Your personal manifesto (a/k/a “The Guide to Working with John”) provides insight into your personality and how you prefer to work. Expose the whole firm to this and share it when onboarding new team members. The more that people know about you, the better.
The Guide to Working with John
This is a guide to my preferences and management style. You are welcome to share this with our team members, vendors and anyone we do business with.
How I Communicate: I hate email. I rarely look at email and you should not expect me to respond immediately to email or even a text. Responding to email is not a productive use of my time.
If you have to communicate urgently with me, call my cell.
I hate unscheduled phone calls, especially sales calls. If a client needs to speak with me and you can’t answer their questions, schedule a phone call between 4 pm and 5 pm Unless absolutely unavoidable, avoid scheduling phone calls for me during the morning or afternoon.
How I View Success: I define success as having a major impact on the lives of severely disabled persons. That’s it—there are no financial parameters involved in success. I don’t need a fancy car or a big house. If we’ve changed the lives of the disabled—even a few of them—we’ve served our purpose in life.
John’s Personality: I love interacting with our clients and referral partners. I especially love strategic planning for our law firm and helping other lawyers with their law firms.
I love self-improvement and attend many seminars. I encourage you to do the same (we will pay for it).
I love fitness and nutrition. I am a fan of the fitness program, www.MyBodyTutor.com. If you would like a membership, we will pay for it.
My Management Style: I like having large blocks of time with no distractions or interruptions. This is conducive to productive work. Interruptions are the enemy of productive work.
When distracted, it will likely take at least 5-10 minutes to return to the focused work. Whenever possible, try to avoid distractions unless completely unnecessary.
I do not want to be involved in intake decisions unless a new case is pre-qualified for merit by our intake team. Try to avoid interrupting me with intake questions unless you believe that a case meets our criteria for a meritorious case.
I will be accessible to our team members at our daily huddle. If you have questions or concerns, bring them up at our daily huddle.
We only work with exceptional team members. I don’t want you to ask me what to do; rather, I want you to tell me what to do. You have ideas that can make our firm better. I want you to think for yourself and create policies and systems that we don’t have.
Before coming to me with a question, I want you to follow the 1:3:1 rule:
#1: Identify the problem.
#3: Identify 3 possible solutions.
#1: Make a recommendation.
Everything we do is a team effort, including the initial intake to the trial. If the initial intake is not handled well, we do not get the case. Every member of our team is just as important as the others.
I strongly encourage the use of “We” and “Us”, rather than “I” and “me”.
What Gains and Loses My Trust: Dishonesty. We have a zero-tolerance policy for dishonesty. If one of our team members lies—even a small lie—they are shown the door. It’s that simple. If a team member can’t be trusted in little things, they can’t be trusted at all.
Lack of effort. If mistakes are made due to lack of effort, that is not acceptable. If you are trying your best, it’s okay if mistakes are made.
Being late. It’s okay to arrive early to work and/or stay late. It’s not okay to be chronically late to work.
Things John Hates: Asking twice. I hate asking a team member more than once to do the same thing. Having to ask more than one time for the same thing is irritating to me.
Negativity. I hate negativity. There is always something we can complain about, but life’s too short. It’s far better to see the good things in our life, not the bad. If something bad has happened in your life, it’s okay to share, but let’s try to find the good in every person who crosses our path (including defense lawyers).
Things John Loves: Passion for the disabled. I love working with team members who love working for the disabled and are passionate about the rights of the disabled. Passion for the rights of the disabled is the single most important quality that our team members must possess.
Take the Initiative. I love working with team members who take the initiative and don’t wait for permission to act. I will never fault you fo taking too much action or making mistakes. We hired you because you are exceptional and I want you to use your skills without asking for my permission.
Exceed Expectations. Do more than you’re asked to do. I love it when a team member exceeds my expectations and does more than I ask.
How John Handles Disagreements: We have a no gossip rule. Do not bad mouth another team member behind their back. If you’ve got something to say, say it to their face with kindness and empathy. No one is perfect—we are fallible human beings.
Permission to Spend $: You have my permission to spend up to $200 without asking for permission. If you want to buy a gift for a client, don’t ask for my permission. If you want to take a client to lunch, you don’t need my permission.
If you want to attend a marketing or self-improvement seminar, we will pay for it (and I might want to attend).