The Change Implementation Series
I know just how hard it is knowing where to begin on your change journey, so I’ve written this series around the six starting points that I use to make implementation easier for my clients. Last week I introduced the series in TA75 – The Kick-start Change Implementation Plan. This article is part 2 of a 7 part series on kick-starting your own change implementation plan.
Part 1. Saying ‘No’
I believe that saying ‘no’ gives you clarity. If you want to know more about the ‘Disease to Please’ that drives this, I recommend the book. It covers why we say ‘yes’ when we know we really mean ‘no’.
If you said ‘no’ to 20% of the tasks that come across your desk, how much extra thinking time would you have to do VAS?
How we undervalue our worth by saying ‘yes’ to everything
- all things to all people – transactional vs value
- give a little bit extra away every time, is it necessary?
- it just makes you busier “ let me do that, i’ll send an email to remind you”
- start giving advice before they pay
- desire to keep the client happy or
- avoid the hard discussion
- answer a question before you know the real problem, accountants get tagged with this all the time, we don’t get deep enough with clients
How to save time by saying ‘No’ to Meetings
Brian Tracy, productivity author of Eat That Frog, cites meetings as the third biggest time waster at work. My question to Accountants is ‘Why have a meeting if you’re not prepared to give advice or create the solution in the meeting?’ Client meetings are often a waste of your time.
Instead of automatically booking a meeting, try sending the client a checklist of what’s needed or if they have contacted you and want to meet regarding an issue, ask them to send in the details of the issue or a list of their questions prior to the meeting.
That way you can be prepared and do research prior to a meeting, this is helpful in two ways:
- Increases clarity: client is clear on what they really need and you are clear on providing an outcome, and
- Makes the meeting more efficient by allowing you to focus meeting time on high level matters.
I discovered this while dealing with a legal situation for one of my clients that required me to contact the client solicitor. This is the process I had to go through:
- Receptionist booked a time in his diary for us to talk,
- I was required to send a brief on the matter so he could be prepared before our talk,
- When we did talk…
- he asked questions to clarify,
- told set the timeframe in which he would provide the answer, and
- booked in a follow up call to go through the advice.
The next time I dealt with him, I began by sending him the brief, time frame and suggested a diary meeting to discuss, as I knew that would be the most effective way for both of us. No messing around, just straight into it.
Because the solicitor said ‘No’ to the normal process, I learnt the most effective way to deal with him. This saved as both time, while ensuring that I was organised and clear on what was needed.
Before you ring a client or accept a client’s request to meet, consider the impact of you saying ‘no’. What would the alternative be for you? Is it like the solicitor or another process?
Benefits of saying ‘No’:
- Frees up time – giving you space to think.
- Gives you clarity on what is needed for an outcome.
- Identifies profitable activities.
- Increases understanding of your value.
Client Example – Damien from Easdown created a script for his team that saved everyone time
Damien found that his clients were still calling and asking for him directly, even though his team processed 90% of their workload. So Damien started saying ‘No’ to taking client calls. Instead he created a script allowing the receptionist to extract relevant information about the enquiry and forward it to the right team member who then responded.
By starting with ‘No’ Damien saved his own time and that of the client by dealing with the enquiry more efficiently and leveraging his team.
What’s your example of saying ‘no’ to save time or busyness?
If you can’t think of an example, ask yourself where you need to add a time saving strategy.
This is the first strategy in a six part series that addresses how to confidently begin implementing your change growth plan.
Next week we continue with “2. Build confidence to implement by getting crystal clear on what you want”.
- The biggest hurdle holding most Accountants back on their growth journey,
- Six questions that will give you clarity around what you really want, and
- How an accountant utilised this strategy
As always, if there is a specific barrier holding up your firm’s implementation or you want help saying ‘No’ in your business, you’re welcome to comment below or book a time using the link below the comment box.
Please also feel free to share this article with your leadership team and networks.
Andrew Robertson | TwentySix Group