Sunday, March 09, 2008

Asking for Family Buy-In When Making a Big Effort

My clients ask me to make a difference in their practice. Almost always it will require my clients to make a larger time commitment toward creating new relationships and take away from family time -- earlier appointment times in the morning and being out longer in the evening a few nights a week -- it is, in the bigger picture, a small commitment, but tough on a family none-the-less.

I am thinking that I need to bring my client spouses into the mix. Why not? What I ask of my clients will have an impact on their families, both in current availability and for their future. Getting buy-in with both the client and the spouse might accelerate what can be accomplished. Below is a letter I have composed to deliver (by the client) to the spouse when they hire me to build their practice. I would be interested in your opinion.

********** sample letter **********

Dear (Spouse Name),

Today I have made a conscious decision to invest in our future. The cost of that investment is some of the time we share as a family. I did not arrive at this decision lightly nor do I desire that the quality of what we share be diminished in any way.

I have reached a crossroad in my career when it has become important to be the master of my own future and develop a practice that I control. I no longer wish to be at the beck and call of other partners at my firm and instead wish to develop my own book of business and loyal clients.

This effort will require me to attend business events, functions and meetings during times I may have spent with my family. While I will seek balance and am determined to remain steady I know that each week I will have new commitments toward building my practice.

What I ask is that you will support me in this endeavor. This business effort may take six months or two years – and in the end I hope to have the practice I desire with steady clients and complete control of providing for our future.

To help me make this happen I have retained an experienced coach who will guide me and keep me on task. His name is Bruce Allen and he has helped professionals just like me do exactly as I have described. If you would like to meet him he is absolutely willing to be available to you.

Bruce asked me to offer you this letter – an agreement between you and I. I am working toward a future we control and ask for your acknowledgment that this is the best path for our family. In the near future we will have a bit less time together but in the long run our time will improve with the control of my practice that I gain.

I commit to taking charge of my career. Will you join me in this commitment to our future?

Client Signature ____________________________
Spouse Signature ____________________________