Archive | Managing Employees

Don’t give them a freebie

The title of this blog is a something I tell new Magnus staff when trying to explain the need to do their job with as near perfection as is humanly possible. Don’t give the client anything to complain about – that’s the goal. Not that there won’t be any complaints, but make them about things […]

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Decades ago, Magnus had an employee who believed she could learn only as a result of making mistakes. She assured David and me, upon making mistake after mistake, that she never made the same mistake twice; rather, she made new mistakes that she truly believed were acceptable. Needless to say, we were quite relieved when […]

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Jurors and the Internet

During my recent jury duty experience, I noticed posters around the assembly room entitled “Juror Responsibilities Regarding the Internet and Social Media” produced by the National Center for State Courts and Center for Jury Studies. I am well aware of the issues related to jurors and social media or the internet. And, I think I’d […]

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David probably violated a rule when he took a photo of the sign, “Juror Responsibilities Regarding the Internet and Social Media.” The courthouse personnel who posted the sign should have posted another sign that said, “Take no photographs of this sign.” During Magnus’ jury research projects, I fill the role of the judge, meaning I […]

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Busy is Good!

Being busy is a good thing when you own your own business, law practice, etc. I find it interesting, though, that other people do not share my perspective. From time to time, when speaking with someone who doesn’t quite appreciate that busy is good, I try to understand why. When this happens, the person to […]

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Busy is good. In fact, being busy is great! As the co-owner of a business, I am keenly aware that the only way we can survive, in the long term, is by being busy more often than not having work to do. Of course, as in most businesses, our work volume ebbs and flows, often […]

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The Social Psychology of Etiquette

This third post in a series about good manners, courtesy, and kindness combines my education, training, and experience as a social psychologist with something with which I have always been fascinated: etiquette. Unlike almost everyone else I know, I love the rules of etiquette and I try, diligently, to follow them in everything I do. […]

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Melissa is much more of a student of, and teacher of, etiquette than am I. And she has taught me a thing or two in this regard over the past 30+ years. But, I had some other good teachers, including my mother, and another person about whom I wrote previously, Jon Peters. Jon corrected me […]

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Rewards/Reinforcement

Learning about the relationship of environmental events and behavior is known in psychology as instrumental conditioning. Instrumental conditioning has been studied extensively since the late 1800s, when a psychologist named Dr. E. L. Thorndike devised the “law of effect.” The law of effect, in its simplistic form, is a successful behavior will increase the probability […]

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Over our many years in business, we have used rewards in the form of bonuses or gifts to employees for jobs well done. These have taken various forms, whether end of year/holiday bonuses or a bonus for a research day completed well, as well as other forms, like gift cards for dinners or weekend getaways. […]

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Portable Food/Defensive Eating

It harkens back to my Boy Scout, “Be Prepared” days, but this topic of portable food is another of those basic, seemingly common sense items, that may not be so common “sensical” to everyone. The concept is simple. Schedules change, flights get delayed, the judge decides to work through lunch, the research facility is behind […]

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During my first interview for a job as a trial consultant, which took place in Manhattan, the experienced consultant who interviewed me asked if I was aware that working as a trial consultant required “defensive eating.” Maybe because I was awed at the sight of the Manhattan skyline from high above 57th Street, or uncomfortable […]

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Chains or Local Restaurants?

On this dimension, I have observed that people fall into 1 of 2 categories. There are people who prefer large, national chain restaurants over local restaurants and those, like me, who prefer local restaurants over chains, for the most part. Perhaps I learned this from my Dad, who was always on the road during his […]

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No offense to the readers of this post who like chain restaurants, however, as a rule, I loathe them. I will go out of my way to avoid eating at a chain restaurant whenever possible. I prefer to patronize local eateries wherever I travel, both for business and pleasure. There are exceptions, of course, including […]

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Don’t waste time

A post on which I was first author was titled, “Time is Precious.” This, related, post is a reminder: Don’t waste time. People have varying conceptions of time. Some of these conceptualizations are culturally based, while others are personality based. I have an acquaintance who boastfully stated she is “never” on time for church, but […]

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There are so many time wasters in the world today, many held in the palm of a hand in the form of a smart phone. As I posted previously, some things which appear to be wasting time are not. Waiting unnecessarily, as Melissa references, is not one of those times. With friends, perhaps, there is […]

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Jet Lag

Travel for business can be strenuous; so can personal travel, for that matter. And time zone crossing travel just adds to that stress. Having made 3 trips to Australia, I know about time zone crossing. Melissa and I don’t do international trips for work, but crossing even 1 or 2 or 3 time zones across […]

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Believe me: I know all about jet lag.  Early in my career as a trial consultant, I lived in Atlanta, but worked in Boston, for a company based in Los Angeles, where I had to go on a frequent basis.  In any given week, I “commuted” from Atlanta to Boston on Monday, then traveled with […]

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Look it up

These days, information awaits us almost everywhere. Merely by typing a name, phrase, or word into any cell phone’s search engine, one can find out a plethora of information about that person, corporation, town, entity, etc. A couple of years ago, I had a “creepy feeling” about one of Magnus’ vendors. I typed his name […]

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Before there were millennials, I sometimes turned to my younger brother, Stephen, and asked him questions to look up somewhere. If the subject was of interest to him, on sharks or alligators and rock & roll, for example, he’d be my information source. That was after my days with an outdated World Book Encyclopedia at […]

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