Friday, June 11, 2010

The Little Things

Recently I wrote a piece called "Notice Me". This is a follow up on those thoughts triggered by a lecture by Tom Peters, Cornell '64 that I attended today. Peters is the author of the seminal book "In Search of Excellence" published in 1982 and 15 other books on management with the most recent book just out with the title "The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence". I read his works when I was moving into an administrative role and his writings continue to be a inspiration for my interactions in leadership roles and in personal interactions as well. The gist of his teachings and writings is that success of an organization is highly dependent on the little things. Excellence comes from paying attention to all the little things that contribute to the atmosphere of respect and caring in the operation. The simple things of knowing the support staff names and greeting them in a respectful way counts for a lot. And when you visit a restaurant, the cleanliness of the bathroom is probably as important as the skill of the chef. Also, never underestimate the value of a smile. I am sure there are many other little things that should be considered. I am looking forward to reading the latest book.

I have become more sensitized to the value of little things influencing my sense of satisfaction when I purchase goods and services. In fact, I plan to change some of my service providers because of the small annoyances of some of the establishments. In these tough economic times, perhaps businesses should pay more attention to the small things that could improve their service to their clients.

As I criticize others about little things, I am reminded these principles apply to me right at home. Probably we all have read about the demise of the Tipper and Al Gore marriage. No big things happened. Just a drifting apart to the point of no common interest. A warning for all of us in a long term marriage. It is the little failings that can add up to a big problem. Striving for excellence in marriage is worthy of attention to small expressions of love and caring.

1 comment:

Pat and Bev said...

Gerry, yet another thing we have in common. In addition to teaching Psychology, I used to have a small consulting business that helped individuals and organizations achieve transformational change. I used a lot of Tom Peter's material in my workshops. Did you know that Peters was a fraternity brother of Ken Blanchard? Blanchard is the author of the "One Minute Manager". Ken wrote this book in the early 1980's and it still sells over 50,000 copies a year worldwide (how is that for a best-seller!). Ken lives in San Diego, but has a summer place on Skaneateles Lake. Very nice man.