man with No SignDo you have an idea or suggestion you want to try, but you can’t get your boss on board?   Maybe you’ve gotten an outright no, or maybe just an “I’m thinking about it” – indefinitely.  And for the life of you, you can’t figure out why.  After all, the boss tells you to step up, grow and own your position.  Then, when you try to move forward, you get nothing.  What’s the deal?

Often your boss is telling you no because he/she doesn’t know what your idea means for the workload you already have.  (And, let’s be honest, you may have complained once or twice about having too much on your plate!)  A business owner has to think through workflow, capacity and how to ultimately make sure things are completed.  So the natural concern is, “If she starts moving into this new role or takes on this new project, who is going to get the work done that she currently does?  I can’t afford to hire someone new right now.”  But they don’t want to squash your enthusiasm by telling you no, so they stall.  Not intentionally, they just don’t know how to handle the situation.

The conversation you can have with your boss to get clear on what you are taking on, and when and how to do it, is the conversation of replacing yourself.  Now, you might be saying “Whoa there, wait a minute!  I like what I do.  I just wanted to take on this one new thing.”  Or you might be saying “Yes!  I want to do something new here that is more of a fit for me.  How do I go about replacing myself?” Or, some of you are saying, “I tried that!  Never again.  I couldn’t get out of my old role so I ended up with twice the work and was completely overwhelmed.”

Since we’ve heard these sentiments a lot, we’ve identified Eight Laws of Replacing Yourself.  Following them will open up the conversation with your boss and create not just the path and plan, but the laws to support this replacement so it doesn’t collapse and leave you with a mess.  This might be a three-month plan or a three-year plan, but it needs to be created so you can move forward with your boss’s full support and understanding in how it creates a win-win-win: for the company, for the client and for you.  Trust us, your boss doesn’t want you to quit because you feel there is no opportunity for growth.

A great example of a plan to replace yourself is Angie’s story.  Angie came aboard our law firm as the receptionist.  She was great with people and had tremendous potential.  We had just started licensing a program we’d created for working with corporate clients to other law firms.  Angie was helping me get the materials ready and came along to a conference where we had an exhibit booth.  When she saw what it was all about, she got really excited.  She declared that she wanted to run this program.  And she had the skill set and definitely the passion.  However, we didn’t have the budget to hire another receptionist and move her up into this role;  the program was just getting off the ground and was not yet profitable.  But we didn’t want to squash her enthusiasm.  So together we created a plan for what she needed to be learning, and we set a goal to get 20 law firms licensing the program, which would enable us financially to hire a new receptionist and move her up.  And, oh yeah, she should be systemizing EVERYTHING about the receptionist role that wasn’t already systemized because she would be in charge of training the new person.  It worked great!  We didn’t over-extend ourselves financially before we were ready, and she knew exactly what to be working on and was learning to support the plan.  We estimated that it would take eight months to hit the goal, but we made it in six.

In the next several blog posts, we will be sharing the Eight Laws of Replacing Yourself so you too can create a path and plan for your next growth step.

A key element of helping your team grow, and replace themselves, is to empower them through Employee Reviews.  Not the archaic employee review you are used to but a planning session of empowerment to create a Growth Map.  To learn more, join our free Webinar “Conducting Empowering Employee Reviews” on Wednesday, March 26th at 3-4pm ET.  Click here to register.