The little stuff does matter


How you do one thing, is how you do everything.

Someone else once said that leopards never change their spots.

They were both right.

Simply by walking into a business you can gain a good indication of what financial and organizational shape the business is in from the entranceway or foyer. Intentionally or not those first few steps give the game away. They will tell you whether anyone cares. They will tell you whether anyone in the organization bothers to attempt to see themselves through others’ eyes.

They will tell you whether people are awake and aware when they come to work, or merely sleepwalking. Sometimes they will even tell you whether the business is putting on a veneer that hides a vacant reality. It is the same with people. How we do one thing is how we do everything. The little things tell you much about the state of the business. Similarly , the little things tell you much about the state of the person.

In one business, while interviewing a potential new staff member, I would have someone check out the state of their car. Some people drive around in cars that resemble mobile garbage bins. I don’t want the driver of a mobile garbage bin working for me in a position that requires cleanliness and orderliness – and that’s most positions. If their car is rubbish laden and dirty, then their work life will be the same.

When interviewing potential staff, my receptionist would always have the final right to blackball. It astounds me the number of times I have had positive interviews with candidates, only to be told afterwards by my receptionist of unsuitable or inappropriate behaviour out of my sight.

If a person behaves badly to someone they perceive to be junior or inferior to themselves at the interview stage, you can guarantee that the same behaviour will come out (and cause you heartache) at a later stage.

In one business, a standard procedure was to have all job applicants fill in a one page application form before the interview started. There were a number of reasons for this, including getting written answers to questions we needed answers to , and also being able to assess how well applicants could follow instructions. So many resumes (C.V’s) are now of marginal use as they are compiled by someone other than the candidate, and include only information positive to the candidate. We wanted to understand the candidate fully, not just those aspects they wanted to expose to us. The one page application form was not onerous, but so often provided illuminating answers to the applicant’s attitude. And it’s attitude that counts !

An example of a telling answers was in the recent jobs section. Some candidates would fill in “it’s on my CV” .Is that laziness or an inability to follow instructions?

In some cases the information on the one page form didn’t even match up with the information on the resume. Or it illustrated the ability or inability of the applicant to string a sentence together.

The “little stuff does matter” lesson can be extrapolated through to businesses as well as people.

If a business is sloppy with it’s billing or other paperwork, then expect it’s operational processes to be the same. If it is untidy, unsanitary or unkempt, then these are all reflections on the real internal state of the business. If one side of a business is this way, then so too will be the rest.

The SIMPLE reminder: choose both staff and business partners wisely. Take note of the little things, as they are reflections of their overall performance.