As someone who thrives on forms and checklists, I also know that it is critical to improve them, as well as update them. I learned this practice from my photography mentor, Jon Peters. I’ve adapted what I did as a photographer, that is, providing a service to clients, to what I/we do as trial consultants, providing various services to clients. There are lots of details to track about a particular case, and about all active cases. One is a form/checklist for case intakes I created for another employer and then modified and improved for Magnus on day 1 – way back when. That was version 1; I think we’re now up to version 16. But, this post is about one of the major iterations of this form, a minor change, with significant impact. And this iteration resulted from a marketing trip to an out of town insurance adjuster client. While visiting this client’s office, Melissa and I saw a stack of blue forms on his desk. He volunteered that each blue sheet represented a claim. It was his cover page for each case. To each blue sheet all the correspondence related to the case was attached and kept until a file was made. The client explained that he did this to ensure that no case was lost in the shuffle – 1 blue sheet = 1 case and they should not be mixed. A light bulb went off and, from that day forward, our case intake and tracking forms were printed on blue paper. In fact, we call them the blue forms, not the intake forms. A minor change, but with big results. We know that the blue form is the go to document for all of the basic information on the case. The name, rank and serial number of the case, that is, the attorney contact information, list of parties, list of all opposition attorneys, etc. is contained on the blue form. I’d imagine that the insurance company has computerized its forms these days. But, the lesson learned was that white paper gets lost, blue, or even red or green (colors we use for some other paper forms), stand out. Learning from others isn’t a crime. Sharing such experiences pays it forward.
David loves forms. He enjoys devising them and he enjoys having everyone who works at Magnus complete them. He even has forms prepared for our clients to complete, to ensure we are doing everything they want us to do on their behalf. For the most part, I don’t share David’s fondness for forms. Although I impose a certain degree of structure in my work, I prefer to complete my work with the kind of excellence that doesn’t necessarily require a fitting within the confines of a form. This being said, when it comes to one of David’s forms, Magnus’ Case Intake Form, fondly known as the blue sheet, ranks as my #1 all time favorite form. Why? Because our blue sheet form is completed when we have a new case! Hooray for a new case! Hooray for a new client or the return of a former client! Hooray hooray hooray for the need to fill out a blue sheet! As far as I am concerned, Magnus’ blue sheet provides hope; hope that the client will retain us, hope that I will be able to help the client achieve an optimal result for his/her case, and hope for the continued success of Magnus Research Consultants and Magnus Graphics. The blue sheet is a lovely shade of sky blue. Its appearance is cheerful and optimistic. Here’s hoping we are fortunate enough to complete another blue sheet in the near future!