Paying attention to all the details
Do you see anything unusual about the picture below? It’s a picture of a step, pretty ordinary, right?
How about now?
Yes, it’s one tiny piece of trash, but it made a big impact on me as I started in the business as a speaker and trainer.
I was walking up a set of stairs at a hotel with one of the management people in their organization. We were talking about a possible training seminar for their team that I was going to lead. As we were walking, I am noticing that she is bending down and picking up little pieces of trash that were on some of the steps.
I knew right away from that encounter that I wanted to work with this organization. Why? She saw the importance of the little details. Would it have mattered if she hadn’t picked up the 2-3 little pieces of paper? Yes, it would have mattered to her, and she told me so.
When we got to her office, I mentioned that I saw her do that, and thanked her. She was surprised (and pleased) that I noticed as well. I asked her why she did it, and I loved her answer. “This is my hotel,” she said. “Now, I know I don’t own it, but I think of it as my hotel. I take great pride in working here. I want to make sure that these little details are always taken care of because I don’t want our guests to think that we don’t see things like that or that we don’t care.”
By the way, the staff followed her lead. They noticed that this person cared enough about picking up the little pieces of trash and they followed suit. Their hotel was (as still is) spotless.
This reminded me of a story I heard about the owner of a restaurant that couldn’t stop looking at the brand new restaurant that opened up across the street from his. It was beautiful, spotless, clean…and busy. While his restaurant had weeds growing outside, the parking lot was filled with litter, the windows were filthy, and no customers were in it. He complained to his regional manager one day demanding that he do something about his restaurant. The manager came back about 30 minutes later with a gallon of black paint and a paintbrush. “This will take care of it”, he said, “since you choose not to see what is wrong here, you need to paint all your windows so that you can’t see how well they are doing across the street.”
What about your business? How important are the little things to you, your staff? Do you set the example for your people by making sure that the little things are being handled, or do you just walk right past them thinking “I’m sure someone else will pick that up?