Some things you shouldn’t do

Oct 14, 2015

zweig-001Even proponents of ‘never say never’ will likely agree that these gaffes should never be committed.

Though one of my favorite sayings is “never say never,” the fact is, if you work in an A/E or environmental firm, there are just some things you shouldn’t ever do. Here are my thoughts:
  1. Don’t constantly check your phone during the first meeting with an important client. It’s rude and will lead to the client not liking you. I’ve been guilty of this one. Like many of you, I’m a phone addict.
  2. Don’t have your assistant place your outbound calls and then summon you once they get who they’re calling on the line. This is so rude. You are saying: “My time is more valuable than yours.” Whenever anyone does this to me, I hang up on them.
  3. Don’t forget to make sure your subconsultant gets paid after the client pays you. You don’t want to get a reputation for being a thief and using the other guy’s money. You may need the cash, but so do they!
  4. Don’t talk trash about anyone you work with or for. You never know when it is going to come back to bite you. Not to mention the fact that you may not know everything and not understand why someone/something is the way it is.
  5. Don’t tell the founder’s wife she “looks good for her age.” That’s bad manners. Even if you know she is well into her years, never force anyone to face that fact.
  6. Don’t ask a woman “when’s the baby due?” Some tops or blouses make ladies who aren’t pregnant look pregnant. She might not be pregnant. If you ask that, and instead of being pregnant she is just a little plump, you now have someone who wants to see you dead.
  7. Don’t use “out of office assistant.” It looks bad to announce to the world, both inside and out, that you’re disconnecting and won’t care enough about them to return their emails for X days. It just connotes poor service.
  8. Don’t cheat on your expense report. You may get caught. The whole company will think you’re dishonest, and it could ruin your ability to lead or manage.
  9. Don’t say “it’s not in my job description.” There’s nothing a manager – or a peer or an underling – who is doing a tough job wants to hear less from you.
  10. Don’t call in sick every Monday. It looks suspicious, and everyone will think you are either hungover or just wanted to extend your weekend. They’ll resent you for it, too!
  11. Don’t leave early every Friday after changing into golf attire. It looks bad to those who can’t/won’t/aren’t going golfing.
  12. Don’t talk politics or religion if you aren’t 100 percent sure of the other guy’s views. The country is divided. One thing I know is that you can upset about half the population with any political opinion. So why share them?
  13. Don’t post pictures of yourself intoxicated on Facebook. Again, this looks bad. Don’t put anything on Facebook or Instagram or your personal website that you don’t want the whole world to see!
  14. Don’t stand by the front door and smoke. Looks bad. And if you do smoke, try to take the least number of smoke breaks during the work day, as non-smokers will surely notice and resent you.
  15. Don’t look at things on the Internet you don’t want anyone else in the firm to know you’ve looked at.Some firms are really snoopy. And some IT people are talkers. I remember one firm who found out from their IT guy that they had an employee who ran a “swingers” website. It looked pretty bad for him!
Whether you’re the boss or an underling, the owner or an employee, heed my advice! MARK ZWEIG is founder and CEO Zweig Group. Contact him at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.