Focusing on the little things that make the difference

Photo by Geoff Peters 604


There are things in our professional (and personal) lives that we know make the difference. The things that are small and seem insignificant individually but add up and become important. In the life of a manager there are many such issues. Sometimes, it is hard to make sense of everything and focus on what is important. The key, in my opinion, is to find two to three behaviors that are important in your specific circumstances and focus solely on making them fully count, every time.

A while ago, in one of my classes, a student team presented their assignment analyzing one of New York’s top Michelin Star Recipient restaurants. It was a very interesting presentation but one thing stuck with me. One of the most important things for an aspiring new top restaurant is the reviews by the top papers and magazines. The restaurant chef and owner, who knew this very well, set up an entire system around this issue. They followed the critiques aliases and patterns, had pictures of the ones they knew on the receptionist table, etc. But above all I remember this. They knew that the most important critiques always ate alone. So every sole diner was treated like a potential critique. Period.

I was thinking of this concept while I was reading Susan Scott’s, Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst:

Bear in mind that while no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Take it one conversation at a time. Make them fierce.

If you believe, like I do, that great managers work through relationships, helping and partnerships, then there is no better focus than conversations. And adopting an attitude according to which every conversation can change people’s lives is a sure proof way to make every little conversation count. This kind of focus helps guide you through all the things you can do and allows you to concentrate on a few actionable items.

What are you key success factors and how do you make the little things count, every time?


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