In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, solo lawyer Joleena Louis shares how she delegates work while fighting her urges as a control freak.
Delegation is very hard for me. It just doesn’t come naturally. My practice is my baby and I like to be in absolute control over everything.
Unfortunately, I can’t do it all and in order to grow my practice (and save my sanity), I have to delegate some tasks. There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to do it all (much to my dismay).
I’ve been working with virtual assistants for a while and more recently with a virtual paralegal and I’ve learned some tips to make it a little easier to let go.
Here is how I have effectively managed my relationship with my virtual helpers, without going crazy!
Emphasize Your Core values
One of the first conversations I have with my virtual assistant includes background information on my business and what is important to me. I think it helps with providing consistent service- especially if they will have any interaction with your clients.
Plus, this helps to set the tone for all future work, so they have a better understanding of what firm’s expectations are.
Share the End Goal
Often I will delegate a portion of a project but I find I get better results if the virtual assistant knows the end goal.
For example, if they are working on a Facebook ad, I’ll let them know what result I want to achieve i.e x number of webinar attendees, x number of new consultations, etc.
It’s easier to produce high-quality work when you know what you are working towards.
Give Specific Guidelines & Processes
The only way to get consistent results is to complete a task the same way every time. For this, I use checklists and various guidelines that I know are proven to work.
For example, if I want a paralegal to draft pleadings, I’ll give them a form with very specific checklist that includes font, spacing, etc. This way know the end result will be consistent with any work that I have done personally.
Give Clear Deadlines
The first virtual assistant I hired had a busy schedule and seemed to think my deadlines were flexible. I learned to give deadlines ahead if when I actually need things done and to get updates on the progress of each project.
Get it in Writing
Having a contract in place is a given, but you should also be sure that all assignments are in writing so everyone is on the same page.
I have a form that I use to delegate each task. The form includes detailed instructions, deadlines, and who to reach with questions. This has made delegating easier for both myself and my virtual assistants and greatly cut down misunderstandings between us.
Delegating work should ease your stress not cause more. If done correctly even the most controlling solo can learn to let go. And if you ever hope to grow your firm past a one man operation, then you are going to have to learn how to effectively delegate!