Valeria Torres is the Director of Operations at 8 Figure Firm, which provides national law firms with consulting services and insider knowledge. In her role, she supplies operations management methods to seven and eight-figure law firms nationwide, assisting them in streamlining their operations and strengthening their businesses’ portfolios. With more than 14 years as a legal professional, Valeria’s experience includes workers’ compensation and personal injury, immigration, and criminal law.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- How to coach a team of employees to accomplish a goal
- The difference between employee incompetence and unwillingness
- Honing your leadership skills for success
In this episode…
Do you find yourself becoming frustrated with your team? How can you reinforce your leadership position without feeling like you’re micromanaging your employees?
According to Luis Scott, there are two types of leaders — those who obsess over everything and are frustrated and those who obsess over everything but choose not to get frustrated. The key to effective leadership is questioning and following up with your employees until they complete the assigned task. While this may seem like micromanaging, you’re asserting authority without losing control or surrendering.
In today’s episode of The Guts and Glory Show, Luis Scott is joined by Valeria Torres, Director of Operations at 8 Figure Firm, to discuss leading with confidence. Together, they explain how to coach a team of employees to accomplish a goal, the difference between employee incompetence and unwillingness, and how to hone your leadership skills for success.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by 8 Figure Firm.
Co-founded by Luis Scott and Seth Bader of Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, 8 Figure Firm helps transform your law firm into a 7-figure or even 8-figure firm.
After their own law firm scaled from $3.5 million in revenues to $30 million per year in revenues in just two years, Luis and Seth started the 8 Figure Firm to share their strategies and help other law firms achieve exponential growth.
Visit www.8figurefirm.com to receive a consult call and start scaling your business today.
Luis Scott 0:00
are essentially there’s two types of leaders in this world, there’s those that obsess over every little thing, and are frustrated at all times. And then there are those who are obsessed over every little thing, but are not frustrated at all times everyone wants to work with and for someone they enjoy being around. When I think about leading a life of significance, I don’t think about money, I think about all the people that can be changed by the impact that I’ve made in their lives.
Valeria Torres 0:29
Okay, so the next, like, question is okay, let’s say we know the concept of the business, and we know how things like, can be should be how long it takes to build, they’re great. My question is, help me or guide me as to like, what should I like? We already know the basics of my focus, but like, in the operational world, without thinking of IT consulting, what is my what is my focus? What should I not care? What should I not? It’s not that I take it personal to a certain extent, because I’ve learned to like, slowly, like, Stop doing that. But what else do I do to follow company goals, which are two of them, new ones coming off of making everyone a professional, and making sure that we are driven by success? So if we are if I’m trying to do two things, which I’m all about, like, that is literally representation of me. So how do I? What do I care about? What do I not care about? What should my focus be on? Like? How do I get the team to get us somewhere? Besides just me being behind them? Like, did you do it? Did you do it? Did you do it? Did you do it, you just
Luis Scott 1:30
let it go. Literally just let it go. Like the thing about the thing about leadership is that there are essentially there’s two types of leaders in this world, there’s those that obsess over every little thing, and are frustrated at all times. And then there are those who are obsessed over every little thing, but are not frustrated at all times, you have to choose which side of the aisle you want to be on. And so I’ve just chosen to be obsessed over everything, but not to be frustrated over anything. And it’s a very, very difficult place to be, it’s very hard to be that person, it’s very hard to say, I know that you’re not hitting the expectation. But I’m not going to be frustrated, because I’m going to lead us through this process. Now. What do I ask, I ask, Is the person incompetent? Is the person incapable? Or is the person just unwilling? If they’re incompetent? Am I willing to train them? If no, then they have to be gone? Are they trained a bowl? If no, they have to be gone? That’s the incompetence? Are they? Are they capable? Like? Can they even do the job right? If I asked you to go and work at a fire station, but you can’t even lift a ladder you you’re incapable. You’re competent, I know I have to pick up the ladder, but I just can’t pick up the router. You’re you’re incapable of doing that job. So you have to be gone because you don’t meet meet the requirements. And then the last one is, Are you unwilling? Well, if the person is competent, they’re trainable. They’ve been trained, they’re capable, that you’ve asked them if they’re capable, and they just don’t do it, then that just means that they’re not willing to do it. And very rarely are people in the unwilling to do category. Those people, those people are the ones that say stuff like, that’s not in my job description. I don’t really want to do that. You know what you hear this a lot in like in sales. Hey, you got to do 100 cold calls. Oh, I don’t want to do 100 cold calls. I’m scared.
Valeria Torres 3:19
Right? That’s what and that’s what scares me that and that scares me. But that’s where I kind of sit right now we know that people are competent. Like, I’m not worried about that part right now with the team. The Are you capable of doing it that’s in a gray area, because that’s them learning up the curve of like, maturing until like, not only leadership, but their skill set, or craft or thing like just learning more developing, like, that’s a gray area. And that’s kind of like the one where you’re like, you get off a little bit because you just need to, like learn a little more. Right, like, just like I had to, but the one that’s the scariest is the unwilling, because based on like things that we’ve done, projects, tasks, and even that efficiency chart that I put out, there is a certain level of unwillingness of like, I have to do this again. Oh, I don’t want to do that. Or I’m just going to half acid and turn it in anyway. So there’s this like, there’s this sense of, I’ll get it to when I can, I’ll do it if I have to and maybe you’ll remind me five times or I’ll half assed turn something in and think that that’s okay. And it’s more of like and then I started thinking I’m like, Is it because you’re turning it into me like would you turn in work like that to your boss like Luis Scott? Because
Luis Scott 4:29
is it objectively half ass or is it half assed to
Valeria Torres 4:33
know objectively like you see a chart and your instructions is fill it out? And then you get to look at it and is like you’re supposed to do that you get instructions, fill it out for five days. Fill out the time you started the time you ended. The task you did. What department did you do it for? Yes or no? Did you complete it? The results across the board is there’s more than half of its blank. There. It wasn’t done for five days. You wrote check emails, three hours. That isn’t going to tell us anything. Hang, right, maybe that was my and I told people when I was doing a one on ones I was like, my mistake was maybe I said, I didn’t tell you specify how many emails or who you wrote it to? I’ll take that. I’ll take that fault. But tell me why it is that you didn’t feel the need to do five days, what is the need? Why did you not do bah, bah, blah. So today, something that I’m gonna tell him at the Monday meeting is, it came to the realization that a lot of them don’t speak up, like they, if they don’t know how to do something, or they are confused, or whatever it is. They don’t say anything. They’re like, I’m just gonna wait until you remind me or you get off on me really bad. And then I’ll say, I just didn’t really know how to do it, or Well, the thing is, I should have done it.
Luis Scott 5:40
But that sounds like a competency thing, right? competency is not a negative word. If you are in you can be incompetent, or ignorant of something, even if you’re competent, and not ignorant of something else, like like I could know very well how to do X thing, but I don’t know how to do Y thing. And I think that the question that you have to ask yourself is, am I taking that they can do Y and assuming that they can do X. And that’s a very dangerous thing to do. So somebody could be really good at taking notes, but very, very terrible at sending emails, somebody could be really good at doing emails would be very terrible at taking notes. Somebody could be very good at events and planning and be very terrible at, you know, showing up properly. Like there’s not one thing doesn’t necessarily mean the other thing, right? We all have
Valeria Torres 6:31
things. So maybe what I need to do is stop connecting the dots as a whole, like not only did I have to break down each employee to be their own person, which showed up at the beginning. But now I need to also break down this the task for a skill set like, Dude, why is this skill set?
Luis Scott 6:47
I want to I want to interrupt you because I want I want I really want to drive this point home. Do you know how many times I asked him and Bernie about sending the books
Valeria Torres 6:55
this month? A million?
Luis Scott 6:59
Like literally 1012 times? Yeah, it’s only the end of what the 19th of the month. And I asked him 12 times, including today did the books go out? You have to stop making the assumption that just because a person is a professional and as an adult, they have the maturity level to actually accomplish the goals that you’ve set for them. You as a leader, you’re the one that gets paid, you’re the one you’re the leader, right? You are going to follow up with them until they either do it or they quit. That’s that’s the way I do things. Yeah. See, I don’t do that. Again. I don’t do that with you. Because I don’t have to do that with you. But your leverage person. What you don’t see is my daily talks with everyone else on the team. My daily talk with our leadership team at the law firm, my daily talks with the people who are close to me, I am going to follow up with you until you do it. Or you’re going to quit.
Valeria Torres 7:55
So I guess that’s where like I was trying to get away from that to not be like Mike to micromanage, micromanaging
Luis Scott 8:02
though, micromanaging, micromanaging would be you go in there and start printing labels yourself. So finding the attorneys yourself, envelopes that’s micromanaging. Okay. All I’m asking is did you accomplish the goal that we set out to do? It’s such a thing? Hey, we got to go getting ready. I don’t see anything moving. We got to go. If they see. I asked him burning multiple times about the books because they were just sitting in boxes. Hey, guys, things need to be going on Friday. Where are we on this? No, no, we’re gonna get to it. We’re working on other things. Okay. The books are all in the boxes. Why are you waiting? I’m not waiting till last minute. We’re still accumulating the names and this as they were giving me good reasons. I said, All I’m saying is it’s got to be done by Friday.
Valeria Torres 8:45
Luis Scott 8:45
not micromanaging them by asking them a question. That’s not micromanagement. If I
Valeria Torres 8:51
definition, it’s my definition, or my assumption and definition of certain words that I’m like, who am I? It’s like a it’s like a catch 22? Like, who am I trying to be as a leader? What am I trying not to make? Sure I do so that it works really well, but at the same? What’s the answer I want to be? I want to be a leader that I don’t have to ask 20 times and that you eventually get to the point where you know, that the standard is so high that you’re like, I will do X, Y and Z and more. Because I know that either Val would do it or that’s what that’s what she would appreciate me doing as an employee and part of the team,
Luis Scott 9:27
you’re gonna get that you’re gonna get that when we have more employees who you can pay for, or when we’ve been in business long enough where you have built them. That’s when you’ll have that. You’re just not going to have that today. Yeah, you’re not gonna have that today. It’s just not gonna happen. And so, you have you can you can obsess over the little things and be frustrated or you could obsess over the little things and not be frustrated. The difference is the choice. Not to be pressured. I
Valeria Torres 9:54
don’t want to get to the point of like, I don’t care, because
Luis Scott 9:58
but that’s not what I said. Hear, that wasn’t even an option. It’s obsess over it and be frustrated, or obsess over it and not be frustrated. I never get to the point where I don’t care even when people don’t do anything. I care so much. I’m going to keep asking you the question over and over and over. And if you think I’m micromanaging, do the damn job. Okay? That’s the attitude. And in the meantime, we’re gonna have a good time, we’re gonna, we’re gonna,
Valeria Torres 10:28
you’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna pull out my hair for frickin No, but that means Yeah, I think I think I’m getting to the point where I’m like, I’m going through like stages of learning it was, especially with the team, it’s like, I got to know who you guys are, I got to know where your skills as it’s like, the same thing that I’m teaching. I’m like living it. So it’s, it’s, it’s easier to teach it than it is to, like, live it. And, like, appreciate basically, like the pain of the journey of like, I have to sit down with you and like, literally show you and like today I did that in my one on ones I was like, I’m gonna do this differently. Because if I don’t, it’s just gonna not work. So I sat down, and I was like, This is how you pull a report. This is how you build this. This is what Monday looks like. And so I explained like point by point. And they’re like, Okay, and I told them, and I said, you have the liberty to tell me, you did not explain it in the right way. Or you I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. And in that case, then I can help you. But if you don’t tell me how I can help you. It’s very hard to help you.
Luis Scott 11:22
There’s a saying in, in the in the church world, it’s without the test, you don’t have the testimony, right. And the testimony is this the evidence or the proof of something, without the test, you don’t have the testimony that you’re a good leader. Without the test, you don’t have the testimony of how to deal with difficult people. Without the test, you don’t have the testimony of how to manage people who are not leveraged without the test, you don’t have the testimony that you’ve been able to build a big team see your greatest asset, your greatest asset is the test. That’s your right now is your greatest asset, this experience is your greatest asset, because five years from now, when you have 50, or 60, law firms that you’ve worked with that you’ve helped to get to eight figures, when we have a team of 50 people when we have a full on marketing team, and we have a full long consulting team. And you look back and you say we built this from the ground up to 50 people. And we built this to hundreds and hundreds of law firms around the country. The testimony will be I’ve been through it, guys. I know what it’s like to deal with people who are not leveraged. I know what it’s like to deal with young people. I know what it’s like to go through a series of having to explain everything. I know what that’s like. But if everything is smooth, and nobody ever descends, and nobody ever doesn’t do anything, your story is I’m Val. Everybody did exactly what I said. Everybody did exactly how I said it. And I have nothing to show you because I’ve never gone through the test. Yeah. Do you see? Do you see I’m saying this is your great like, I look back, me getting fired from my partnership is the single greatest thing that ever happened to me. Because I had to endure 12 months of no income, I had to endure my house going into foreclosure. I had to endure my car being repossessed, I had to endure losing half of my money to my divorce. I had to endure running through my entire life savings. I had to endure getting married the day that I got married with Rachel, I had no money in the bank. None. I had gone through every single the last amount of money that I had I spent on the wedding, I went through every single penny that I have today, being a millionaire again. That’s the testimony of that test. And so don’t reject the test. Let’s enjoy it.
Valeria Torres 13:49
That’s the hard part. Yeah,
Luis Scott 13:50
of course, it’s the hard part. That’s why That’s why most people don’t get to reach the level of success that you’re experiencing, and will experience in the future because they’re not willing to go through that they they give up. They get to the point where they say I just don’t care anymore. And you don’t have that luxury. Because you
Valeria Torres 14:08
which is the good thing, I don’t have that mindset. But at the same time I’m like, there has to be I’m like trying to get creative with it. I’m like, there has to be a better way to like, learn or do so I’m just trying and testing different things with a team. I’m like, alright, this time, I’m going to try this or I’m going to maneuver that way to see if we accomplish better things. And some people get it.
Luis Scott 14:27
It’s all creating your philosophy. It’s all creating your philosophy board for coaching and mentoring and development. So don’t get frustrated with it. I don’t necessarily reject what you’re saying other than I don’t want to have to hire a bunch of people to do these admin things. I think and I’ll mention this today, we have to have a much stronger emphasis on owning your your position. Yeah, on owning your learning to
Valeria Torres 14:52
like, I think the main message is like owning, like being proud of your work, like understanding that what Ever you produce because like back to the, the, what’s it called the efficiency chart like, own up that I’ve told them to rolls, I said, if it’s not on monday.com, it doesn’t exist and I can give you more stuff to do. And if you don’t put it in your efficiency chart, like I can’t tell you, or I can’t help you, if you’re too busy, or if you’re doing things that are you’re not supposed to be doing, like, for example, if I have my marketing person doing admin stuff, why are you focusing on that, like, I need your skill set on something else, or if you’re my marketing person, but you’re, you’re handing off a bunch of stuff to other people, and you’re only proving to do six hours of work for 40 hours a week. Like, I have to be able to give you more stuff to do and for you to produce at the level that you’re supposed to be for. So don’t be shocked when I come to you and I hand you 20 More things, because you’ve only shown this to me this it I can only tell by the piece of paper that you write, that I’ve asked you to do. Yeah, that kind of like, that’s what I’m, that’s what I’m gonna remind the team. And that’s why I sent that email and I said, Here’s your accountability chart, here’s the master list, here’s the master for Phoenix, like, I don’t want to get to last minute, I gotta have all this information. And I don’t just ask you to ask you and like add more shit to your plate, like, I need you to do it so that I can determine if you need more help. Or if you’re capable of doing more things for your department to move it forward.
Luis Scott 16:17
The key is that you don’t have the luxury of being frustrated. And you don’t have that luxury. Have you ever seen me openly frustrated with anybody on the team like really like me just like, oh, man, I can’t believe I
Valeria Torres 16:35
know that I’ve had like two or three instances where I’m like, please just step out of my office because I am going to that. But that
Luis Scott 16:43
type of leadership is the leadership that creates an environment of fear. If people think that you’re going to be openly frustrated, they’re going to begin to fear you. And if they fear you, people want to work for excellent people. People will only be excellent for excellent people. People will only love to work for people who they believe love them. And when you Institute fear, you lose the ability to love on people, and for them to love you back. You lose the ability to create excellence in their lives and for them to create excellence back. I know you have a hard time accepting that. But the fact of the matter. The fact of the matter is, despite what people may say about me, despite what people may say about my leadership style, my work ethic, my commitment, despite what anybody says about anything that I do. I’ve somehow managed to build a business and now a second business that combined next year may do 45, almost $50 million, despite people rejecting the way that I lead. And so I believe that that model is something that has already worked. That’s what I believe, just model something that’s already worked and leave it at that and everything will work out