Ask the Coach – May 2021

Q. Should I Create a Task Force to Address Issues Impacting our Firm?

A. Delegation is Key in tackling seemingly daunting tasks or Implementing Necessary / Important Changes – Read on to Learn How to Avoid Common Pitfalls of a Task Force or Committee

The rest of this question read “… because our shareholder group can’t seem to make a decision on anything…!”

If you are partner, you may have witnessed some great discussions (and debates) among the shareholder group about how to address and control all the changes that need to happen NOW – remote working schedules, digital / electronic exchange of documentation and files, tracking of time & billing, collections, moving to the cloud (have you not done this yet – really?!) and upgrades to better technology all around – which is imperative to your staying competitive in a rapidly expanding environment. Many of you can relate to the comment above – either about how the shareholder group can’t make a decision or takes too long to make changes that really should happen sooner than later.

With so many things to tackle – the most important of which is client work and managing jobs and staff, How are you supposed to make informed decisions on things outside your realm of knowledge and experience?

The fastest way to do this is to outsource the tasks – there might be research to be done, questions to be answered, surveys to be taken (internally and externally) and there must be special attention paid to the tone and message by which any new “mandates” are communicated to ensure that everyone agrees to the benefit of the changes and is ready, willing and able to jump on board and start (or stop) doing things differently – compliance all around!

A Task Force or Committee is a great way to delegate this work to someone else so that you can remain productive while they figure out the best way to smoothly and confidently transition to whatever changes need to happen  – I make it sound so easy, right? It certainly CAN be – trust me! I will share my top tips on creating and empowering a Task Force to get the job done:

Well-Formed Outcome – State the well-formed outcome of the effort up front – something like: “The firm is exploring the benefits of …… (insert goal here) in order to …. (state the benefits / results here).

Describe the Expectations / Parameters of the Group: “The members of the Task Force will be expected to participate in monthly meetings between 45-90 minutes in order to carve an action plan to ….”

Invitation Only – Then call for volunteers – don’t assign anyone ever to a task force. You might even ask for some specifics here – “we are looking for a variety of staff from different departments who feel they can contribute to the firm’s long term strategic plan…” (I have seen too many firms with top heavy partners over 55+ years old sitting on these long term strategic plan  …. Remember your partners are not the only people with knowledge, experience, and insight to offer.

Timeline – please note that if the goal of the Task Force is to achieve something in less than 6 months, a committee / group is not the way to go. Pick one or two individuals to take charge of anything that short-term.

Celebrate & Applaud the Efforts of allthat participated in the group and call out certain members (if not all) by name and explain how they specifically aided in the accomplishment or success of the task at hand. Sharing success stories like this helps to educate and inspire the rest to do MORE for the firm. This creates a sense of ownership and accountability among staff at all levels, improves morale, and fosters a sense of loyalty among your employees.

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If you have any questions about this content or would like to schedule a complimentary coaching session, please e-mail lisatierney@comcast.net

Lisa Tierney, CLSC is a certified life strategies coach and a marketing strategist who has empowered professional service providers in the accounting and law professions for over twenty years. She is founder & President of TIERNEY Coaching & Consulting, Inc. which offers a unique and highly effective blend of traditional consulting in tandem with professional coaching to address all the nuances of success – including mind, body & spirit. The professionals who work with TIERNEY coaches enjoy increased self-confidence and higher self-esteem, adopt a more relaxed, yet authoritative demeanor, start asking power questions, treat their clients with a more consultative approach – and benefit from a natural growth in their practice or service area. They usually report a significant increase in their overall satisfaction of their professional experience.

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