Today’s Practice Tip: Six Villains Who Hinder Your Firm’s Progress

Six Villains Who Hinder Your Firm’s Progress

We’re all working so hard these days. With new federal tax legislation being debated in Congress, and our clients’ portfolios skyrocketing, most of us aren’t lacking work. Yet, we wish we didn’t have to run so fast on that treadmill. Not only do we want great take-home, but we want the same for our team, who supports us, our clients and give it their all every day.

But there are villains in our midst! See if any of them lurk in the shadows of your office suite:

Rugged Randy thinks he can do it all himself. He doesn’t need to hire anyone, since he’ll never delegate much of anything. His typical excuses are “I can do it faster than if I have to explain it to someone,” “They won’t do it as well as I can do it,” and “I can’t afford to hire anyone to do it.” The reason he can’t afford to hire much-needed assistance, whether it’s an associate attorney, paralegal, or clerical worker is because he’s not in his highest and best use, so revenue will always be stunted. Delegating Dan can come to the rescue for Rugged Randy, let’s hope it’s not too late!

Procrastinating Patty knows she has a long checklist of things to do but is paralyzed because she’s working on tasks that she doesn’t enjoy, whether projects for clients or administratively for the firm. If Patty would only recognize that other people enjoy some of the tasks she detests, she might feel better about getting things off her desk. She might also be hampered by Rugged Randy Syndrome or by Cheap Chad, which I next describe. Our heroes, Delegating Dan and JustSayNo Julie are Procrastinating Patty’s nemeses.

Cheap Chad never wants to pay for anything. He’s running Windows 98 as his operating system, and most of his software is no longer supported by the developers. He also likes to download test versions of software using different email accounts. He undervalues his employees, resulting in low morale. Coupling Cheap Chad with Hellish Hallie usually erupts in constant dumpster files. Reactive rather than proactive is the name of the game in this office. Appreciating Alice and Strategizing Simon counteracts these syndromes, but it takes a lot for this tiger to change his stripes.

Hellish Hallie’s temper can flash hot at any moment. Her team is afraid to take chances because they’re blamed for mistakes they make, as well as those Hellish Hallie makes herself. When a team fears that they may get roasted by this fire-breathing behemoth, they simply ask her approval for every mundane task and are quick to point fingers at one another. Eventually, Hellish Hallie transforms into Burned-Out Bernie. The team in this office definitely needs an Appreciating Alice on their side, otherwise, the whole place is likely to implode.

Head-in-Sand Harry’s go-to phrase is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! He’s even worse than Cheap Chad in the sense that he sees no reason to keep up with the times until it’s too late. In today’s hyper-competitive and ever-changing marketplace, Head-in-Sand Harry’s firm is likely to die a slow death. The antidote here is Technology Ted coupled with Strategizing Simon.

Burned-Out Bernie is the unfortunate result of all of these syndromes, if not corrected sooner rather than later. At some point, Burned-Out Bernie throws up his hands in despair and retires, changes occupations, or moves on to another firm so he can just work and let everyone else worry about the business of practicing law. The Freedom Practice, where like-minded attorneys want to be the heroes in this story rather than the villains in our private bat-cave. We play your faithful servant Alfred, ready to do battle, helping you and your team achieve your goals, and enjoy work again.

To your bigger future,

Craig R. Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney, CPA
Senior Partner, The Sheppard Law Firm
Founder, The Freedom Practice®
PS – Which of these villains lurks in your office? Practice Xcelerator is only a month away! Call us if you have any questions.

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