How I Work – Amy W. Schulman

Amy W. Schulman

*** NOTE FROM COACH O: We continue studying the principle that “success leaves tracks”, by looking at another successful person profiled in Fortune/’s Article, “How I Work”. I love taking an inside look at what successful people do and how they do it! Enjoy…
“How I Work” – Amy W. Schulman, Partner, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary

Executive summary: Be compulsively organized — and delegate. Many successful women have become successful because they’re just awfully good at being compulsive and organized and doers. But it’s hard to be successful and be a control freak, because if you cling to things, you’re going to be a bottleneck. Delegating to other peopleappropriately delegating — is very liberating. There isn’t anybody on my team I don’t trust 100 percent. Remember, I’ve been building this team for ten years.

I have two assistants now. I have an assistant from 7 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon, and then an assistant from 4 to midnight. I wake up somewhere between 5 and 6 A.M., and get to the office about 8, before the phone calls start. On the days that I’m not traveling — I travel probably 50 percent of my life — I try to get home by 7:30 P.M. I typically don’t sign off e-mail until midnight.

I get around 600 e-mails a day. I divide them into four categories, and I deal with them immediately, by and large. First are e-mails that I forward to someone else. Next are where somebody’s giving me information that I need to cascade to somebody else with instructions. Third are the ones that I can read later on an airplane. Fourth are those that require me to respond immediately.

I used to have two cell phones because coverage is erratic. I decided one service provider worked best here and the other there. At some point I decided that was insane.

I don’t leave my cell phone on. I’m often in meetings or with clients, and I don’t want people to assume that they can dial my cell phone and get me, unless it’s an emergency. You can’t leave it on if you’re in a meeting with the CEO or a witness. It’s really important to focus on the problem at hand. You get into a rhythm of a conversation, and you have to honor that rhythm. People get anxious when they feel they’re going to be interrupted. What a good lawyer brings to a problem, in addition to creative solutions, is a quality of attentiveness. You can’t listen with half an ear.

The BlackBerry was at first a significant intrusion on family life. But my family has gotten used to the fact that I’m more relaxed if I can take care of my e-mails. I don’t generally look at my e-mail during mealtimes, and I try not to look at it in movie theaters.

— Interviewed by Roger Parloff

Things To Think About:
  • What stood out to you from this interview? (Your “boldprint”…)
  • Did you see what she said about trust in her team? AMAZING! Do you feel that way about your team? Are you “building” your team?
  • After reading this, what things in your leadership mindset do you need to work on?

from more on “How I Work”, visit:

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