Don’t Wait to Read This: Tips for Procrastinators

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

I procrastinated in writing this column. Many wise people have said that we teach what we need to learn, so overcoming procrastination is the topic for this month. Let’s start with why we procrastinate. Here are some common reasons:
  1. It involves an unpleasant task.
  2. We don’t know or are unsure about how to do it.
  3. The task involves a tough decision.
  4. We don’t have all the materials or information we need.
  5. The project is too big and overwhelming.
  6. We underestimate the time required and have a lot to do.
What do we do to get past procrastination? In my coaching I find there are very few one-size-fits-all solutions. There are patterns and tendencies, however, so we experiment, and we understand that what worked yesterday may not work with a different project today. Here are some tips for your experimentation:

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Questions May Be the Answer for Performance Problems

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.


Do you have an employee who just doesn’t seem to be performing up to snuff? Is there a way to rehabilitate that employee? Or do you have to choose between termination and tolerating inferior performance? Employee turnover is time consuming, disruptive, costly and often bad for office morale (including yours). Before jumping to the conclusion that the employee just isn’t working out, it’s worth making sure that the problem does not lie elsewhere. If you don’t eliminate that possibility, you may be doomed to experience the same song, second verse with the next employee.

Managers often think that employees don’t do what they are supposed to do because they don’t want to, don’t care or are incompetent. That would lead to the conclusion that the manager must terminate the employee or settle for poor performance. However, in his bestseller Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do and What to Do About It, Ferdinand Fournies points out that managers sometimes unwittingly create situations that cause the poor performance they complain about. What if getting better performance from your employee were as simple as changing your own behavior or restructuring something in the office? Would it be worth it?

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The Unwritten Rules for Associates

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

When I was a young associate in a big law firm, I began to fear that there were unwritten rules to the game that everyone knew except me. Sometimes I wanted to cry out, “What are the rules? Just tell me what they are! I’ll follow them!”

Gradually over the years I began to figure them out, one by one, often as the result of transgressing them. Sometimes I was fortunate enough to learn a rule by merely observing the consequences of a transgression by another associate. On rare occasions a more senior associate, or even a partner, would bless me by privately advising me about one of the rules.

Law firms really do want their associates to succeed, so why do they seem to hide the rules of the game? Here are my guesses at a few possible explanations:
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