In a coaching conversation with a team member, we were discussing her role and what her Top Three Most Important Activities were. The more we talked, the more overwhelmed she got. Although there were many items on her list of responsibilities, she felt like her boss didn’t really value any of them. She was completely discouraged, feeling overwhelmed with work, and that the work she did was not valued.
So we broke it down. We talked about each of the main areas of responsibility she had. And instead of looking at it like a task or a to-do, we looked at it like a boss would: with the question, how does this make us or save us money?
Now, while it isn’t ALL about the money, it really is all about the money. Our bosses pay us, so the work we produce must somehow be related to bringing in income. Some ways are obvious and direct, and some are more in a support or influencing manner. But there MUST be a connection to cash flow. Even if they want to, no boss or company can afford to have too much time spent on activities that don’t influence revenue.
Initially, this realization discouraged this team member even more. She doesn’t collect checks. She doesn’t do marketing. So now her job is on the line??? She felt even more undervalued.
I promised her that, even if she wasn’t influencing revenue (although she probably was), it’s important to delve into the issue and change it if needed. And I promised her, as I promise you, that EVERY boss will be engaged in a conversation about how you can better impact revenue in the business.
So we dug deeper, and we connected the dots on some activities. For instance, we conservatively estimated the amount of fees that were sitting there in those two-year-old probate files on her eternal to-do list, which irritated her boss to no end when she wanted to meet about them. We estimated easily $30,000 in legal fees waiting to be billed. Not too shabby.
And we dug deeper on the invoices that took a month to get finalized and mailed out because no one entered their time as they worked; instead, they “re-created later” and the attorney tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked (and hid when she tried to meet about them). We did a quick estimate of how many fees were “comped” or reduced by the attorney because he felt awkward sending a bill out a month after services were completed. Our conservative estimate was $2,500 a month.
Some things were important because they enhanced the client experience and helped the company get hired. But as we went through them, she realized that only so much time can be spent on those things. So we looked for more effective ways to produce the same results.
And some tasks she felt were really important, but we dug in and discovered they were very time-consuming and far removed from influencing cash flow. So we had honest conversations on whether those were necessary, and what the fallout would be if we did away with them.
And while it sounds so crass, it is all about the revenue. When revenue isn’t sufficient, client needs aren’t well-addressed and you don’t have money to spend on extras for them. Keeping your eye on the connection to revenue allows you to responsibly allocate the proper time and ROI to each task and team member so your revenue is stable and sufficient.
At the end of the conversation, I reiterated why she really needed to share this conversation with her boss. She needed to get his input, but also to engage him in some of those tasks he felt so averse to – and perhaps didn’t realize the amount of money that aversion was costing. I encouraged her to discuss some ways to be more effective. She hesitated, thinking of how she had been brushed off so many times by her boss for bringing up those old files and billing. As I tried to reinforce to her the importance of not just the tasks, but of HER role in the tasks, she said “I know, I know I’m important.”
“Yes,” I said, “you are important. But more so, you are VALUABLE to this company. Right now, attached to your projects for the next quarter and your top three most important activities, we have identified over $40,000 in revenue earned or saved. That’s not just important, there is VALUE in that to your company. Your boss NEEDS to know this, and you can stand tall in knowing that what you are bringing up might not be the most fun task for either of you, but there is value to its completion and value to your part in it.”
She got it.
And her boss got it.
If you need help understanding your Top Three Most Important Activities, your Power Projects and the value of your role (in dollars that your boss understands), consider our VIP Strategy Day. During this session your team members will identify their most important activities and how they connect to revenue and support the company’s growth – so everyone can understand their value to the company.