By Ken and Tiana Hardison, Esqs
As a law firm owner – the Buck always stops with you. Everyone wants to talk with you. Everyone “needs” something from you. You get blasted with emails – texts- and stopped in the halls by staff throughout the day that needs a “minute” of your time….
Over the years, through the process of building two law firms, I learned a simple but profound concept that I’d like to share with you. This little gem will make your life a lot easier and allow you to focus on the big ideas that help you accomplish MORE in your law practice better. Here’s the deal – Many of the little daily problems that your staff have will solve themselves and jumping in the middle to “fix” something just complicates things. If you’ve hired talented and committed employees, most of the time, they already know what they need to do to fix a problem. Give them the opportunity to fix these little issues themselves. Many times, your “two cents” aren’t truly needed.
Of course, none of us like to feel ignored. You don’t want your staff to feel you don’t care about them, but you also need to empower your employees to be independent problem solvers. You shouldn’t spend your day being pulled from one mini fire to another. And in truth, these “fires” are typically sparks, at best. It is important to give your staff the time and opportunity to work through day-to-day issues on their own. So, the next time one of your staff says they need a “moment” of your time to talk about something – unless it is a true emergency, try this little experiment: Don’t immediately be pulled into a discussion. Instead, let them know that you will be available later that day or the next day to answer their questions. Then, take note – By putting them off just a few hours, you’d be surprised how many of these little day-to-day issues will solve themselves.
Here’s a strategy you can implement to help you solve the “got a minute” time vampires in your practice. Set aside 30 minutes each day to deal with those “got a minute” request and set up a Clip Board that you hang beside your door with a sign-up sheet for those 30 minutes, broken into six five-minute time slots. When staff come to you or try to grab you in the halls with these “Can I talk with you for a minute” requests, send them to the clipboard.
I implemented this exact strategy in my law firm, and it worked quite well. When I first started my law firm, and we were a small organization, it was easy to answer quick questions from the staff. However, once I’d grown the firm to a point where we had 30 or more staff, these “got a minute” requests became a real problem. Setting up the clipboard system by my office door kept me from being pulled in a hundred different directions all day long. Staff could see that I was willing to help them, but in a controlled, systematized manner that cuts down on the day-to-day chaos. Staff either signed up for a time slot, and we talked through the issues at that time, or they solved the problems themselves because they didn’t want to wait for their allotted time slot. This simple tactic saved me a significant amount of time and allowed my days to run much more smoothly.
The truth is that competent employees usually know what they need to do to resolve a particular issue. Many times, they really don’t “need” your input at all. And here’s another tip – You probably already know that in order to grow your law practice, you must spend concerted time working “on” your law practice rather than “in” it. But lawyers tell me all the time that they just don’t have “time” to do this. Inevitably, however, we all make time for the things that are most important to us.
And in order to grow your law firm, there is no substitute for making time for the intentional and strategic thinking that results in transformational growth. You need time to shut out the day-to-day issues and focus on the bigger picture. You need time away from the daily grind of your practice so that you can create the Strategic Marketing and Management plans that will allow you to scale your practice for greater growth and profits. You can create this time “away” from your practice without ever leaving the office by marking out at least 2 hours one day each week and put yourself on D & D. Tell your assistant that you are completely unavailable during this time. Period.
And then use this time to GROW your FIRM!
- Review your quarterly goals- reflecting on where you are and where you want to be.
- Catch up on PILMMA Webinars or podcasts you’ve missed.
- Identify local lawyers you can take to lunch to build profitable referral relationships.
- Write handwritten notes to clients and past clients who have referred cases to you.
- Work on a book that you can give to clients and push out digitally on social media to set you apart from your competition and build relationships with prospective clients.
- Listen to recorded Intake calls to your firm to make sure that your intake department isn’t dropping the valuable leads that come into your office (or use a service like Ghost calls for Lawyers to make, record, and analyze these Intake calls for you, and use this time to review their analysis. (www.lawyerghostcalls.com)
The important thing is to commit to making time to Grow your Practice. The time won’t simply present itself – Life and your law practice will always get in the way. Don’t let it. Take Action. Be committed to working ON your law practice and taking it to the Next Level.
And know that if you are stuck or hitting obstacles that are impeding your ability to take your law firm to the Next level, PILMMA is here to help you. Our Mastermind program is unparalleled in helping lawyers experience exponential growth, and the PILMMA membership will give you a wealth of ideas, strategies, and weekly and monthly resources to help you achieve greater success, more cases, more profits, and the law practice that works for you.
*** Click here to Learn More and Join PILMMA
*** Click here to Learn More about PILMMA Mastermind Groups