I have a new virtual assistant service. After nearly three years as part of The Law Studio (“TLS”) team, Tyler followed the paths of Lia and Jennifer. He is back in school and building a life he loves in Arizona. As much as I miss all my star employees, I couldn’t be happier for their post-TLS successes. Cultivating dreams is part of what we do here, whether for clients, employees, collaborators, or loved ones. It’s what I enjoy most about my work.
Not everyone understands or appreciates mutuality in relationships. The experiences of some people have caused them to believe they have to take from you before you take from them. Others are trying to prove their worth by dominating others financially, emotionally, or otherwise. Few of them realize this is what they are doing, which is why perfectly nice people can stifle the potential of a partnership.
That is what I fear is going on with this VA service. I like all the people I have dealt with so far, but I’m not seeing sufficient return on my investment (“ROI”) in this strategic partnership.
Although this service is pricier than many, I was sold on the idea of having a strategist, as well as an implementer. I had exhausted myself in the past, writing detailed, seemingly fail-proof processes for even the smallest tasks assigned to other VAs. I couldn’t wait to hand off tasks and have experts help me create an action plan to accomplish them.
I’m still waiting.
Not wanting to unfairly end a relationship that had not been given an opportunity to flourish, I spent five hours on Saturday drafting workflow charts and written processes for two of my priority VA assignments. I asked for feedback from a friend and immediately saw what I suspected. The conflict is likely with mindset.
Action One: Define the Conflict
My VA service and I seem to disagree about what constitutes great service and whether they are delivering on their promises.
Action Two: Identify the Interests
I think expensive services that promise to reduce the demands on me should proactively seek out and take the next steps. I want complete work that incorporates human thought and conscientiousness, not something I could program a computer to do. I like my team, and I want us all to win, but I’m not getting the impression the feeling is mutual.
I need to confirm the VAs’ interests, and I will at our weekly meeting, but it currently seems they think I am the problem. (I am certainly part of it. That’s what partnership is–a two-way relationship.) It appears they want to be task-focused, rather than results-oriented. They probably want a low-maintenance client who is happy to have any help they get, not someone who knows what she needs and will hold them accountable for delivering on our action plan, line by line.
I presume they want an easy, flexible job they can do however and whenever. I want my money’s worth, the strategic partnership I was promised, and results.
Action Three: Play with the Possibilities
If I could have this conflict resolve in any way possible, the VA service would see me as more than another source of things to do. My team would be excited about The Law Studio, Third Ear Conflict Resolution, and what we can create in the world together. Each member would take the time to learn about the business, review the many documents I have provided, and incorporate them into the work they do for me. If this is asking too much, then I want them to say so. We can part ways powerfully and still support each other in finding more compatible relationships.
Action Four: Create the Future
Since this post in entitled “Take the Next Step”, I am looking at where I have been task-oriented, rather than results-focused, and not just with my VA service. This week:
- I will initiate a conflict resolution talk with my VA team by Tuesday. I can’t expect them to know I’m disappointed and frustrated, if I don’t tell them.
- I will prepare three talking points before I meet with anyone. I have five networking meetings or events scheduled throughout the week, and I will focus myself on how we can align our efforts, before I leave for each one. I will also prepare to ask, if I can’t easily see the alignment. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own.
- I will ask my personal partner to take the next step (not that one) around my apartment. I want him to put dishes he uses in the dishwasher, return other things he uses to the places he found them, and not wait for me to make the plans, cook, clean, and do so much of the mental “heavy lifting” in our partnership.
Action Five: Stay on PARR
I have a pretty good life, and I almost feel guilty for wanting more. But if a great life is available, why not try to have it? And share it. Right? That’s what I am up to, so I will Plan, Act, Revise, and Repeat, until I get the results I want.
What are you up to this week? Do you need help Creating Partnerships that Work? Join me today at noon for a Free Law Talk on that very subject. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MUST RSVP TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE BUILDING.
Can’t make this event? You might find this video helps you take the next step with someone in your life (or someone you’ve cut out). Also, check out the below posts:
- Sympathy is Not a Good Basis for Hiring
- What Do I Tell Employees After a Co-Worker is Terminated?
- It’s Easier to Leave a Demon
Make this your best week yet! (The best will still be yet to come.)
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, and United Nations representative. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).