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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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