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Don't Be the Only Person in Your Company Who Knows to Do What You Do

If you’re out sick or planning a vacation, do you worry about critical aspects of your job getting done? Or worse, do you show up for work when you’re really sick because no one knows how to do what you do? It’s time to change that.
Gone are the days of bloated staff whose responsibilities overlap, or were even duplicated. Especially in smaller, nimble companies where overhead is a concern and maximizing individual performance is necessary. Here are a few steps to ensure that you don’t worry about being sick or taking a real vacation.
Identify a second chair – Trial attorneys have a first and second chair in court. Find your second chair. She doesn’t have to share your daily responsibilities as she already has her own. But, she’ll have access to your process and checklist documents. Ideally, she will perform some aspect of your responsibilities at least once a week so she’s ready to go when you’re out.
Create a process and checklist document for every function you perform – This is a critical step. Without it you’ll be trying to recall each step to your current second chair, and the next, when she moves on. Many small companies don’t have training manuals so you’re in effect, creating one for your position. Include step-by-step instructions and passwords to applications.
Have a central repository for “process” documents – Emailing documents piecemeal to your second chair will result in chaos when she needs it. Just because you’re organized and know where everything is doesn’t mean that she is. If you use Evernote or Google Docs to create and store your “process” documents, give your second chair access so when the document is updated, you both have access to the latest version. Dropbox or your own practice management solution are other options.
Have a weekly 30-minute sync with your second chair – There’s a huge upside to having a second set of eyes. You identify old nicks and dents and come up with new ideas. It becomes a creative channel. Have a weekly meeting to discuss what you’ve both done, what you’re doing and what could be done differently.
Now, you can completely shut down and get needed rest when you’re sick or make plans to go on that 2-week safari without guilt or worry.
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