The little things

Oct 28, 2010

A few days ago, a very good friend of mine posted on FaceBook that “ …the water from the cooler at his new job was better…that it is the little things that make a difference…”. I thought it was kinda funny/quaint, but not much more at the time. Yesterday, I returned home after an incredibly long day to find a case of wine that I had ordered waiting on me; not much is better than a great glass of the vine to unwind at the end of the day. Again, the little things. That prompted me to start thinking about the little things that make our day better, and also how “the devil is in the details” as I recently heard.

To say that we have grown as a company and are more than a tad swamped matching high end talent with great companies would be an understatement. However, we also suffer from the little things phenomenon, but not in a positive way. Too easy is it to forget what got you where you are while in growth mode. The details seem to lose some importance and this will eventually cause negative consequences. I was reminded of this to a greater detail during the past 24 hours.

We received word that a client was passing on a potential candidate. Not because of talent mind you, but due to complete…..stupidity on the candidate part. Now, I do not use that word with reckless abandon, but when you answer the “biggest difficulty” question with my wife cheated on me; and refer to yourself as “partly gay” in regards to creativity, you deserve to not get the job. In actuality, you may be hurting the gene pool as a whole. I completely get that decision on the client part.

Also, I was doing some OD consulting with one of my favorite clients- just good people that actually believe in what they do and keep their moral compass pointed north- it kept being repeated that through growth, some of the small things that make or break a business get dropped due to tight deadlines/schedules, et al. The difficulty is remembering what brought you to the dance, and how to simply scale that belief; or to know when you need to change direction and keep things going with the tide.

I offer those examples as I noticed we too have dropped the ball in a couple areas. We are providing talent at such a velocity that it occasionally is difficult to hit all the steps. Now assume that I was wrong, and the above mentioned candidate is not a complete idiot, and this process could have been salvaged had we spent more time explaining what a correct “professional” answer was to those questions. The concept he had in answering, though bigoted in a general consensus towards the gay population, was not completely incorrect. The hardest thing he has confronted was the cheating spouse; his creativity (again stereotypical and bigoted) was geared towards a homosexual. His thought process was sound, just ill timed. Had we made sure to remove the stupidity from this conversation, he could have made an incredible addition to a team in need of talent.

On the other hand, the growing client of ours is looking now to make the necessary changes and implementations to effect and affect the culture in a positive light. They are making time in their packed days for something that we agree is the most important part of their business…people. This foresight will pay off in magnitudes in the near future.

At the end of the day, the devil is truly in the details. That little bit more or greater attention to the details makes the difference between successes, or almost made it. A favorite quote of mine from a movie, based on its sheer ridiculousness is as follows “…the difference between ordinary and extraordinary?…it’s that little something extra…” ( I know, a Waiting quote). I can say with surety we are tightening the process to provide the extra.

Be Relentless


About the author

Doug Rowe wrote 23 articles on this blog.

My experience is in matching top talent with the opportunities that meet their career goals while simultaneously exceeding the requirements of my clients. I believe that the cultural and environmental fit is as important if not more so than the technical. This personality and culture matching is where I excel.