With thanks again to the team at Slipstream Group, the second part of this two-article series delivers a ’12 Quick Wins’ checklist to help advice practices find more capacity in order to optimise their opportunities to build a successful business…

  1. Adopt the mantra “I am indistractable”

This one comes courtesy of the book, “Indistractable” by Nir Eyal. Instead of allowing yourself to be distracted by emails and interruptions, close the door and put your phone on silent. Resolve to focus on a big important task until you get it DONE.

2. Embrace 3 magic words – “What’s your recommendation?”

The old way – A team member knocks on your door and proceeds to share a problem with you. Absorbed in your priorities and with an eye on an upcoming appointment, you clear space on a corner of your desk and say, “Leave it with me”.

The new way – After listening to the team member, ask, “What’s your recommendation?”

Possible Scenarios –

  • The team member has a logical and well-thought-out suggestion – excellent!
  • You say, “sounds like you need to think this through some more before we discuss it.”

Outcome – In time, you will foster independent thought and less reliance on you.

3. Two liberating words to share with your team members – “You’re empowered”

If you’ve set the context, determined the budget and/or provided guidelines, then let your team member get on with it. By all means, be available as a sounding board if required and conduct a subsequent debrief upon conclusion should this be appropriate.

4. Take the time to plan your day before plunging into emails

A timeless classic which is often overlooked. Invest 10 minutes at the start of the day to identify priorities, who you need to collaborate with, and set aside time to prepare for upcoming meetings.

5. Keep your main priorities for the day in full view

At the top of my daily to-do list is the heading “Big Ticket”. This heading is reserved for intended activities which will generate progress towards achieving long-term business objectives.

6. Don’t have your emails open unless you are working on them

No need for further explanation! Eliminate “dings”, visual prompters, and other buzzing noises from your device settings.

7. Close the door to your office as often as needed

When you absolutely need to get something done, or simply to cut down on outside distractions, close the door to your office. A variation on this theme is to go to a meeting room – it helps to reduce the potential distractions on and around your desk.

8. Make yourself accountable for getting an important task done

This works well with the daily team meeting, or simply making a declaration to a colleague. An undertaking along the following lines will do wonders for your completion:

  • “Today, I’m going to get [insert task] done.”
  • “I’m not going home until [task] is completed.”
  • “I pledge $500 towards [insert repugnant cause] if I don’t get [task] done today.”

9. Implement a peer review system before the file comes to you

Some variations on this suggestion –

  • A senior team member to review the client file before it comes to you, leaving only the big picture items for you to consider
  • Team members at a similar level swap their files prior to finalisation

NB: You may need to train these team members in what to look for, potentially providing them with a checklist to follow.

10. Check in with your ID profile regularly

Your ID report (instinctivedrives.com) contains plenty of valuable suggestions as to how you can perform at your best. Feel free to talk with us about running a workshop for you and your team for deeper insights.

11. Quality file notes and work instructions, prepared promptly post client meetings

There are a number of ways to accomplish this – pick as many as you need:

  • Have an assistant sit in the client meetings to take notes
  • Use a standard form to capture action items
  • Use a standard form to capture the engagement instructions
  • Prepare your notes/instructions as soon as the meeting has finished

12. Embrace Dragon Dictate or alternative dictation software

This recommendation is not so much a “Quick Win” as a “Big Win”. Yes, there is some setting up involved – purchasing the software, setting up your microphone etc. but this is relatively minor. Thereafter… simply just get going!

Start with file notes and work instructions which don’t need 100% accuracy – your notes will be far more comprehensive, and you will get them done much faster. Build up to dictating emails and other forms of written advice.

FREE WEBINAR for financial advice, accounting businesses:

From Good to Great and how to get there

Join us on Tuesday, 8th November, at 12pm (AEST) for a live, data-driven free webinar hosted by CEO Sharon McClafferty on the topic:

“From Good to Great: A deep dive into firms that have scaled, regained control, and how they did it.”

Slipstream Group delivers business coaching services for financial planning and accounting firms. Its team of professional consultants seeks to make a massive difference to owners of financial planning and accounting businesses in which its group coaching and bespoke consulting projects assist firms to grow revenue, maximise profit, work through succession planning matters, improve lifestyle, enhance team engagement and above all run a better business.

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