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Melissa Shanahan

#146: Productivity, Hiring, and Operations with Gretchen Nicolaysen of Springs Law Group

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Springs Law Group is a firm reaching new heights all the time. We had the founders on a few weeks ago, Chris and Jake. And in this episode, my guest is the person pulling the strings: Gretchen Nicolaysen. We’re discussing productivity, hiring, delegation, and operations with the self-professed queen of getting stuff done.

Gretchen is in an operational role at Springs Law Group, working behind the scenes, building up this amazing firm. While she’s not a founder, she occupies an important seat at Springs, and she has some significant and unique insights into what it takes to help a growing practice succeed.

Gretchen does a ton of work and she has all kinds of responsibilities throughout different areas of the business, and she’s here to share how she juggles all of it. We’re talking conflict, managing people, implementing systems, goals and rocks, as well as dealing with mental drama around being the bosses wife.

Show Notes:

What You’ll Discover:

How Gretchen has seen her role evolve as Springs Law has grown.

Gretchen’s tips for knowing whether you’re on-track and how to track your business’s progress.

The importance of being intentional with every aspect of your work, your goals, and your vision for the future.

How working with me has changed the way the leadership ofSprings Law Group approaches goals, communication, and so much more.

Gretchen’s insights about implementing systems in an expanding firm, and why it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Some of the biggest challenges Gretchen has faced in her work at Springs Law, and how one of these is her own neurosis.

Gretchen’s most valuable pieces of advice for anyone in the operations seat in their firm.

Featured on the Show:

Create space, mindset, and concrete plans for growth. Start here: Velocity Work Monday Map.

Springs Law Group: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | YouTube

Gretchen Nicolaysen: Website | LinkedIn

#106: Goals vs. Rocks

#139: A Candid Conversation About Remarkable Growth withChris Nicolaysen and Jake Kimball of Springs Law Group


Jay Henderson – Real Talent Hiring

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Full Episode Transcript:

Download Transcript PDF

I'm Melissa Shanahan, and this is the Velocity Work podcast, episode number 146.

This podcast is for attorneys who are running their own firms. Weexplore tactics, tools, and stories related to pushing tasks and simplylawyering well and into building a successful firm. Working in your firm andworking on your business are two very different things. This podcast focuses onthe latter.

Melissa: All right. Welcome to the show everyone. I have a veryspecial guest. She has a very special place in my heart. Welcome, Gretchen Nicolaysen.

Gretchen: Thanks, Melissa.

Melissa: I mean Gretchen doesn’t even listen to podcasts.

Gretchen: I really don't. I feel really weird about being on apodcast.

Melissa: I know.

Gretchen: That I will never listen to.

Melissa: I know but thank you for coming on because… So Gretchenis essentially operations at Springs Law Group in Colorado Springs. So forthose of you that listen to the podcast, Jake and Chris, who are the foundersof that firm, they were on towards the beginning of the year in January at somepoint and sharing their experience and what their journey has been like. Thisfirm has grown a lot, and they're growing really quickly. It was a greatepisode. Got a lot of good feedback.

Well, this is the person behind the scenes. This is the person whoI mean truly, as amazing as founders typically are, just as Jake and Chris, asamazing as they are within their own roles and within their own rights, thefirm would not be where it is without you in the seat that you've been sitting.

You have been the person. In the past it's between them, in manycases, in most cases, and the rest of the team and all of the, like you're theones with your hands in everything and making sure that things are goingsmoothly and on track, and etc., etc. They are a bit higher level with the workthat they've been doing.

So I wanted to have you on because I think people are reallycurious. It would do a lot of good for them to hear the experience of what thatseat is like and the lessons that you've had to face and learn over the years.

Even though you might not feel like you have advice to give, I dothink that a lot of what you say today will be advice for people who either forlaw firm owners who have someone in that seat and so maybe they can impart somethings. Or maybe there's someone in that seat that's actually going to belistening to this episode that this can bring some clarity to their role andhow they work. So thanks so much.

Gretchen: Sure. Yeah. I really do hope like I do. Like you said, Idon't feel like I have any advice to give. So I hope I can somehow be helpfulto someone out there in the world that you know.

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: Yeah, we'll see.

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Okay. Well, I met you guys about three years ago.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Almost three years ago. You have been at the roots ofevery single quarterly retreat we've had from the get-go. From that very firstone, you have been there. I always encourage people when they come to theseretreats. This is for private client work, not necessarily the virtual stuffthat I lead. That's not what we're talking about.

But for private clients, if we're going to get into a room for twodays, there needs to be some sort of support there so that the founders or thefounder isn't trying to go back and communicate to their team all the thingsthat came out of that day or two days.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: So having the person who's really going to help youexecute and you trust to be in conversation around business decisions, and youtrust as a key team player. They should come with you, and sometimes more thanone. Another way to think about this, for many of you listening, is yourleadership team. Like your leadership team should be in the room. If you don'ttrust them with those kinds of conversations and being a part of those kinds ofconversations, they probably shouldn't be on your leadership team.

So when I asked, you know, Jake and Chris, who's coming with you,it was you. I hadn't met you yet, but it was like Gretchen. Okay, awesome. SoGretchen shows up, and really quickly was clear to me how good you are in thatrole. Because not everybody is, right? Like they bring someone in and they'reweak sauce, and you weren't that. So yeah. Do you want to describe what it waslike back then for you? Even before you met me, around the time you met me.Just what was your work life like? What was your relationship to work like? Etc.,etc.

Gretchen: So it's interesting. So at that point I had been at SpringsLaw Group just over six months, right? Am I doing the math right? Maybe it wasa year?

Melissa: I don't know. I don't remember.

Gretchen: Okay I started, I know. I'm trying to like remember. Sowe started with you June of 2019.

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: Okay, so it was a year and a half in.

Melissa: Okay.

Gretchen: So I started with Springs Law Group in November of 2017.I mean full disclosure here; I'm married to Chris. Chris and I are married.We've known Jake since 2005. Like Jake really is like a brother to me, you know.Like he's, you know, we've just known each other. We've been through a lot ofcrap together. So we already kind of went into it with this tight-knit relationship.

So it was kind of a no-brainer, when they said, you know, when youasked them, “Hey should Gretchen come?” Like, well of course she should comebecause I'm Chris's wife and Jake's friend. Really, at that point, it was justthe three of us building this firm.

Melissa: No you had somebody else I remember.

Gretchen: Oh, did we? We did. We did.

Melissa: Yeah you did. You did.

Gretchen: Well you're right, but for a long time, it was just thethree of us. We did add the fourth person who is no longer with us. Yeah, shedid not belong there. So I think I come from a unique perspective in the factthat I clearly have a vested interest in seeing Springs Law Group succeed. Youknow, like Springs Law Group makes money, my husband makes more money. In turn,I make more money.

So, you know, I do have a vested interest and a uniqueperspective, I think, when it comes to my role. So I was super excited to getto come to the retreat. Just everything we've discussed and everything we'velearned. Yeah, I don't think. I think I went way off track. I don't evenremember what your question.

Melissa: Well, no, that's okay. I mean before we met because whenwe met, we created your accountability chart.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: That can be really helpful because it kind of shows like,“Oh, this is my seat. These are my set of responsibilities.”

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: We all kind of know what we're supposed to be doing atwork, but each of us has a bit of a different picture. So getting it into achart can be helpful. So then you saw, at that point, where you sit and whatyour role is.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Previous to that, you probably had a concept of what thatwas, but what was it like before that clarity was given? What was yourrelationship to SLG like? What was your role at SLG?

Gretchen: So at the time, we were doing both family law andpersonal injury. Chris was doing family law. Jake was doing personal injury. Iwas all over the place. Like I was doing paralegal work for both Chris and Jake.We were all over the place. So even having that org chart, to this day, is sucha valuable tool.

So every single person. We started as the three of us. We'reactually to 11 people right now in our firm. What's amazing is whenever any newperson starts, that's the first thing we do is revisit that org chart. Because okaywho's doing what? We print it up and give every single person in the firm acopy. So that way there are no questions who this person is, what their roleis, what their job is. If you need something, where to go, all of that.

So even going back to June of 2019 and our very first org chart whenthere are only four of us, it's amazing just having the clarity, you know,because I would do what I was told. That's what I did, you know. If Chris neededsomething, he gave it to me. If Jake needed something, he gave it to me. Ifit's something that the other person could do, I would pass it on to them. Soit was just so nice having the clarity. I feel like there should be a betterword for it. But it just made everything more clear. Who's doing what and whosejob it is to do what so that way I didn't feel like I had to do everything.

Melissa: Yeah, it was really clear to me that you were the gluebehind a lot of what got done at the firm. Somebody's got to be that right?Like when things are lifting off the ground, that's got to be someone, and itwas you. You were really good at it. Just by nature you're very organized. Youcare deeply about your work, about like what you produce. You're reliable. Youhave a good attitude.

Gretchen: I feel like I've asked you this before Melissa, but am Iallowed to swear on this podcast?

Melissa: Sure. Yes.

Gretchen: Okay. So really, just like you said, I love getting shitdone. I'm the queen of getting shit done. Like, you need something done, cometo Gretchen. She will take care of it and get it done. It's not like, I don'tneed to be told every single step. If the first step doesn't work then I figureit out. What's the next step? If that doesn't work out, follow. I keep goinguntil the result is there.

It is something that's just, I think, just an innate part of who Iam. I love checking the box. I love getting shit done. So that's what I do. Ispend all day. I mean, Chris will ask me at the end of my day, he's like, “Well,how was your day? What did you do?” I'm like I got shit done. That's what Idid. Because that's what I do. So like it's all about just, you know, a lot ofit's just tasks that need to be done and I get them done.

Melissa: Yeah. Which has also been a big reason, which we shouldprobably get to this in a moment, but delegation has been really hard for youat points because you like getting stuff done. So it's really hard to just handthings. You have to figure out then what am I supposed to do if it isn't likecrushing tasks?

Gretchen: Yeah. Because nobody can do it as fast as I can, as wellas I can. That’s what I tell myself is like sure, I can give it to someone else,but I will get it done faster. I will get it done better. Because I've beendoing it for so long that, and it's just what I do. This is what I know. So,yeah. I do admittedly have a hard time delegating. Yes.

Melissa: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we should touch on that actually in justa bit. Okay. So you are the person that gets shit done. Then when you come tothe first retreat, we clarify roles. We clarify responsibilities. That probablywas a bit of a superpower for you because the more clarity you have, the betteryou can crush your job, right.

But we come up with these goals and rocks every single quarter. Forthose of you who aren't familiar with those terms, if you're a newer listener,there is a podcast called Goals versus Rocks that you can listen to. Butessentially, once you know what the goals are, which are number goals, then youdecide what are you going to do in order to make sure you're on track for thosegoals? So what are you going to do this quarter that will have the biggestimpact on hitting those goals? It's the effort involved. It's the behavior andeffort involved.

So you guys pick these every quarter and have for nearly threeyears now. The truth is, and what I knew. So with private clients, I have acall every month with the founders or the founder, and have a call every monthwith operations lead, and there's a reason for that. Because the operationsperson is the one that is in charge of execution.

Though it doesn't always look like this, but especially back thenand we're getting away from it now. We’re moving in that direction. But youwant to get to the place where the law firm owners don't have rocks. The teamhas rocks that are carrying out. At the moment, that isn't what has beenhappening, and we're getting there.

So I need a point person on the team to be able to say, what'sgoing on with these things? What's the status? What's the holdup? What are theinterferences, etc.? So Gretchen was my person in that coaching relationshipwith Springs Law. You can always tell if you've got someone good in that seatfor that meeting or not because the very first meeting will be on point. There'sanswers or there's not answers. Gretchen always has answers.

So I don't know if you want to share what you feel like your rolehas been as the firm has grown. There's so many things your hands are in. There'sso many reasons why this firm is successful because of the seat that you sitin. But when it comes to rocks specifically or just the big priorities for thefirm, how do you think about it? How do you stay organized around those? How doyou always know we're on track or off track?

Gretchen: Well, we do a leadership meeting. So me, Chris, and Jakehave a meeting once a week. that's something else that we never did before we startedworking with you. so that has been a huge help just in communication. You knowit's so easy just to get so caught up in the day to day, and you forget to justtalk to each other.

so we have a standing meeting Tuesdays at 1:30. If you ever call SpringsLaw Group on a Tuesday at 1:30, Chris, Jake, and I are in a meeting. so it kindof has become this habit and this thing that we just always do now.

But one of the things we always talk about in these meetings is acheck-in. Like what are our rocks this quarter? Where are you guys at? What doyou need? There's always a check-in in those meetings that we can all kind ofkeep each other accountable. Because I'm not going to babysit Chris and Jake tomake sure they get their rocks done. so yeah, you know, I'm like you own a lawfirm like handle it. I have my own stuff I need to handle. You handle yours.I'll handle mine.

so it is a good way for the three of us to kind of hold each otheraccountable and be like okay, if you need something, that's the place. To getthis rock done, I need $700, or I need help from a staff member, or I needwhatever. so it's just a good way for us to keep on top of it because it's soeasy to get caught up in the day to day casework that you kind of forget thatthey're even there. So just us having those meetings. that's one of the thingswe automatically talk about in every meeting that helps us keep on track andget it done.

then we also, at least for me, it is too about just beingintentional. Like okay, I know I have this thing, and I know I can't get it alldone. I can't just sit down for an hour and complete my rock. That's not whatrocks are.

so it is being intentional on blocking out time on the calendarfor me to do the work for that rock, whatever it is, you know. You just reallyhave to be intentional about it because it's not going to do itself. you haveto make time for it. you can just get caught up in your everyday life if youdon't make time. I mean, it's true of anything, but rocks especially. Like youhave to make time for it.

Melissa: Just since we're on the topic of rocks. I'm putting youon the spot here, but what's one of the rocks that you're the most proud of?

Gretchen: So actually, like I know it's silly. I did this one. Itwas actually the first quarter of 2020.

Melissa: Okay.

Gretchen: So we had decided I was gonna do outreach to providers.I mean at this point we no longer do family law. We’re strictly personalinjury, which is just a huge blessing because family law is the worst. Kudos toall of you family law lawyers and practices that can do that because it is sohard. Anyway, so we do personal injury, strictly personal injury now.

so I was in charge of, I think I needed to go visit like 20. Iwish I could remember how many providers I went and saw. So it was outreach toproviders as potential referral partners.

what I was able to do is I actually, it sounds so funny, but mydog groomer was, at the time, going to school for culinary arts. so what we didis we hired her instead of going to the nearest, you know, Nothing Bundt Cakes orcorporate place to pick up cupcakes or whatever, she made some of the mostbeautiful desserts I have ever seen in my life. so she'd always make a coupleextra for us, which was nice.

So I was able to kind of give her work, and we had had theseamazing boxes of treats to go to these providers. so I was able to help her,and then she got to make these really cool things that I got to go take tothese providers. But I love the outreach part too. I love talking to people,and just kind of letting them know who we are and what we do.

At the time, we were, I think, at our three year anniversary. Wewere about to do, we bought out a movie theater when Onward, that Pixar movie,was coming out. so, you know, obviously COVID was just starting. so I actuallywas like, everything shut down on my last week of that rock. So I wasn'ttechnically able to complete it, which is fine. I'm not dwelling on that atall.

Melissa: I just remembered because we always make sure rocks arereally specific. I wonder what the.

Gretchen: I think it was, like because I had two offices left togo visit. So basically, I blocked myself out once a week. I set it up withCindy, my dog groomer cook extraordinaire. she would deliver stuff to theoffice on Wednesday mornings, and I would go sometime on Wednesday to godeliver them to these offices.

I had one week ago and two offices left, but everything shut downright then. so I was not technically able to complete it, but it was just areally great experience. Like I said, being able to help her, and then alsojust getting out and talking to people. It’s just so refreshing to just get outof the office sometimes and talk to people.

Melissa:  And it builds therelationships that you do care about that matter to the business and yeah.

Gretchen:  Yeah, yeah. Wemade a point of one of my approach to doing it was I would just show up atthese offices, and be like, “Hey, we have clients that you've seen, and they’vesaid nothing but great things about you. we just wanted to say thanks fortaking good care of our clients. You may not know who we are yet, but here yougo.” so it just started a good dialogue by doing that. so, yeah. I think that,by far, has been my favorite rock out of all of them.

Melissa: Okay. Yeah, that's super good to know. In the operationsseat, what's one of your biggest challenges that you maybe ongoing haveexperienced, but it's just part of the role and you figure it out, you navigateit, but it's the tougher piece of it all?

Gretchen: I think for me, it's time management and prioritizingthings. Because I do. I get stuff from everywhere. I mean, Jake still comesinto my office. My official role, I am the case manager, but I'm also the leadsperson. I train everybody. I do so many things still. So I think the hardestpart of my job is kind of prioritizing my day, making sure I am getting done thebiggest most important things. You know eating my frog and getting ugly thingsout of the way that I don't want.

I mean, there's no room for procrastination in my job. There justisn't. Because if I'm procrastinating then money's not coming in the door, andthat is unacceptable. so it's go, go, go from the minute I get here to theminute I go home, which is I thrive on that. So that doesn't bother me.

But sometimes I'll seriously have four people come. Like there's aline outside my door of people waiting to come in and talk to me aboutsomething because they need something, and they need it in the next 10 minutes.Well, I can't always do that. I almost always can't do that. so it's got to beclear that yes, I'll get to it, but it's not going to be in the next 10

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: You know having my hands in so many pots still, you know.I don't have just this one strict this is your lane. I'm still kind of all overthe org chart.

Melissa: I don't have your, it’s accountability chart.

Gretchen: Accountability chart. Org is easier.

Melissa: It’s not the same thing, but it's totally fair. I knowyou what you mean. Everyone else knows what you mean. Because you're doingtechnically less than you were three years ago, but the business has grown somuch that it hasn't really reduced. Like your bandwidth doesn't get to shrink,right?

Gretchen: No.

Melissa: Yeah. So I just want to make sure everybody understandsthat. Because when she's saying she has her hands in many pots, she does. Everyquarter, they all look at this. They are all very aware of where Gretchen issitting and where they are sitting, which I think we should also come back to.Some quarters, sometimes that's a hard conversation. We've had really hardconversations at the turn of the quarter, which is important and necessary.

So for everybody listening, it's like well it just sound her worldhas gotten crazier as the business has grown. It has, but there's a lot ofthings that she was doing that other people are doing now.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: So your role has just expanded. You have delegated. You'vehired people to take certain pieces of the job that you were doing three yearsago. It's just a different shape now.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: Yeah. And by no means do I mean to convey that it'sactually perfect right now. It's not. You guys are gonna keep working towardsgetting the roll to something that feels really good and really sustainable. it'sjust been an evolution.

Gretchen: Yeah. I think we're almost there, actually. Because, youknow, we're actually in the process of hiring a case manager. We actually havean interview on Monday. So let's hope this goes well. then I can really justfocus. So my focus then will just be. Well, I'm going to law school in the fall.So they have to find someone to replace me anyway. so my goal is actually.

Melissa: Wait, can we just stop for a second. So Gretchen justfound out like what two days ago?

Gretchen: Yeah. Two days ago.  

Melissa: Yeah. So yeah, congratulations.

Gretchen: Thank you.

Melissa: Yeah, you're gonna be an amazing lawyer and whatever youdo, whether you come back and work with SLG or whether you do somethingentirely different. It's just man, what a gift to that industry.

Gretchen: Yeah, thank you. So then, again, the whole thing's gonnachange because I don't expect that we can hire someone to sit in my seat and doeverything that I'm doing. Because there's a lot, like I've actually. One thingwe've decided to do is I started writing down everything I do. So that way wecan actually define the case manager role, you know. Because I'm just kind ofthe do everything person. I don't do everything, but I do a little bit ofeverything, you know.

Melissa: Yeah. It's a role that you guys put in.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: Once you developed. So Springs Law developed pods to sortof split up and manage their clients so that they're doing really good jobmanaging them. Then when you guys did that, it was I think we need. It may havetaken a couple quarters to determine for sure, but you put a case manager overall of those pods, right?

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: But then in each pod, there is an attorney and aparalegal, and someone else too? Or no, just the attorney and the paralegal?  

Gretchen: Well, we do have a separate onboarding person that doesall the intake and all the onboarding stuff. Yeah.

Melissa: So Gretchen’s basically been over all that, but her nameis also over.

Gretchen: So my name is also in the pod because I do the liens. Iverify all the liens. So yeah. Then I'm also in the HR pod doing, you know, Ido all the employee reviews. I do all of the provider outreach. I do all the,and actually that's changing too. We just hired a client happiness coordinator.She's taking over that. So we are starting to kind of narrow it down, whichwill be good for the person who takes over for me because, yeah. It is. It's alot.

Melissa: Yeah. I guess the reason I just brought all that up. Actually,I'm super glad you just shared all that. I just remembered the reason I broughtup that this case manager role is new. Like you're talking about writing downeverything that you do.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: There's so many responsibilities on your accountabilitychart, but that role is new enough that it's not baked out really on the chart.I mean there was like implied things.

Gretchen: Yeah. Yeah.

Melissa: But there's nothing explicitly stated like this then thisthen this then this then this. So it's good that you're doing that because youcan transfer it all to the chart.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Okay. So that's been one of the challenges is justjuggling it all.

Gretchen: Yeah. Yeah.

Melissa: That's so funny. You're so good at it. I'm surprised that'swhat you say because you're just so good at it to me. It’s like yeah, it’schallenging.

Gretchen: Well, it’s not that it’s like. I mean it’s challengingthe fact that it's just exhausting sometimes. You know what I mean? Sometimes Ijust think it would be so nice just to come in and just do liens and go home,you know. Or just come in and not just be a paralegal, but just focus on these hundredcases and then go home, you know. So, yeah. It’s just sometimes it just getstiring. It ebbs and flows everything. So I think that's why, I'm in a tiredpoint right now. So maybe that's why it's the most challenging part of my job.Yeah.

Melissa: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. Tell me whenyou think back over the last, just since I've known you. The reason I'm usingthat as benchmark is because that's when there was clarity about like oh, thisis what we're doing. This is what we're shooting for, X, Y, and Z. What do youthink, as a one off, something you had to get through and maybe as a team, butwhat stands out to you from your seat and your role in it. What was probablyone of the biggest challenges that you can recall that you've had to deal with?

Gretchen: So, and I think this actually is like my own, it's myown neuroses is what it is. It's not necessarily…It was two things, actually,because one of our core values is being open and honest. So I would say one ofthe biggest things that can just help a business grow is just open and honestcommunication. All the way up, all the way down from the owners to thereceptionist. You have to have hard conversations.

So at the beginning, that was very hard for me because I'm such anice person. I want everyone to like me, and you know all that. So it took certainlyovertime and the more hard conversations we've had, the better we've all gottenat it. Because I, you know, actually had to sit down with someone the other dayand just kind of explain, “Hey, this isn't going well. We need to get thistightened up.” She's a new employee. “Like we love having you here, but we haveto tighten this up. If I don't tell you this, then you're never going to know.”

Melissa: I’m so proud of you.

Gretchen: So we have to have these conversations. So now I'm just like,I don't waste any time. I'm just like if there's a problem, we need to discussit, and we need to discuss it now. Because the leadership team complainingabout it doesn't do any good at all. It does zero good. You have to have aconversation with the person it involves. Even though it's hard, you have tohave those conversations. Because if you don't, they'll never know they'remessing up. How are they going to know if you don't tell them?

Melissa: I didn't mean to say I'm so proud of you like a mom though.But you are, you're right. You are extremely kind, and you care deeply aboutpeople. Do you think it is fair to say that your tendency is to be non-confrontational?

Gretchen: When it's personal, yes. Like I'll debate politics withanybody any day. I'm all about having, like I don't fear conflict necessarily,but when it's personal. When I'm telling someone, hey you're not doing thisvery well knowing how that can come across, I think that's a whole differentlevel of confrontation. That is hard. I don't know anybody that loves doingthat. I don't know anybody that, it's a hard thing to do.

Melissa: I mean I was just listening. I hope you do listen to thisbecause what the reason I said I'm so proud of you is because you said, “Ifsomething doesn’t go right, I just as soon as we can I sit down and I say, hey,this is what's going on. We need to fix this. We need to tighten this up. Thisisn't okay.” The Gretchen that I knew when I first met you would be like, “Ohshit. Like what is.”

Gretchen: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Melissa: Now this is just who you are. This is what you do.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: Because I see the value in it, you know what I mean? I'mbought into it because I've seen what a difference it's made for our firm.

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: So you just bite the bullet and just do it.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What's the second thing? You said therewas two things.

Gretchen: So, and maybe this is just something just because of myrelationship with Chris and Jake. You know, obviously. So I have this, again,my own neuroses of being the boss's wife. I have struggled with that.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah.

Gretchen: For so long, and clearly it just, you know, it just getsto me because I don't ever want to be any staff member ever to look at me and thinkin their heads, “They're here because she's Chris's wife.” I'm here because Ideserve to be here and because I work my ass off. I really don't think any ofour staff thinks that. So that's the funny part about it. Is it literally is myparanoia, yeah.

Melissa: The language that you just used was I struggle, or it's astruggle. It isn't a struggle. Like no one, you are correct. No one thinks that.

Gretchen: Yes. It’s all made up in my head. Yes.

Melissa: Yeah. It totally is. So you and I have air quotes aroundyou being a boss's wife isn't a struggle. Like it’s just your fear of comingacross that way is what gets to you.

Gretchen: Absolutely.

Melissa: So you mitigate against that as hard as you can.

Gretchen: Oh, absolutely. Nobody probably cares or even notices orwhatever, but it makes me feel better knowing that I work hard for this firm.It's not totally because I'm Chris's wife. It's because I'm a hard worker, andthat's just what I do. Every job I've ever worked at, that's what I do.

So that's why it's funny because when I decided to go to lawschool, that's when I was like I'm tired. I don't want to be the boss's wife. Iwant to be the goddamn boss. So that's just when, I actually put that in mypersonal statement through the law schools. It’s like I don't want to be theboss's wife anymore. It’s time for me to step up and be the boss and level up.

Melissa: So good. What is something that, all this stuff, guys, bythe way is I'm just throwing it at Gretchen. I didn't give her these questionsbeforehand. So if you don't have an answer, we could just move on to the nextquestion. What is something that in your seat as you've been managing people. Andas you've grown, you've arguably been the heaviest manager, meaning you've hadthe most people underneath you. What has been a tool or a tactic that you foundhelpful as you've grown in that role to be better at that? To better atmanaging?

Gretchen: Well, I think it is just having a good system in placefor training. Having good systems in general because it's a good thing to fallback on. Like hey, this isn't Gretchen's rule. This is Springs Law Group rule,you know what I mean? We have all of our systems in Tetra, and this is how wedo it at Springs Law Group. There's no room for any new attorneys or any newparalegals view… I guess, we're open to, and it changes all the time. Oursystems change. Absolutely. As we've grown, as we've learned a lot, and theyhave changed over time.

But when that happens. I mean literally yesterday, Jake and me andtwo of the paralegals had a redaction training because we have a new paralegal,and we want to make sure everyone's doing it the same. That all of our demandpackages look the same.

So just having the systems in place so that way as more and morepeople come on, even the other paralegals can say, “No, this is how we do it atSprings Law Group. This is what our demand packages look. These are the thingswe're redacting out of our medical records you know.” So that way it's justclear. We just need clarity and, and so that way no one’s guessing what theirjob is and what they're supposed to be doing and what is supposed to look like.

Melissa: That’s so good. I mean, yeah. It's funny. This can becommon, but when I first met you guys, a lot of your rocks were run systems andprocesses. Then you kind of get to some stability with that, and your rocksshift. It's not really about that anymore. It's about other things that aremeaningful to the growth at that point because you did that. Not that theydon't need tweaked, to your point.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: But they always need updated and changed, etc. Can youtalk a little bit about your systems? The way that it is set up for you. So yousaid you're in Tetra. That's where they all live. Part of my curiosity is, canyou think of a system that once you got it in place allowed you guys to putyour foot on the gas in a way that you couldn't before? Or experienced ease andflow that you just couldn't before you had that done?

Gretchen: You know, I don't know that it's one specific system. Ithink it was taking that time. I mean like rocks that are around systems areboring, and they're not fun. They just aren't, but they have to get done. Just yousaying that, like we haven't had one of those for a little while. It justreminded me how nice it is that we don't have to do that.

Well, I mean, it's not that we're not still working on oursystems. But it's not the central focus because we've done the bulk of the work.So I think honestly, just doing all of it, you know. There's not just onesystem that's it's just like flipped this switch, and it was smooth sailing. Idon't think that exists. I think that's fairyland, you know. But I think.

Melissa: That’s a good point.

Gretchen: I think doing the bulk of that work and spending a yearand a half on those rocks and doing all of that, it leaves such a greatfoundation for everything that came after it.

Melissa: I was just thinking back to do you remember some of thesystems and processes that you guys had as rocks?

Gretchen: Oh, yeah.

Melissa: Okay, what were they? Because you were just saying theheavy lifting. Because it was going from no system to a system. You don'treally have many places in the firm don't have a system now. So going from zeroto one with systems processes. What were some of those?

Gretchen: So, I mean, we started at the beginning of a personalinjury case, and we did a system for everything along the way. So we did, youknow, answering the phone. We did if a client shows up at the door. We did asystem for sending out letters of representation. We did requesting policylimits from insurance companies. I mean, really, we've done lien systems. We'vedone, like Jake started a litigation system. We have an onboarding system, bothfor new clients and for new employees, new staff.  We have systems for really just about, sendingout emails.

I mean, we literally started at the beginning and wrote downeverything we did in a day and made a system for it. Because that's whateveryone's doing. We do the same things every single day. It's made such adifference. We have, able to put links in Tetra so you can actually link to theactual LOR you want send out. We've done videos in Tetra. You can do so much withTetra so that way you're covering all your bases on, you know, especially withnew staff. Whatever their learning style is whether it's visual audio,whatever. So, we kind of have all of our bases covered that way too with thevideos that we can add in there.

Melissa: Mm-hmm. For everybody listening who feels like, “Oh man,I have so many systems I need to put in place still.” They really did chip awayat this quarter by quarter. I think it can be paralyzing when you think aboutall of the things that you need, all of the systems and processes that you knowyou need. It can feel I don't even know where to start. Then you get busy, andyou don't start. But that was part of every quarter. What are the systems orprocesses that are most important? That will have the most impact.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Let's start there, and then you just kept chipping away.

Gretchen: Mm-hmm. Yeah. It goes back to being intentional about it.again, you're not going to sit down and write down all your systems in one dayin one sitting. That doesn't happen. So it is just making the conscious choiceto be intentional about it and setting up. If you spend one hour a week doingsystems, you know, I mean at the end of the quarter, you spent 12 hours gettingsystems in.

You can get, like especially the easy ones. Like sending out aletter of representation. It'll take you 15 minutes to write that system, ifthat. So if you can get two or three done in an hour, by the time the end ofthe quarter rolls around, you've got 20 to 30 systems done. So it's the whole howdo you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, you know. So you just have to makethe decision and be intentional about it, and just decide to get the done.

Melissa: Yeah, yeah. Another question. When you look back over thejourney, really being in the operation seat, which I don't even know what we…What is your role?

Gretchen: My card says case manager. My business card says casemanager.

Melissa: But that's new. What was it right before the casemanager, which is fine.

Gretchen: Oh it was office manager. They just had me as officemanager.

Melissa: Yeah. Oh my gosh, I don't think I knew that.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: That's the worst. The worst. Anyone out there who hasoffice managers, don't have an office manager. Because it's the catch all, andlucky that you guys made the decisions to get really organized around thisstuff. It was very clear what your responsibilities and roles are, buttypically if you have an office manager, and that's what you call them, it'sjust a hot mess of a job that somebody's supposed to take. There isn't clarity.There's no written roles and responsibilities.

So pick a different word. What is their role? It's not to manage theoffice. It's either to manage a team of people or I don't know, but it's a badterm. If I knew that, I would have asked to change your business cards.

Anyway, okay so as you started in that role. I call it operationsbecause it is what you're doing. You are my point person for operations insideof your firm. You always know the nuts and bolts, the ins, the outs, thedeadlines, the people, all of it. So you are operations to me. So from thatseat, what has been one of the most fun and/or exciting pieces of being a partof this firm, this team, this journey? Especially within the seat that you have.

Gretchen: You know, I think my favorite part is really just seeingthe growth, you know. Like really knowing where we started when it was me,Chris, and Jake, and that was it. I actually came from a dental background. Iwas the office manager of a dental office before I started with Chris and Jake.So it was all brand new to me. The law, all of it. So I was like drinking froma firehose, and it was not pretty.

So to know that we started doing family law, and Chris was doing estateplanning. We were just kind of all like, so knowing where we started and wherewe are now and where we're going. It's so exciting. It is so exciting to see. Idon't know if that's me as an operations manager or me as Chris's wife andJake's friend, or what. But it is exciting to just kind of see our potential,you know.

We have so much potential. We have things set up and organized ina way that we are built for growth. It's exciting when it actually happens. Yeah,I don't know. It's fun to watch. Because I get to keep track of everything Airtabletoo. So I'm the one that tracks all of our new clients, our closed cases, ourcase value, all of that. So I see all of it. So I love the potential excitementaround where we're gonna end up. Who knows where we're gonna end up, but we'recertainly just headed in a great direction.

Melissa: Oh yeah. 100%. Yeah, I'm so glad you said that. So theoperations point person, for me, it always is the one who's responsible formaking sure that the data gets entered into their table. For private clients,we build a table, a data table, that tracks a lot of the things. At this point,you guys, there's certain other things you're tracking that aren't in that, butthat's where the cases are. That's where the revenue is. That's where we can calculatea bunch of things.

So Gretchen goes in every Friday and adds. The way that theirtable is set up, because this isn't the case for everyone, she can go in weeklyand add updates. In some firms it's just monthly. But yeah, that's Gretchen.It's all Gretchen. Then all three of you can look at that data at any point,but you're the one that goes in to enter it.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Yeah. And you automated a lot of that now so that youdon't have to manually enter it. There's a lot of automations. You guys hiredKelsey Bratcher.

Gretchen: Yes, oh my gosh. It's so great. I mean, a new clientsigns up, they automatically go into Airtable. I'll go in and assign a pod. I'lltrack who referred them to us, like how they found us. So I put thatinformation in. Then when we close out cases, I'll put in all the case values andit’s cost and all that.

Melissa: Which takes you, I think a lot of people get really weirdabout having to manually enter things. But how many minutes do you spend everyweek in Airtable?

Gretchen: Oh maybe 15?

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: Not that much. It takes like.

Melissa: Before Kelsey, what'd you spend?

Gretchen: Oh but even then, all that goes in there from Kelsey isjust the client’s name.

Melissa: Okay.

Gretchen: The brand new client. They just get added onto thebottom of the list.

Melissa: Okay.

Gretchen: But really, it just takes a few minutes just to add inthe additional information. Then when the case is closed, the attorney sends meall of the data for it. Then it literally takes 10 seconds to put it in there.

Melissa: Yeah. So her columns, which I mean, you are in this morethan I am. But are basically the name and of course the pod, the responsibleattorney, the open date, the start month and close month, and then the startdate close date for different reasons because we can pull differentcalculations from both of those fields. Then the case value. Oh you, weactually do.

Gretchen: Well, it calculates it itself.

Melissa: It calculates the case value?

Gretchen: Well the average case value, yes. So I put it.

Melissa: The average case value.

Gretchen: Yes. I'll put in the actual, what we settled the casefor, and then, you know. But that's what I always look at is yeah.

Melissa: You put in case costs plus you put in the total amountthat came in.

Gretchen: Yes. The total settlement. Then the case fee is calculatedby subtracting out the costs. So anyway, it's like each record is its own line.Then from there, we can pull averages. We can take a look at pod averages if wewant to, which is something we'll probably start doing. So there's a big,source of truth is what we call it.

Melissa: Yeah. Well.

Gretchen: It’s like that data table is source of truth.

Melissa: Yes.

Gretchen: To throw a Melissa Shanahan at you, we use it all thetime because it's facts, not feelings. That is a table full of facts. If wefeel like this month isn't going well, we can go look at Airtable and be like,“Oh, wait. We have 15 new clients this month. What are we freaking out about?”You know.

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen: So oh, we feel like our revenue isn't as high as itshould be? Because I actually looked at it the other day, and I Slacked Chrisand Jake about it. I said do you realize that we're 80 grand higher this yearalready than we were by the end of the first quarter of last year? So like,yeah. I mean it's just good to notice those things. If you're not tracking it,how would you ever know? Because then you feel like it wasn't it, but no. Wepull it out all the time. Melissa says it all the time. Facts, not feelings. Yeah  we use it because it's true.

Melissa: It serves you when things are down. It's the truth. Solooking at it instead of, because there's times where one way or the other. Sometimesyou feel like you're doing great, and you look and like it's oh wait a minute.We need to get, what can we do to get serious? What can we do to help this asmuch as possible? We're off track. But yeah. It's just either way. Most of thetime, though.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: This is true for most firms. Most of the time. Once youstart, you have the ability to get data, and you can put it in a place. Most ofthe time people underestimate their progress, and that is a really good tableto look at so that you can figure out.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Like oh, no. Okay. We're making really good progress. Doyou guys look at it together at your leadership meetings?

Gretchen: Not very often, but all three of us look at it regularly.So we're usually able to speak to it. We all like oh yeah. We don't have to golook at it to verify the numbers. We're all just kind of on it.

Melissa: Yeah. What are you most excited about for your upcomingretreat? It's just in a couple weeks.

Gretchen: I'm excited. I don't know. I always get really nervous, actually,before a retreat.

Melissa: You do.

Gretchen: Because I just don't ever know like.

Melissa: Tell people why you get nervous, and just what theexperience is before, during, after.

Gretchen: So, okay, I think what actually makes me nervous is Idon't know what to expect. I mean, okay. Just in the sense of like, the retreat’sthe same every time, but different shit comes out every time we're together. There'sdifferent shit that the three of us will talk about because Melissa’s there tobe a moderator then what we would say to each other just the three of us.

So I think sometimes things can get uglier than I want them to.Ugly is not the right word. Just messier, I think. I just, I hate dealing withthat stuff. So there's always this underlying fear that we're going to go to aretreat, and something's going to come up, and a fight's going to start. Or,you know, whatever. But 99% of the time, our retreats are actually verypleasant, and they're productive.

But no matter what, all three of us all walk out of those retreatsjust with this renewed sense of purpose, you know. We have these new numbers.We have these goals. We have these rocks to work on. So it’s not about what wedid last quarter. It's okay. Our focus is this quarter. Let's go. So it's justa good motivator, actually, just to get refocused and re-energized for theupcoming quarter.

Melissa: Yeah, that makes sense. You guys will have a bunch of newthings to talk about, especially since you are for sure going to law school.

Gretchen: Yeah. So the thing is, this may actually be my lastretreat.

Melissa: Oh, why not June?

Gretchen: Potentially. Potentially.

Melissa: Ah, this is so. It’s like bittersweet.

Gretchen: I know. Because I actually almost asked Chris and Jakelike can I just come to the retreats anyway? I mean I'll still be working here,just not full time. So you know, can I just come? I don't know. Well, maybe we'lltalk about that at the retreat.

Melissa: Yeah.

Gretchen:  Because I do love,like we all love the retreats. We all look forward to it. Because even thosehard conversations that are happening, they needed to happen. So there's justusually the sense of relief afterwards. It's just being in the middle of it isugly, and everyone's uncomfortable, and we all hate it. But it still needed tohappen. If it didn't happen there, it would have happened in a different placethat would have been way uglier and way less productive. So.

Melissa: Yeah, yeah.  

Gretchen: I think that's another actually good thing about theretreats is that we do have the space to handle the tough issues between usthat we don't like to handle on our own.

Melissa: Yeah. I mean honestly sometimes, even speaking formyself, dealing with someone else where there's some heat and friction. It's agood idea to have a neutral space.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: With someone who doesn't have a bias. It's just like no,no. We're gonna get to the bottom of this. It just makes it easier oneverybody. Yeah,


Gretchen: Yes. So that's always my underlying angst about theretreats is like oh, shoot. Did somebody have something that they're waitingfor the retreat to talk about?

Melissa: You guys usually know though before. You're not usuallyshocked by anything.

Gretchen: Yeah, that's true. That's true.

Melissa: You walk in like yeah, there's some things.

Gretchen: I think this one will be good. I think this one will befine.

Melissa: Oh, well, awesome.

Gretchen: Yeah. Yeah.

Melissa: That's fine too.

Gretchen: Yeah, that's true.

Melissa:  Yeah. Whatever’sneeded. Yeah.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Oh, man. Anything else? I'm just thinking of people outthere who are either listening to this with someone who is sitting in that seat.That it's really focused on execution and the in the business work that's a keyplayer. Or someone who maybe this gets passed to for them to listen.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Then I have a second question, a follow up question to this,but yeah anything you'd say to those people who are just open?

Gretchen: So yes. It's actually two, the operations. It’s relatingto the operations and the owners, their relationship. Like the operationsperson has to be able to push back on the attorneys. They have to be able to goto their boss and say, “No, this is not okay.” They have to be able to, and Ifeel like you know certainly as my replacement.

I mean I have no problem saying that to Chris because he’s myhusband, and I'm right and he's wrong. That's just all there is to it. Theneven Jake because I've known him so long. I have no problem marching intoJake's office and being like wait a minute. This is not cool. Whatever it is.

But I think for the average operations person, I think that’s avery hard thing to do to your boss. It's a very hard thing to push back on yourboss because he signs your paychecks, and they determine if you're going to beemployed or not, you know.

So I think a good operations person has the ability to go and dothat, and a good owner has an open enough mind that they'll listen. They don'tnecessarily have to agree and do what they say, and the operations person hasto understand that too. But they have to be willing to listen and actuallythink about it, and not be offended or upset by it. But I think it's importantthat they take the time to really think about what they're being told becausethat's a scary thing for the operations person to come in and tell their boss “Hey,this isn't cool.” You know?

Melissa: Yeah. You know the reason I think you can do that. Youhave history, but I'm even thinking of other people I've seen in this role. Isthat there's trust in that person in that seat.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: They know you're there for the right reasons, and youmake decisions from a place of deep understanding of how this goes and deepintegrity. You are lined up with the core values of the firm.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: Straight up. If that person, I'm asking I guess. Do youthink if the person is a little off or has an agenda that's not really alignedwith where the firm is going, is the attorney supposed to be as open? Is thereroom for discretion based on motivations by the person sitting in that seat?

Gretchen: Oh, absolutely. 100%. I mean, you know, obviously operationspeople, we're as human as everybody else. My perspective is not always theright one, but I do feel that it is their job just to listen. Usually once I'vetold them, whether they choose to act on it or not or whether they decide to doanything about it or not, that's on them.

But at least then I've done my job in pointing it out to them andbeing like hey, this isn't working well. Or hey you really hurt this person'sfeelings the way you were talking to them yesterday. Or whatever it is, youknow. I mean I know those things aren't easy to hear from anybody, let alone astaff member.

So that's why I think, you know, just be open. Obviously use yourjudgment and move according because it is still your firm. Even to this day,I'll tell Chris and Jake I'll do what you tell me to do because this is yourfirm. My name is not on that door. You are my boss, and I will do what I'mtold. So like.

Melissa: You have a seat at the table.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: You use that. You use your voice at the, yeah.

Gretchen: That's exactly right. So the operations persons needs tohave a seat, and the attorney, you know, the owner needs to respect that, butthen the operations also needs to understand that it is ultimately the owner'schoice, decision. If you want to have the staff member pissed at to you for weekand a half, great, that's on you. But at least I did my part to clear it up,get it fixed, whatever.

Melissa: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.

Gretchen: Yes.

Melissa: Okay now question about to the firm owner that'slistening to this that doesn't have this seat. This position is not filled. They'llneed to do that at some point, whether they're a little late on it or it's alittle early for them. Any advice that you would have for either how to setthis up well, just from your vantage, or what to look for? Any advice. Ifthey're going to be heading in that direction, would you give a piece ofadvice?

Gretchen: So I would actually give two. The first one is to have asystem. Have a job description set up for this person so that way their role isclearly defined. Every role needs definition for sure. Because it makeseveryone's job so much easier and so much better. It just, I don't know, itmakes such a difference having that role defined. So they know what they'redoing instead of just everything getting dumped on them. You know.

That's my first piece of advice is to just clearly define the roleso that you know what you're looking for. Someone who can check these boxes,you know.

The second piece of advice is to use Jay Henderson because thatman. Holy cow. He's somebody that we have heard about for years, years. Everyoneraved about Jay Henderson. Use Jay Henderson, his hiring MRI.  Do it, do it, do it. We just didn’t.  It’s one of those things we are kickingourselves for now because we did have an attorney that we hired and shouldn'thave. They didn't even last 90 days.

Literally as soon as we got the assessment back from JayHenderson. Because we just kept hoping that she would get better. We kepthoping that more training, you know. Then we got his assessment back and we're like,oh God. No. This is not gonna work. So we could have totally avoided hiringthis person in the first place.

So I would tell anyone listening like just do it. If you're hiringfor any position for anything, talk to Jay Henderson first. Because I tell youwhat, he's first of all, one of the nicest people I've ever met. Second of all,he knows his shit and has made such a difference. Every single person we'vehired since then, we won't even interview them until they've taken hisassessment.

We've avoided some I'm sure. Because we're nice people. We want tosee the best in the person sitting across from us, and we need this positionfilled. So we're like we want to see the best in the person across us. But whenwe can get, again, facts, not feelings. If we can get this objective assessmentback, telling us all of the issues this person has, really I think we've dodgedseveral bullets since we've started using Jay.

Melissa: I love that that was your second piece of advice. So I'veheard of him as well. Then once you guys started using him, and he made such adifference in your firm. So then I talked to him. I've used them inside of VelocityWork now, and I'm still using him. I'm trying to find the right next hire, andhe's been incredible.

Also, I had him talk to a small group that I run yesterday. Yeah,it was yesterday. He came on, and it was all about performance management tothis group and how to actually manage performance. None of them have ever usedas assessment. If they did, this would be on steroids. His presentation wouldhave been on steroids for them because they would understand oh, these are thelevers to pull with these employees. Not in a using people kind of way. It's ina understanding your people kind of way, you know.

So I think it was awesome to hear him talk to them. I think thatmany of them will end up hiring Jay, and I am all for it. I don't think thereis a way that that is a bad decision to hire Jay to help with and provide someassessments.

Gretchen: I agree because we did that first too. We had him do anassessment on everyone that was currently working at Spring Law Group, includingme, Chris, and Jake, you know. It was fascinating. It's fascinating. He did. Hekind of gave us the breakdown on, “Hey, this is how you want to talk to thisperson. This is how you want to approach tough subjects with this person.” Ohmy god like literally game changer. Like call Jay Henderson if you're everhiring. Even if you're not, do it on your staff. It's worth the money. It'sworth the time. It literally is a game changer.

Melissa: I think his URL is realtalenthiring.

Gretchen: Yeah. Yeah. I think so too.

Melissa: So people can go check him out there.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: He is a wonderful human. You just want to be around him.

Gretchen: Yes, he is. I know, right. Yes. Yeah.

Melissa: Well, thank you so much for coming on and just sharing abit about your experience of what it's like in this role, especially as youguys have grown. I hope that people take away that, I think it's easy for ourjobs to feel messy. Yours has felt messy and then maybe not messy and thenmessy, but it's the growth of the curve, right, or the curve of the growth. Ithas shifted. So your job, though messy and it’s morphed, it's a different jobright now than it was three years ago.

Gretchen: Yeah.

Melissa: I wonder if people think that there is a job out there. Orlike that this seat can ever be just easy peasy. Just saunter into work,saunter out of work at maybe like 9:00 to 3:30 or 4:00. I'm not saying thatpeople can't create those hours for themselves. I'm not saying. But this is ajob.

The operation seat is what you said earlier. The kind of personthat's good for that is the kind of person that has the mentality that shit’sgonna get done. You need to get, we didn't actually go into delegation. That'sfor another day, I guess.

Gretchen: Oh, yeah.

Melissa: You need to stop being the one to do it all, but you needto be managing the people who are behind it. Right. So.

Gretchen: Can I just add one more thing just on that? I think oneof the most important things you can get in an operations manager too issomeone that can speak up for themselves. Because there have been many timesI've had to go to Chris and Jake, and be like no, this is too much. I can't doone more thing. So that was a very hard thing for me to do because I want to beable to do everything, but I just can't.

So don't hire the girl that's gonna just take everything you sayand just do everything you want her to do because she'll do it. She will. She'llbreak her neck doing it for you. There has to be balance. You have to havesomeone that can stand up for themselves to say yes, I can get to it but notfor three more days because I've got too much other stuff to do before now. Hey,I can't do one more thing. We have to get someone. It's time to hire someonenew or whatever it is. Just don't get a yes girl because that, you'll just wearher down and break her neck. Yeah.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Because that's a reallygood point. That's a really good point. Yeah. Thanks for coming on. This hasbeen so fun to talk to you. Whether someone's got someone in the seat or not,it's just never a cakewalk. That's not the nature of this role.

If you have a COO, likely you're growing, right? If you havesomeone that's in that seat that's really running things behind the scenes, likelyyou're growing. If you're growing then it's never going to be a cakewalk job.There's always new challenges, new things to think through, new systems, newprocesses, new people. If you're in operations, you have a lot to do with that.So even though you had the title office manager, ugh I did not know that. Thatis not what you were doing, but whatever. Not what it was on the freakingaccountability chart.

Gretchen: No it was not.

Melissa:  So yeah.

Gretchen: I think my signature block on my email still says officemanager.

Melissa: Oh my god.

Gretchen: It's so funny.

Melissa: Change that.

Gretchen: Yeah I’ll go change it. I will.

Melissa: Okay. All right.

Gretchen: I'm just gonna put boss extraordinaire.

Melissa: There you go. There you go. Oh thank you. Thank you somuch.

Gretchen: Yeah, happy to do it.

Melissa: Bye.

Hey, you may not know this, but there's a free guide for a processthat I teach called Monday Map, Friday Wrap. If you go to,it's all yours. It's about how to plan your time and honor your plans, so thatweek over week, more work that moves the needle is getting done in less time.Go to to get your free copy.

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