Taproot Law

Taproot Law

Human-Centered Legal Advocates

With our roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan


Growing a Strengths-Based Team

We are back! Thank you for all of your questions about Taproot’s work culture! We love your curiosity and invite you to continue asking questions! We grow while contemplating your questions, and they keep this interactive. One prevailing question:

If you already have a strong team, how do you add someone? When do you know when the team is complete?

Our answer: The team is complete when the team says it is.

Adding a member to the team is just one solution to shifting from a weakness to improving services and making the workplace more enjoyable.

After a year as a strengths-based team, we reviewed our strengths with our tasks to make more adjustments, and we decided to add a team member soon. Here is our process:

1. Identity a task to shift.

Each member made a written list of their daily tasks and shared them. Writing down your tasks cannot be overlooked: It helps make the review more objective because your teammates can help you confirm (1) the tasks you perform and (2) your strengths. We compared those tasks with our strengths.

Our team concluded that Kristie and Josie are working well within their strengths right now: The skills required to perform their tasks generally match their strengths, and they enjoy their work. It’s not perfect, and we will continue to refine their tasks. But then there’s me.

I still do too many tasks that do not fit my strengths. I know it because I can feel it and want relief from the friction and anxiety it can cause. Further, focusing my attention on tasks far outside my strengths slows down my team because everyone needs to compensate for me.

2. Eliminate the task.

We do a lot of tasks automatically based on training without much of an opportunity to consider whether we should be doing the task at all. Sometimes we find that the task was created for a purpose that no longer exists. The cheapest, most straightforward way to deal with a weakness-based task is to eliminate it altogether.

The team determines whether a task can be eliminated by weighing several factors, including our firm values, cost, legal requirements, the availability of alternatives discussed below, and wellness.

3. Shift it.

Shift it. If a task cannot be eliminated, the team considers whether it can be shifted to another team member. Consider performing the task differently – your team might have suggestions!

4. Get outside help.

While considering how to shift tasks that fall within my weaknesses, the team decided to look for a fourth team member possessing the strengths we miss. Wellness was the primary reason we decided to add a fourth. It also improved the services we aim to provide, and at least on paper, economics appears to follow wellness. As time opens for more strengths-based tasks, my ability to lead the firm in earning cash for the firm dramatically increases. We concluded there were no other reasonable alternatives than finding a fourth team member.

A fourth member will dramatically change the dynamics of the team. The additional person will certainly increase my productivity (and the team’s productivity). I also expect they will create opportunities to shift more tasks from all of us that we cannot imagine yet.

And so, the search begins! Stay tuned!