Pay Attention to The Little Things
A number of years ago, I was listening to the head of an organization speak to a gathering of people. At one point he began to talk about his work as the key leader in that organization. He singled out the work of the custodians and spoke about the importance of their work. He spoke about the importance of having clean restrooms and a building that is free from litter. He became very emotional at one point as he said, "When I see the cleanliness of our building, it reminds me that that these people really care. They care about their work and what we are doing as an organization." Most organizations like this have someone doing custodial work. The difference here was their attentiveness to "little things."
Sometime later, I saw this same gentleman enter that building early one morning. As he walked from his car to the building, he noticed some empty coke cans on the grass in front of the main doors (probably thrown from a passerby the night before). Without a word, he picked up this litter and then entered the building. As I saw this and then recalled his earlier speech, I thought about his own powerful example. He too was paying attention to the little things.
Yesterday, our family left church and began traveling toward DFW airport (about a two hour trip) where Phillip and Christine (our older daughter) would catch a flight back to their home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. As we were leaving Waco, we stopped at a fast food place to pick up something to eat on the way. We waited in the drive-through line. Finally, it was our time to order. After giving the order to the person through the speaker, I immediately said, "Will you change that last sandwich to a medium instead of a small?" The person responded with, "Well, now I have to re-figure your price. I will give you your total when you get to the window." After that transaction, we moved ahead in line and I asked Phillip, "Did she just say what I think she said?" We left the drive-through amazed at her response.
Contrast that experience with what happened two days before as we entered the new Starbucks on Hewitt Drive. As we approached the store, a smiling woman opened the door and said, "Welcome to Starbucks! All beverages are free this afternoon." (The store would actually open the next day. This was the "pre-opening.") The other employees in the store, as busy as they were, had the same cheerful attitude.
The difference? Paying attention to the little things.
Today, I will probably have conversations with a variety of people. No doubt, I will do a few things that I think are "important." Yet, I don’t want to overlook the little things that can mean so much to others. Maybe a good start might be to remember some of these words as I deal with people today:
"I appreciate this."
"It’s my fault."
"It’s my mistake."