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Something More Meaningful?

I decided to sit down and write something more meaningful… because Uncle D even complained about yesterday’s blog! Too many pictures, he said. So, I decided to get busy with serious words…but I got distracted as I walked to my desk.

The distraction? Signs were hanging near two paralegals’ desks. And they made me laugh!

The first simply said But First, Coffee.

The next sign said I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good either.

Now you see why I got distracted. And I was going to write a serious blog today. So instead, I’ll just mention a story from the Bible:

A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He came to the passage of Genesis 19 and read that the man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city. But his wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.

At the end of the story, the son asked the father But what happened to the flea?

Uncle D… I’ll try to do better tomorrow! But… this made me laugh!

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And for pic o’ day, there’s something about a giraffe that makes me laugh too. And it seems like I was always fascinated as a kid, about what kind of cough drops they used… when their throats got sore!

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Planning… and Some Ben Franklin

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This just seemed to be a good starter pic o’ for Monday, if you had a weekend of busy!

The following represents three examples of preparation and planning. A reminder that to get somewhere… it doesn’t just happen.

The base of the Great Pyramid in Egypt measures larger than ten football fields. Ancient Greek historian Herodotus tells us about the planning. He wrote that it took 400,000 men more than twenty years to build it.

I am told that the Japanese have a special plan to grow amazing melons. First, they plant a seed; Then, allow it to sprout and form buds. They pick all the buds except for one. That bud is left to grow into a full melon.

This single melon is now receiving all the nutrients that originally was being supplied to all the melons that were growing. The result is an amazing tasting melon.

Anthony Hopkins, famous for such roles that range from Nixon, to Hitler and Picasso, to Hannibal Lecter; was asked how he prepared for a role. This as part of an interview with Total Film. His answer gives an insight into preparation:

I’m meticulous about learning the script. I always make sure I really know it, go over it and over it and over it until I feel comfortable with it. People say “How many times?” and I say, “Well, I go over it maybe 200 times,” just to scare the hell out of them. And I only use that number because then I trick my brain into saying, “I know it, I know it, I know it,” and once I feel comfortable, I can go along and act it and there’s no strain, no “What do I say next?” I know it so well that I can just let it happen.

In thinking about planning and preparation, I can’t help but to think about our trial work and about law firm planning. Ben Franklin succinctly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail“.

Of course, Frank Underwood, in House of Cards, has a different outlook on planning, “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table“.

And for pic o’ day, when I received this one… I just kept looking at it and smiling:

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Refrigerator Magnet Story

This is a blog that Hollywood would say, “Based on a true story”.

Doug went to sign up a new client in Virginia Beach yesterday. That’s the part of “We come to you”.

When he got to the apartment, it seemed very familiar. When he asked the lady why she had decided to call us to represent her, she pointed to her refrigerator. On the its side was a Joel Bieber magnet. she said, “the refrigerator was the only thing left in the apartment from the previous tenant. When I saw the Joel Bieber Firm magnet on the side, I decided to call”.

When Doug got back to the office, he cross-checked the address. He had been to that very apartment about three years ago. Sure enough, the previous tenant had been a client and had left her refrigerator… and the magnet.

Doug said, “what are the odds of that?”. I said, “I hope we are still using those magnets!”

and for pic o’ day, I went with some timely words!

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Signs of the Times

One summer during college, I sold vacuum cleaners. Yes… vacuum cleaners. I remember during one sales training that the manager reminded us all that we needed to be enthusiastic because no one woke up in the morning and said to themselves, “Today, I am going to buy a vacuum cleaner”.

Sometimes I feel like that about a Friday blog. So, today I am enthusiastic!

I am using this blog to attach a couple of pictures that were sent to me. I hope that you see the humor in these altered signs.

First is a man’s stubbornness… I suspect that you can guess that this was not sent to me by a man.

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Second is a bit of Shakespeare:

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I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

The Controversy of Admin Day

Yesterday our staff were taken to lunch and then had the rest of the day off. In my mind, it was just a small way to say how much we appreciate what they do.

Somehow Administrative Professionals Day has become controversial. Originally known as Secretary’s Day that began in 1952; it was changed to recognize all office support staff. That seemed to satisfy the naysayers.

Now, there is a bit of a call to completely eliminate the day. Those in that elimination camp believe that the day is too patronizing and only serves to separate staff from other professionals. They say, “why not have National Pharmacists Day?”.

I believe that there’s nothing wrong with recognizing everyone who makes a contribution. I’m not against a National Landscaper Day either. For me, I just want to say thank you for those who work at our office. It’s a tough job and I am thankful for all that they do. I guess that  I should also be reminded to say “thank you” each day. It shouldn’t take a recognized national day for me to say that!

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Satisfaction Guaranteed

Retail chain Montgomery Ward was the first company in the United States to advertise “satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back”. Founder Aaron Montgomery Ward came up with that slogan in 1874, after he decided to provide “city” goods to country customers who were unable to drive in to make purchases. So, he conceived the idea to sell through a dry goods mail-order “come to you” business.

Ward faced great obstacles including the loss of his first inventory during the Great Chicago Fire; as well as facing local retailer competition, who would go around and burn his catalogs. Despite such actions, he was successful because the core idea of his business met a need.

The history of his business shows that it continued to grow throughout his lifetime in that he ran the business for 41 years until he died. (more of the story here) In reading the history, I was most fascinated by the fact that his catalog became known as the “Wish Book” that had grown to 10,000 items in the first year. Another reason why, despite competition from companies like Sears, he still stayed the course with his success.

In the world of rainmaking for business, I often hear that you need to have your elevator speech. It allows you to tell someone what you do during an elevator ride (or 10 seconds) that serves as your sales pitch for business.

I have never been too excited about the sales pitch idea. I have often thought about what answer to give, when I am asked what sets our law firm apart from other law firms. That is when I think back to an idea that met a need an idea that was not original.

It was the end of the day during a normal workday at the law firm, in 1989. I had met with several new and existing clients that day and I was exhausted. Recounting the story, it was the first time that Dennis Lanier had ever met me. He was doing some investigation for my partner then, and had stopped into my office.

He says that he found me a bit slumped in my chair with the sleeves of my white shirt rolled up near my elbows. He told me that he knew of an idea in signing up new cases. It would make it easier for new clients. He could go to a new client’s house to sign them up, when they could not come in to see me. He had gotten the idea from a solo practitioner and had helped him by doing that very sign-up method.  Soon, we were advertising the idea that “we will come to you”.

Since that time, I have heard other firms advertise that concept. For us, we still “will come to you”. In a way, it was our “Wish Book” idea.

DID YOU KNOW that according to Gambler’s Digest, an estimated $1 million is lost at the race track each year, by people who lose or carelessly throw away winning tickets?

And for pic o’ day… this is bag o’ cat:

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Just Care and Incorgnito!

Thursday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch had an article written by their food critic that also had a good life lesson reminder. Dana Craig wrote Richmond Servers, Please Get Your Act Together.

Her article was a challenge to restaurant servers to just care. As she put it, ” we don’t want our entrées served while one of our party of two is in the restroom. We don’t want to see you sitting at a nearby barstool, gabbing it up while we pile used plates on the edge of the table, praying you’ll notice. And we really don’t want to summon the check by breaking out flares to draw you to our table.” Then, she goes on to list some basics that servers should take to heart.

Craig concludes her article with the advice, “most people don’t return after a meal marred by bad service. First impressions matter, and servers are the front lines of a restaurant’s reputation. Your position is important, so treat it that way. Your diners — and tips — will thank you”.

The service industry includes the practice of law. These same principles apply to our firm. In fact, these same thoughts apply to most people. I nodded my head when she wrote about these basics in the restaurant business. In life, doesn’t  it feel good when you are dealing with a business that cares!

Here’s a Friday DID YOU KNOW? A child’s superman costume had a warning attached to the package that stated, “Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly”… Yes, we knew that!

From the world of Facebook a couple of others comes pic o’  of “Incorgnito” that cracks me up:

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