My client Mick has a friend he admires -- Jo.
They're both solo professionals, both lawyers, with adjacent specialties. They refer work to each other and don't compete directly.
Jo is a monster of efficiency. When they compare results, Jo is getting more done in an hour and in a day. Mick is envious.
Finally, someone suggests that Mick ask if he can come watch Jo being her awesome self.
Watch the workflows, watch the efficiencies, watch whatever it is that Jo does differently.
What should Mick do to prepare? I advised him:
- Before the visit, think about where you struggle, and where you spend the most time. Make a list of key areas where improvement would help you most.
- During the visit, don't be afraid to ask her to do some of the things on your list, and ask where she believes she is most effective.
- Be sure to leverage your learning style. Because you're a reader, you should take photos, write notes, and block out time after the visit to write and reflect on your observations.
The next day, send her a hand-written thank-you note, and (if you really did get a lot of value) invite her and her Significant Other out to a nice lunch or dinner.
Who do you know who is better than you at something, and whom you could learn from like this?
If you lack those professional friends -- go make them.
If you don't know whether your professional friends are better than you at anything, find out. Solo professionals in particular need to create their networks deliberately.