. The poor businessman next to me was frozen in fear as I bawled my eyes out. I was in a whirlwind of panic about all the “what if”, “how are we doing to”, “what about insurance”, etc. Stuck alone with myself, with no access to the internet or my cell phone, I just let every ounce of it flow. The ugly, messy 80 minute mess of it all. No holding back. I then deplaned in O’Hare and proceeded to the gate for my connecting flight to Syracuse.
I sat at the gate, waiting for my connecting flight, and honestly just sat there. The ‘analysis paralysis’ of trying to solve it all and come up with a “Plan B” manic fest was done. By letting it all out, every ounce of emotion, worry, panic and anger, I let it go and was now empty. With all the “mess” removed, I could just ‘be’ in a place of quiet calmness with myself. A place necessary to refill myself after an experience that left me so emotionally raw I had no business interacting with anyone else at that point in time. I was in a place of such quiet and focus that after sometime I got up and asked the gate agent “what time is the Syracuse flight taking off?” She replied. “Ummm…20 minutes ago. Where were you?” I pointed at the chair I’d been sitting in 10 feet away. I was issued a boarding pass for the next flight, three hours later. I sat back down and continued to sit in much needed silence. I finally arriving in Syracuse at 1 am and collapsed in my bed.
The next morning I awoke, entered the room with one hundred attendees, complete awake and engaged. And our team delivered a powerful retreat, making a difference in our attendees’ lives.
So often we receive devastating news and continue on the hamster wheel without allowing ourselves the time and permission to deal with it. Unfortunately, as we all know, that pent up emotion is going to come out at some point. If we don’t let it out intentionally, and in a protected place where it doesn’t ‘land’ on others it is going to come out at some point – typically at the most inappropriate time, in the most unprofessional way, and sometimes on the most undeserving person.
Without the willingness to sit in my own soup for one hour and twenty minutes and allow every emotion to completely and powerfully flood through me I wouldn’t have been able to just BE with it in O’Hare. Ultimately this allowed me to wake up the next day and move on to the next phase which is a breakthrough.
We all want to go from the crisis immediately to the breakthrough. Not possible folks without sitting in the mess and letting it all out so that you can think clearly and calmly. The first key is to not give in to that knee jerk reaction to flee. (We often ‘flee’ into being really busy so we don’t have to deal and fully ‘feel’ what is happening to us.) The second key is to not make any decisions during the nervous breakdown. This isn’t the time for decisions or solutions. It’s time to free yourself of the emotions raging through you.
2. Just BE
3. Awake to the breakthrough
It’s really that simple and really profound. Without the breakdown I wouldn’t have been able to show up for 100 of my clients, be totally be present and kick butt. I would have been trying to hide the anxiety and panic. Following this formula is a way of quieting ourselves to release the panic of it all. Then, and only then, can you faithfully strap your boots on and get back to the land of the living. If you aren’t allowed to hit your bottom, there is no rebirth and growth. We must be willing to “go into the dark” so you can come out richer on the other side.
I saw this quote today and it pretty much drives it home. “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” At the end of the day, belief is the biggest piece of certainty. But there is no path to belief if you’re not willing to breakdown first.
If you are struggling with or hiding from any breakdowns you’ve been avoiding (firing, hiring, getting out of the muck of inconsistent business, referrals or cash flow) email email@example.com for a complimentary diagnostic to see where we may support you. Here’s to having your own personal breakdown. We look forward to navigating you through the process.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
Has your assistant ever received the dreaded call from a client, “Do you know when your office will send me that information I discussed with the attorney last week?” Having no idea what the client (let’s call him Mr. Smith) is referring to, she asks you about it. You gasp! No one ever sent Mr. Smith the information on asset protection you discussed with them? This is a potentially HUGE plan for one of our best clients? How can this be?
Remembering back to when you met with Mr. Smith, you begin to recall the blur of that week. Your meeting was late in the day, squeezed in between the normal work day and an evening workshop you were teaching. The next morning you hit the ground running at a breakfast meeting with a Power Partner and proceeded into one of “those” days full of back to back meetings. Somewhere in the grind, you never relayed to your assistant the conversation you had with your best client about asset protection and the information you promised to send him.
So much effort is put into marketing and meeting with clients. It’s amazing to think you can increase the results of those meetings tenfold with one simple, but powerful question.
What if the morning after you met with Mr. Smith, you did hit the ground running with a breakfast meeting…You still had a back to back day of meetings…BUT, on your drive to the office after breakfast, you and your assistant have your pre-scheduled “5 Minute drive Huddle”. During this intentional, predetermined, proactive time she asks you “Is there anything you promised Mr. Smith?” What a simple, but powerful (and lucrative) question!
You would be present to your discussion about asset protection. You would have replied “Yes, please send Mr. Smith our asset protection questionnaire and the article I wrote about asset protection trusts and then please schedule time on my calendar to call him in a week to discuss further.” Envision this as an alternative to Mr. Smith calling a few weeks later (or going somewhere else) to inquire about the missing materials from a place of frustration and anger. He may still hire you, but he most likely will have lost confidence in your firm and always waiting for you to drop the ball, again. Not to mention the danger of lost revenue, missed client expectations, lost future client referrals and damaged reputation in the marketplace.
Avoid this predicament completely by providing your assistant this technique:
Assistant: After EVERY meeting or teleconference your attorney has, ask them “What did you promise? And by when?” This will allow the attorney to focus for a quick moment and download the follow up needed to avoid the ball being dropped. Yes, it is one more thing for you to do. However, you’re going to be doing it anyways, just in a reactive, disempowering way. The “work” will come in the form of disturbing calls from people asking you for things that you promised and never delivered. And then the vicious cycle of he said, you said begins. Or you can create a scenario where you have a complete list of action items with the who, what and by when. This in all honesty, CAN be done in half the time. And what’s in it for the assistant is his/her day will be more organized with control of your follow up actions versus you popping up unexpectedly and blowing up your assistants day and getting resistance, and possibly attitude.
Actually, there are five quick, simple questions that if asked, can fully maximize the results of your client and Power Partner meetings while creating a pipeline of pre-qualified referrals. To request a complimentary copy of “The 5 Questions to Avoid Anything Falling through the Cracks™”, email us.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
The Business of Decisions
Making a decision and having to step into the “unknown” is always a scary, sometimes sad, time. At the same time it is a huge opportunity for the opening of new doors. We deal daily with team and entrepreneurs alike that are struggling with the “change” in their life and there is one thing we can promise you— burying your head in the sand and not confronting a decision IS a decision. Indifference is a decision and waiting for the ‘other person’ to make a move first is still a decision.
From two gals who’ve been through a lot of change, here are some insights on making decisions and the change that follows:
1. There is NO right answer to how to handle making a decision. Everyone will give you advice and suggestions but every person and every set of circumstances is different. So there is no “right” answer. All anyone can do is ask questions to help you find your own answers and give you things to think about. The power is in the questions your friends and advisors are asking you.
2. What works in one moment may not be the right answer for the next. Change is a process. One scenario you may need to approach the issue at hand with calm serenity. The next you may need to just lose your cool and have a breakdown. You are changing and growing through this process, so what you need in the moment will change as well. Don’t be too hard or rigid with yourself. There will be times you are disappointed in yourself and times you are very excited. Just roll with it and stick it out.
3. The process of major change can be a complete roller coaster. Just stay on the roller coaster until the end. You WILL make it through—the prize is in staying awake to the process.
4. Making a tough decision is NOT all bad. You begin to feel yourself awaken but it can be tiring because it’s emotional. Typically you can’t move forward as fast as you want to because of all the details to sort out in the process. Look forward to the good part of the process – the reconnecting with yourself and the VAST possibility and opportunity that opens up for you. Decisions come with emotions. Leaving a partnership, firing an employee, closing a business, leaving a lease you have been in for years that is no longer a good fit – all of these decisions would be a no brainer, but for the human/relational element. And most often the other party involved can very easily make you feel guilty during the process. Or the alternative, they kick it up a notch and rise to the occasion just when you were ready to pull the plug and make you question your decision. Don’t buy into it and anchor to the very reasons that brought you to a crossroads in the first place.
5. Go through The Decision Making Model ™ to clarify not only the pros and cons of a decision, put the emotion energy you are putting into the situation everyday that may be robbing you of productivity, energy, confidence, clarity and joy. Put pen to paper while it’s fresh. At any moment when you are confused or feeling bad for your decision, anchor back to this process and connect to it, and know you are doing the right thing.
6. Don’t confuse grieving over a loss and a dream you once had to being wrong for your choice. It’s not the same thing. The grieving and longing is a symptom of how committed you were and letting that commitment go is hard. Nothing more, nothing less.
7. If you change your mind it’s ok. You being happy and fulfilled is the goal – nothing else matters. And if you find yourself at a crossroads again on this issue, repeat Step # 5 until you can make a decision where this issue doesn’t continue to rear its confronting head.
8. Let your inner circle help you and support you. They want to – don’t try to be too strong. Even if you feel like you are repeating yourself – they understand. It’s a process.
9. The decision you are making today probably looks nothing like what it did when you entered into the relationship or situation. Typically every reason why you decided to make a change will be amplified during the process. Particularly if people are involved, once they no longer have a reason to vest into a relationship with you, they often are less attentive to communicating with you. Not always, but often.
10. Anchor to something BIGGER. The vision of something bigger in your life will give you the motivation to get out of bed and press on.
Most importantly – HOLD your HEAD UP HIGH– with pride. 85% of people are miserable in their current circumstances but too afraid to do anything about it. Whatever your decision, share it confidently and people will generally react positively. You set the tone. State the decision concisely and clearly – “I dissolved the partnership” or “we are closing the shop”. Don’t over explain. Have your one-line response for when people say “what happened” and leave it at that. The “story” really doesn’t matter and is more often than not saturated with blame and/or defeat. Be proud of your willingness to look at a situation that isn’t working, make a hard decision, take action and be excited about your future. People will always pursue someone who has a confident vision of the future.
The beauty of a making a decision is that either way you are confronting what isn’t working. Whether you end something, change something or re-commit to something confronting that is isn’t working is an absolute before you can have a clearing for a breakthrough.
If you would like a copy of The Decision Making Model™ email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your corner,
Laney & Molly
By Molly Hall (shared with permission from all parties involved)
I remember the defining moment of truth when I realized I was slipping into the Yes Chick zone.
We’d hired a marketing company that we paid a big (no, huge) monthly retainer for 12 months to take the company to the next level. We were a small company of three and I served as the Marketing Department/Member Services/Coaching Department…you get the idea. I was naturally responsible for managing the marketing company. We hired them for their reputation in the marketplace and for their track record of taking like-minded organizations to the next level. My role was to manage, direct, and lead them in the company’s new direction, meet deadlines and so forth. Here is what happened instead.
Month Two: The president of the marketing company called me and said, “We can’t work with your boss. He is steamrolling my team and they refuse to get on another marketing call with him. We prefer to only deal with you because you get the job done and you’re a focused pit bull.”
Month Seven: After spending a tremendous amount of time on a major website project, the boss decides the work we’ve done is worthless and we need to go in a different direction. Note: The boss never had time to look at the website and “delegated” the entire project to me because he “trusted” me. (Visit our website for “Why You Should Never Use THE ‘D’ Word” blog or refer Chapter 4 of Don’t Be a Yes Chick!)
During a weekly marketing meeting, back when I was a Yes Chick, he decided that we were going to “talk website” because the buddy he had breakfast with told him the five “musts” of every website. On fire from that breakfast meeting, he pulls up our website five minutes before our meeting and wanted to change seven months of work. He was so motivated he declares “This project is priority number one. In fact, let’s hop on a plane and get Molly and me in a room for two days with the web team and get it done. If we don’t, we’re dead in the water.”
We were all deflated, but hell; we could rise above and do it. If he is this passionate about the website and what he has learned, I’m in. I got on the plane. The marketing firm prepared for our arrival and put three full-time employees in a conference room with us for two days. Everyone was ready to put this project that we had worked on for so long and hard to bed. Two days, slam dunk–it will be done!
Day One: We met with the web team. My boss began the meeting with a brief “history” of the company. He took them through three hours of technical-legal mumbo jumbo that clearly no one understood (nor cared about). Their eyes glazed over and they nodded their heads, saying, “Wow that is interesting.” Then he went on and on about vision, mission, and standards-never once going through the website page by page. We walked out with our heads spinning. We had no clear direction. It had been a complete waste of time.
Day Two: The web team didn’t even show up. He had annoyed them so much that the owner of the company asked them to not even go in because it would be another day of the same thing. So, here we are, the boss and me, in a city away from office and home, sitting there alone. So, the boss and I started talking numbers, recreating an annual budget and bonus structure that we have created two times before but still hadn’t implemented. We then moved to the “future direction of the company” conversation; you know that one that entrepreneurs like to have spontaneously when they want to get out of actually doing the task at hand.
At 9 a.m., I realized I had to catch my plane in five hours. At that point, I said to myself, “I will sit here and nod, then quit when I get home.” Then I had an epiphany. I realized that I was just as responsible for this conversation and the direction of my future as he was. Seriously, I had heard people speak of those “light bulbs” going off, but I’d never gotten it. But I got it then.
Immediately, I stopped him dead in his tracks and requested a time-out. In that moment, I chose to abandon Plan A–an unprofessional hissy fit that would include two or three “F bombs” and a bucketful of tears. That would be the “old,” non-confrontational Molly in rare form. Instead, I chose to dig deeper into my toolbox. I announced, “We need to stop, conduct an Aggravation Auger, and talk about what is not working, not only in this conversation, but for me in my professional role.”
What came out of that conversation without question changed my life. We had an honest, respectful discussion that fused our adult, professional relationship closer, and I won a deep respect from my boss because of who I chose to be in that moment. He also appreciated that I would help him see his blind spots and not allow him to show up in disarray or not hold him accountable. Since that day, December 8, 2009, we have worked efficiently and effectively together.
What came out of our meeting became known as our House Rules of Engagement. If you would like a copy contact us a www.yeschick.com.
Overwhelm is a state-of-mind and a way of being. It is NOT a set of circumstances. It is resistance to what is. It is NOT loving what is going on. The distinct difference of how to stop overwhelm is what you are willing to do about it and taking the responsibility for it.
Lingering in a state of overwhelm can
• Increase your risk of burnout
• Reduce productivity and effectiveness
• Add unnecessary stress on your team and staff
• Decrease your overall happiness and well-being
• Increase your work hours and
• Cloud focus, clarity, insight, and ability to make critical decisions
So how can you move from overwhelmed to overjoyed? It requires a little attention and a different mindset.
First recognizing that while you could try to do it all on your own, actually doing everything yourself is practically killing you. Step one is acknowledging all the assets that exist within your team and staff and then utilizing those assets to the fullest. That means you stop delegating your tasks, and start giving out ownership for assignments.
Second, you need to ensure that you have the right people in the right positions. Sure, your office manager knows how to handle just about every thing in the office, but it doesn’t mean she’s the right person to do it.
The next part is trust, training, and team. Working together as a team, and learning to trust and depend on one another for tasks – when the right person has the right assignment – it means the work will get done. And it won’t just get completed, it’ll be done right.
You see it all boils down to people. The people who support you, who are on your team, and who are there to help grow, sustain, and maintain the business for you – so you can work in the role you enjoy and do so well.
If you are curious as to HOW this can happen, it starts here. Molly Hall and Laney Lyons have been team members for business owners who were just like you.
Now, they are sharing all their dirt in how you can:
• Turn Your Key Team Member into a Consistent Star Player
• Create More Value for Your Business with Proactive Employees
• Generate More Profit with Increased Bottom-line Thinking
• Eliminate Time Wasters, Energy Vampires, and Other Destructive Time Thievery
In their book, Don’t Be a Yes Chick!, Molly and Laney teach your employees how to:
• Get Your Team to Love Their Jobs, Feel Respected, and Improve Productivity
• Understand What Your Boss Really Wants & Needs
• Do More of the Work You Love and Are Good At
• Build Your Dream Team of Talented and Proactive Team Members
This book isn’t just for YOU, the business owner to read, this book is for your TEAM to adapt, implement, and finally gain the courage and the skills to lead like you’ve always dreamed they would.
Move out of overwhelm and into overjoyed when you grab your copy of Don’t Be a Yes Chick today at http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Yes-Chick-Babysitting-Transform/dp/0615478956/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1308745801&sr=8-2
Every year we visit the same conferences and run into some of our favorite attorneys. We inevitably are greeted in the same manner, “Ahhh, you won’t believe what the new girl I hired did…she is driving me crazy…” or “I have a new assistant, and, well, she is good, but something is missing…how do I train my gal to be a “Laney” or a “Molly”? It really is quite simple.
We never accept an offer to ‘coach’ someone loosely and we don’t take our role in it lightly. We see a lot of potential and talent, everyday. We talk with employees (team) that have what it takes – purposeful, powerful personality that allows them to impact other people in a very positive, empowering way. However, to truly get to ‘that place’ it takes skilled training in the ability to put themselves in someone else’s perspective (you, your clients, your referral sources), 100% of the time.
The truth is, everyone wants to do what they love, make a difference and go home at night without a head full of wonder and worry. Team members often feel like there is something “wrong” with them even though they have a “jump in and get it done” attitude. And truly, 90% of the time there isn’t anything wrong with the employee. They just haven’t been given the dedicated training on techniques to eliminate the mental turmoil they find themselves going through when working for an entrepreneur. We’ve been trained as employees by our past jobs, but in a small, boutique business, the Employee Mentality does not serve anyone. The traditional employee mentality is filled with headaches, drama, HR nightmares, score keeping and an us-against-the-boss state of mind.
On the other side, the boss is always wishing for someone to “fix” their employee. The employee is wishing for someone to “help” them. All that is truly needed is an awareness of what your mind is doing and how to step out of it. And trust us, we are only speaking from a place of having “been there, done that”. There still isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t find ourselves going down a mental tunnel where there is nothing for but ‘stories’ and ‘stuff’ about our job. The only way out of that dark, toxic place is the skill set to immediately correct your thinking and path.
We can honestly say having the tools to do an immediate Pattern Break eradicates the mental questioning, worrying and unnecessary stress (for everyone). It is so freeing when you “get it” and can start to really enjoy your job, life and people. However, it is a process, which is well worth the investment. It provides the confidence to have an amazing life and career. Not a perfect life, not one where you don’t get scared or frustrated, but one where you can control how long you allow those emotions to run your day and your future. A life where you can quickly move those emotions out of the way and get on to what’s important – making a difference and truly enjoying life.
You probably already have someone in your office that is a force to be reckoned with (a very positive attribute) but they cannot strip away the conditioned drama and crisis. This is from years of conditioned, on the job training that this is how you are heard in the work place. And if you aren’t stressed and busy, and complaining about it, you aren’t very important. There isn’t room in this blog to share the techniques to allow a team member to break from this role and step into one of accountability and ownership. But hopefully, we’ve raised your awareness that you there are certain ingredients you look for when you hire someone and there is specific training they need to go from good to great.
Our absolute commitment in this world is to empower team to let go of years of conditioning and “learning” from their past work experiences and step into a world of ownership, growth and joy! If you want to finally empower your team to take control of their future we would enjoy supporting you with the astounding difference we know your team can make in your practice and the world of your clients.
One of the biggest buzz words in our industry, or any industry for that matter, is “delegate“. In today’s world it’s all about efficiency, effectiveness and getting rid of that which doesn’t serve you any longer. Bravo, Bravo! We are not only in total support but constantly on the soapbox to get attorneys to STOP working on their non-revenue producing activities. All the rage in the past decade, side by side with the terminology of “Entrepreneur”, has been about “delegation“. Conduct a Google search and quite promptly you will receive roughly 28,500,000 useful tips, techniques and worksheets on effective delegation.
According to Wikipedia; Delegation (also called deputation) is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. We invite you to sit with that for a moment; “Manager to a SUBORDINATE”.
Now that is empowering and inspiring for the “subordinate”, huh? Just the definition alone has so many underlying demeaning tones; assignment, authority, responsibility but no authority, manager, subordinate….the bottom-line, this does not show up as an opportunity for team. Over the past 12 years we have worked with over 300 firms. When we conduct our Intake Interview with the support team (staff) the very first question we ask is “What role do you serve in the firm”, 90% of the time the response is fired back with “whatever needs to get dumped on me that day.” You speak “delegate” they hear “dumped on me“.
Today, we are inviting you to speak in an empowering language with you team and see how quickly you achieve the results you want. It’s easy, it just requires you speak the same language as your team. We’re not splitting hairs, rather merely noting there is no empowerment, enrollment or ownership in the language of “delegation“. If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 300+ times. Delegation shows up like “dumped on me” to those on the receiving end. So maybe try on an empowering possibility. Imagine, you FINALLY decide you are ready to “give up” trust drafting (word processing) to your client services coordinator. Option one is to tell her that you are “delegating” trust drafting to her because you need more time to market and meet with new clients. While true, this lands like what you have to do is “more important” so you are “dumping” the least desirable task on her. It doesn’t show that you think she is smart, capable and up to the task, just that you need somewhere to dump a task to free up your time and she’s it. Instead, try option two. Talk to her about her new “opportunity” – learning and managing the trust drafting in your office. Rather than how new tasks are usually “delegated”… you scurry out of the office to a synergy meeting and on your way place the design templates on her desk and inform her you are now “turning” drafting over to her. Instead imagine this, you invite your team member to sit through every meeting involved in the client Estate Planning process; vision, design and signing. You then debrief with her and check in on what showed up for her during those meetings and if she saw the difference your firm made in the life’s of America’s aging population. Then proceed to talk about the powerful process of making sure all the family’s “stuff” is protected and how important their documents are to ensure everything is protected. You then move into a conversation about the art of drafting and bring up your document creation software and how the software exactly matches your trusty design templates. Now she can see how the documents she drafts plays a huge part in the difference your firm makes for clients. It’s not just paperwork or data entry now…..you see the difference? Delegation vs. empower. It’s the same amount of work on your part either way, but one produces results. And I think we all know oh too well where delegation leads us, to a place of “I can’t get my employees to do what I need them to do.”
Contact us at email@example.com to receive a complimentary copy of “The 8 Keys to Empowerment” Workbook and start empowering your team today.
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it”. Theodore Roosevelt
Our recent, ongoing discussion has been about the blessing and curse of being a leader. We’ve discussed how necessary leadership is to any growing company and how it can be overwhelming for a leader to balance the needs of their team with their own. We’ve shared how the strategy of “Leading by Example” can provide leadership for your team, in a leveraged, structured manner. Here is another strategy to produce results, while allowing you to maintain a balance between the demands of your team and your own needs.
The Set up for a Productive Week
Team meetings often seem like really bad episodes of the TV show Survivor; half the team arguing about HOW to do something, while the other half is day dreaming, at least one person is upset and at least one is just sitting there shaking their head “YES” to everything to keep the peace. However, with the blur of day to day noise in a small firm, its impossible for a team to be effective and avoid miscommunication without checking in once a week, as a group, on goals and things that impact the team (firm). It also makes sense to make group announcements ONE TIME to everyone, versus FIVE TIMES to each person individually, or worse getting stuck in a email game of “Communication Ping Pong”.
Most team members run and hide from any mention of a “meeting.” They simply want to get their work done. They don’t want to talk about it, or strategize about it—they just want to do it!
As much as we can commiserate about sitting through long, drawn out useless meetings with endless discussions and nothing accomplished, it’s imperative that you set your week up to be productive with the following HOUSE RULES for running a concise, effective weekly team meeting:
1. You must start your week with a team meeting, whether Monday or on your company’s first business day of the week. Who needs a meeting at the end of the week to discuss what’s already happened? Monday team meetings help plan for the week and get everyone on the same page. It MUST be the same day, the same time each and every week, so everyone can plan on being there. This meeting is sacred and should never be postponed.
2. The meetings should be no longer than an hour.
3. Everyone attends the meeting—from the boss to the receptionist. No exceptions. That’s why it’s called a TEAM meeting.
4. All phones are turned off! Office phones go to voicemail with a recording that let’s callers know that you’re in a team meeting from X am to X am, and will return calls at X am. No cell phones, no Blackberrys. (We know this little device makes you feel very important…but it is a blatant display of disrespect. And we promise your listserv email responses of “me too” can wait an hour.)
5. A predetermined, consistent leader should run the meeting with a standard agenda. The leader should never, ever be the owner of the business. Everyone should be made aware of the agenda prior to the meeting, and come prepared and organized. If the team leader is you, take responsibility for bringing the necessary implements (current schedule, copies of tools/worksheets, pencils, etc.). You can prepare for it at the end of the day Friday, or come in early Monday morning—whatever works for you. (You don’t want to have to say, “I don’t have that” five times during one meeting.) The key is to be accountable. The result is an effective Monday Morning Meeting and respect from your boss and team.
6. Keep “Monday Morning Meeting” agendas and worksheets in front of you all day Monday, until you have all action steps calendared for the bigger strategic items. The easy “Gottas” go right from one list to the next until you can knock them off your list, typically by Tuesday. The result is a focused, planning day.
7. At the end of the week, hold a quick meeting to summarize what was accomplished for the week. We call this “The 10 Minute Team Huddle.”
For a Sample “Monday Morning Meeting” agenda – email us.
Mondays are “Grounding Days” and that’s okay! Give yourself permission for Mondays to be the day to do nothing but attend effective, productive meetings in the morning and recover from the fall out of them in the afternoon. Return calls, emails, and accomplish all the “little” things that are delegated to you during your Monday meetings. Call it a huge WIN! The result is that you’ll be able to hit the ground running Tuesday, which will create a productive, kick butt week, because there’ll be no little things hanging around. It also shows efficiency as you complete all those little things right away. Completing all the meeting fall out by end of day Monday also ensures that little follow ups not immediately handled don’t become major disasters later in the week.
In our last blog, we talked about the blessing and curse of being a leader. We discussed how necessary leadership is to any growing company, and how it can be overwhelming for a leader to balance the needs of their team and their own. Let us share the first of several simple strategies to provide leadership for your team, in a leveraged, structured manner. These strategies produce results, while allowing you to maintain a balance between the demands of your team and your own needs.
Always Lead by Example
This is cliché, so cliché it’s overlooked in every single company we have worked with. It’s fundamentally simple. If you are late to meetings, so will your team. If you listen to hearsay, so does your team. If you don’t complete projects on time, neither will they. If you don’t come to meetings prepared, don’t be surprised when your team schedules over them. Be very aware – as this rarely shows up to yourself as obvious or “no duh”. You’re a professional and your intent clearly is not to declare, “Oh to heck with it, I’ll just wing it.” Instead you have a client emergency that morning, show up to the team meeting five minutes late out of breath, unprepared and frustrated that your team isn’t already in the thick of The Monday Morning Strategy Experience™. Think about it – if you allow client emergencies to happen on Monday morning and fashion havoc on your team meeting, then make certain to carve out time at the end of your day to prepare on Friday. Emergencies happen. Don’t cut your preparation time so close to the meeting that one emergency can blow your day. Whenever there are habits or a culture in your team you don’t like, look to how you may have given permission for this to happen and become the new standard. Just take a moment and look that you may have opened the door for the perception that the team now has a really valid reason for being late and unprepared. If you don’t stop and evaluate your behaviors, your team will not only repeat the same mistakes but it will quickly become the “norm”.
We know you may be thinking, “This is silly…I already know this”. Chances are you probably do. But can see you see it and rectify it within your own team? We encourage you to just pay attention over the next few weeks to situations or team’s actions that irritate or disappoint you. Just check in and see if there was any example you may have unintentionally set or allowed other team members to set. Again, the purpose isn’t to blame yourself or others, it’s simply to recognize the cause and effect of behavior. Try intentionally leading by example in a certain area that is really bugging you. You might not see results the first time, but keep at it, and soon enough quality team will rise to the standard you set. This is a simple, but devastatingly effective, way to provide leadership that produces positive results.
Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will continue to share strategies to lead in a leveraged manner.