A funny thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago in my criminal defense law firm – my assistant of about a year let me know that she was leaving.
It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy her job, I actually think she enjoyed it a lot, but she wanted to move on and do some other things (I say save the world – she’s joining the peace corp).
Her leaving is going to be hard to get over, but I’m going to be okay, because I took the time to create a set of operating procedures that the next person can hopefully come in and immediately start following.
Being a Seattle criminal lawyer isn’t rocket science, but there are some things that need to be done on a daily basis if you want to be good at what you do. One of those things is keeping track of everything that is going on and making sure everyone gets to where they are supposed to be on time. Without that in place everything can fall apart.
In this case, not only did I write down everything I thought an assistant should do as a part of their duties, I had my assistant fill in the gaps. What’s left is a literal step-by-step of how to do the job. If that hadn’t of been there I’d be scrambling right now trying to train a new assistant and be a criminal lawyer at the same time.
With the way everyone’s schedules worked, the new assistant and the old assistant will have four days together to figure out what’s going on. Without having those written processes in place, I don’t think it could happen. And if it didn’t happen there would not only be one unhappy Seattle criminal attorney, there’d be a criminal attorney in danger of dropping all the balls that are in the air in a practice like this.
Don’t until your help leaves to try to figure out exactly what they do – have them write it down. If and when they decide to leave (and if you are hiring the right people in your business they are going to leave eventually) you’ll have everything in place to help out the next person.