Working diligent and effectively at all things in life is good. At the same time, when you are diligent and effective, others can see that as an opportunity to pile you up with more tasks and that can be a slippery slope. Saying “no” (realistically) early and often when you start getting overwhelmed is important for your well being and helps set boundaries with those lovely little “task delegators.”
Think of your workload like food. You can pile a mound of food on your plate like it’s a Thanksgiving feast, and you want to be sure and take a little bit of everything so not to offend anyone who contributed to the meal, but the reality is, your stomach is only so big and you can only eat so much at a time, right? Even if you gorge yourself to the point of not being able to move…you become sluggish and tired and likely feel like crap. Am I right? Hey, we’ve all been there! And what would happen if you continued such a “Thanksgiving feast” heavy eating pattern on a daily basis? Never saying no to the food? You’d likely grow to an unhealthy weight and be perpetually sluggish and tired – along with the development of other ailments like sleeplessness. Similarly, it’s important to remember that your plate is only so big. If you pile the plate high enough, eventually food falls off the plate, onto the floor, and likely ends up in the trash, right? So how do we normally manage a full plate of food? Well, you take a little bit – eat it all – and if you’re still hungry, you go back for seconds, right?
Your workload, in the office or in life, is no different. You can’t live every day like it’s Thanksgiving and you can’t say no to great grandma Jean’s corn pudding or aunt Suzie’s pumpkin cheesecake. It will literally make you less effective and likely sick – in more ways than one. When people are trying to delegate more than what you can reasonably handle, recognize this! Say “no” (and mean it) early and often to protect your health and sanity.
Until next time friends…
Let’s face it, the word “lawyer” for many is akin to a four letter expletive that people are offended by. Typically because it reminds people of getting sued and/or having to shell out, often unexpectedly, loads of cash that they rather have spent elsewhere…like on a vacation. Similarly, like in all professions, not all lawyers are created equal, and not all lawyers really have their client’s financial interests at heart – after all, being a lawyer and having a law firm is a business. I personally pride myself on NOT taking advantage of my clients…giving them direction on how they can do things themselves and helping only where they REALLY need/want it…but after 18+ years in the legal field, I know that not all lawyers share my same client-friendly mindset. It is no wonder that people cringe at the thought of having to use a lawyer.
Lawyers don’t have to be a thorn in your side through. In fact, a good lawyer can be a business’s greatest adviser and advocate – keeping in mind that a job of a lawyer is to tell you what you NEED to hear which can sometimes be very different than what you WANT to hear. All businesses should have a lawyer or two that they keep in regular contact with and it should be part of your regular business operating budget.
Before you go thinking I’m crazy, here are a few reasons that keeping your lawyer updated on the goings on of your business is advantageous:
- Lead Generation: Your lawyer can often be your biggest cheerleader (and lead generator) for future customers. Chances are your lawyer is tapped into many different networks. You never know when someone they know will need your business’s products or services and a solid referral from your lawyer could be future revenue in your pocket.
- Idea Generator: An attorney that understands you, your business, and your goals can be an invaluable asset when it comes to creative thinking. Brainstorming on new ideas with your lawyer may prove to be helpful in that they may be able to think of concepts outside the box for your business that you may not have already thought about. What if that lawyer helps you generate the next million dollar idea?
- Cost Cutting: One thing that many lawyers are good at is organizing and streamlining processes – it’s part of the way we think. What if your lawyer was able to give you ideas on how to streamline an existing process that will considerably help cut costs moving forward? If a few hundred dollars for your lawyer’s time on the telephone could save you thousands of dollars in the next year, wouldn’t you do it? Sure you would. You’d be a fool not to.
- Risk Mitigation: When you brainstorm with your lawyer on a new business concept, they can often help you plan your road-map to reach your goals and help you navigate around pitfalls that you might not even think about. For example, when clients come to me talking about setting up a new business I always ask them the business name and ask if they have considered any reputation issues with that new business name. The same goes for contracting issues, employee issues, etc. To that end as well, there is a LOT of bad information being circulated around on the internet. Indeed it is wise to conduct your own research but don’t you think it prudent to have your research double-checked by someone who knows where to actually find the correct information when it comes to the law? As Dr. Emily So once said, “better information means better ideas, means better protection.”
- Cost Effective: It is a lot cheaper to keep your lawyer up to speed on your business as it grows, even if through a short monthly 15 minute call, than it is to try and ramp your attorney up (trying to teach them everything about your business, including policy changes and the like in a short amount of time) when you suddenly need advice in order to be reactive to a situation – like when you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit. When you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit, you typically only have 20 days (varies by court and jurisdiction) from the date that you are served with a complaint in order to determine what your defenses are and what sort of a response you will need to file. That process becomes a whole lot easier if your attorney already knows about you, your business, it’s policies and procedures, etc. It is also easier to to budget in a few hundred dollars a month to keep your attorney up to date then to get smacked with a request for a $20,000.00 retainer, most of that potentially being eaten up just “learning” about your business, and then having subsequent large litigation bills.
As you can see, there are many reasons to regularly communicate with your attorney and hopefully you would find it more advantageous and beneficial than paying your monthly insurance bill. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
If you are in the state of Arizona and are looking for that solid “friend in the lawyering business” consider Beebe Law, PLLC! We truly enjoy helping our business clients meet and exceed their goals! Contact us today.
All information contained in this blog (www.beebelawpllc.blog.com) is meant to be for general informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal advice or relied upon. All legal questions should be directed to a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
I see it all the time; business owners who hire professionals that turn around and try to tell them how to do their job. Some call it micromanaging. Others call it “big boss syndrome.” What I know is this concept just doesn’t make sense. Why would you do that? Assuming that the quote “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” was actually said by Steve Jobs…I think he had it right.
Smart people, by their very design and nature, will not automatically be “yes” men. They will question, analyze and reason with any requests that are made of them and, if they disagree with your position, they are going to tell you so and they will not do what you ask them to do if they know it is wrong or is going to bring harm to you in the long run. Professionals are not going to tell you what you WANT to hear…they are going to tell you what you NEED to hear.
A wise colleague of mine once said that the best you can do is advise your client on the best/right choice to make and let your client take it from there. In the legal world this is true…after all, if the client goofs things up, and you have to fix it, you can look at it as job security. Right? I think, however, in a business setting, and you are an employee who has been hired to do an important job, this can be an even harder pill to swallow. I suppose this is because if the boss screws things up, it could mean that you end up out of a job, or worse, which will make that employee fight harder against “bad” decisions.
Bottom line, if you want a “yes” man all of the time…don’t hire a smart person. It just won’t work.