This week I was involved in a discussion between a 90-day-into-the-job Client Services Director, and the attorney/business owner. The attorney voiced his deep frustration that the new CSC was not keeping the Five Key Focusers. The CSC felt she had been tossed into the deep end of the pool with very little training, had inherited an extremely disorganized office from the departed and disgruntled CSC, and had worked hard to bring order to the firm, while simultaneously learning the processes and mastering the tools.
Both of them were tired, discouraged and felt unheard and under-appreciated.
Does this sound familiar to you?
I’ve been the tired and discouraged CSC, trying to find time to get everything done that needed to be done, with constant interruptions. So I could totally relate to her story.
On the other hand, I understand what keeps the attorney from sleeping at night …
Let me tell you a true story …
Years back, my husband’s friend’s wife took the family checkbook and went shopping. She was young (and perhaps a blonde – I never asked) and did not fully understand the concept of a checking account. She thought that as long as she had checks, she could just write them. She actually had no idea that you actually had to have money in the bank to cover the checks. True story, I promise!
She wanted to surprise her husband by sprucing up their home, and “purchased” new carpet, flooring, drapes and decorative items.
By the time her husband discovered what she had done, not only had she written out checks, but she had not documented the amounts nor identified to whom she had written the checks. She simply wrote checks until she ran out. It was a few days before her husband knew anything about her “surprise” so when he found out; it was too late to stop payments and cancel purchases, etc.
Back in the days before you could just log into your bank account online Peter, the friend, had no way to know his actual balance, nor to control or plan for the consequences. It was a total mess and, as I understand it, seriously stressed their relationship for quite a while.
Am I trying to say that the CSC acted in the same way as this newlywed? Not at all! But she didn’t realize that by not capturing critical business data her boss, the attorney, feels that he has no way to do damage control or to ensure that her salary check will clear the bank at the end of the month. He needs to know who is calling the firm, how they heard about the firm, and see the birds-eye view of what is going on with prospects, conversions and cash flow. He must be able to depend upon her capturing this information, because he himself is not in a position to do so. She is the only one in a position to be able to document this information, and if he cannot rely upon her attention to detail it will send him into a panic mode.
Which is exactly what happened!
In so many areas of life we tend to pay attention and care for urgent matters, too often at the expense of critical matters. Yes, it’s urgent that the phones be answered. It’s urgent that prospects receive quality and painstaking care. It’s urgent that documents get drafted and clients get scheduled … but it is CRITICAL that the business side of the firm is tended and cared for.
If your firm is not documenting through the Five Key Focusers, or some other means, and you would like more information on how to take control and sleep better contact me at email@example.com.
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Nedra Catale - Coaching, Consulting & Implementation, Lawyers With Purpose