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It's the Little Things that Matter

Posted July 1, 2011 @ 3:42pm | by Joe

If you were to ask any of my children “what’s one of your dad’s favorite sayings?”, no doubt they would respond with “It’s the Little Things that Matter!”

 

I’ve used this phrase for several years while working with my children on their math lessons.  Repeatedly, they would make ever so small errors which had major results – little things like adding rather than subtracting, or putting a decimal point in the wrong place when subtracting decimals, or not inverting when dividing fractions. I would complement them for what they did correctly while pointing out their small error and saying, “Remember, it’s the little things that matter!”

 

In raising our family, I have used this expression countless times to mentor them with relationships, finances, careers, and employment. And while the big things are grand and flamboyant, I have found that in life, and in business, it is the little things that matter.

 

Think about it – when was the last time you received, or sent for that matter, a hand written thank you note for something you did or said. It’s just a little thing, but in the world of fast paced electronic communications, a little note can make a huge impact. As a people, we are very tactile, so being able to hold a note in our hand appeals to our senses. Occasionally, we will receive an email thanking us, and this is nice, but it does not have the impact of a hand-written note.

 

During these turbulent economic times, many businesses need to cut back on expenses and the easiest area to look at is in labor costs. However, there are other areas which can be reviewed as well. Back in the early 70’s, my uncle Rob Koenig, a Senior Vice President of SuperValu at the time, explained to me and taught me the art of “exploding a P&L”. Through this process, a detailed review of the General Ledger takes place to scrutinize where the pennies are going. It’s easier to look for the dollars, but unfortunately companies lose control when they don’t keep track of the little things. I have used this process countless time with various organizations turning stores and business from unprofitability to profitability.

 

It is not only in the financial management of a business where little things matter.  They also matter in the communication’s processes which are used to convey a message. Starting with the company’s vision, mission and values, is the message clear and concise? Is the strategic plan communicated to all employees? Have you asked employees “What do you do and why does it matter?” This single question will give you an indication of how well you have communicated expectations to your workforce. 

 

And looking for productivity, it really is the little things that matter! From a manufacturing aspect, you only need to trim off a few seconds from a process and you will find incredible savings in manpower over the course of a year.

 

Finally, one of the most effective little things we can do is to say “thank you” to our employees and to our customers. Thank you for your work; thank you for your dedication; thank you for your business; thank you for doing the little things that matter in your day-to-day work activities.

 

So, “Relax; Enjoy; Laugh; Play” – It’s the Little Things!  And Thank You for visiting our site.

 
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Filed Under: Around HR | Permalink
 
 

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