As my friend Michael Gerber says, “Without people, you don’t own a practice – you own a job.” Yet, managing the people in your firm can be one of the most stressful aspects of your practice. Most lawyers, when they have a position to fill within their firm, advertise the vacant position and then conduct interviews, hoping to find the perfect employee. They look for someone with relevant experience, and often hire the candidate they’re most drawn to… the one who’s most like them.
Once the new employee is on board, typically he or she is handed a list of responsibilities and left to sink or swim. Sometimes this works out, and sometimes hiring the wrong person turns out to be a time-consuming and costly mistake. Not the best recipe for creating a team of happy, committed, loyal employees.
Now consider a strikingly different scenario. Before the time ever comes to hire a new employee, you’ve designed and implemented systems for every activity that takes place within your firm. There’s a system in place for exactly how the hiring process itself is conducted, there’s a system for monitoring new-hires to make sure that they’re truly the right fit for the job. There are systems for how clients are greeted and for how documents are produced and finalized. From day one, every employee is aware of how his or her job is to be done – there’s no uncertainty.
With these systems in place, your main focus as you interview candidates is not their experience, but the personality and talents of each candidate and how he or she will fit with your firm’s systems. For example, your focus when hiring a receptionist is on finding someone who’s a warm and outgoing people-person, and not necessarily finding someone who’s got a resume a mile long.
Finding people with the right personalities and talents for their particular roles within your firm is essential to having employees who are happy and productive in their jobs. They know what’s expected of them and are well-suited to doing it. When every employee knows that their job is integral to your practice, you build a team that’s invested in your firm’s success.
Putting the right people with the right skills in the right position is such an important part of building a successful practice. We talk about it in The E-Myth Attorney and it’s also on the agenda for a teleseminar we have coming up on August 10th. If you’d like to join us for the teleseminar, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the registration information.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124