When most of us were taking university management courses, we were consistently told “don’t sweat the small stuff” – “pay attention to the big stuff and the small stuff will take care of itself.”  The exact opposite turns out to be true.

Unless the manager pays attention to the “small stuff” going on in his company, on a daily basis, he will be forever constrained to untangle situations that have gotten embroiled due to inattention in the early stages where all could have been sorted with ease and efficiency.  I talk about this phenomenon in detail in all of my organizational change management books and provide exemplification of situations that have brought a company down.  So, I’ll take a minute now with this post and provide an “upside” example of paying attention to the small stuff.  The Original Pancake House has recently begun serving their coffee in new coffee mugs that are both attractive and compelling/comforting to drink coffee from.  The coffee mugs, of course, have a TOPH logo on their sides and have been carefully and tastefully crafted.  Needless to say, the mugs are sold in the store.  And they have even designed a gift box with 2 coffee mugs, a pound of coffee, and a vial of their pancake syrup inside.  Your reaction might be, so what – lots of places have their own coffee mugs.  But – here’s the thing.  The Original Pancake House serves undeniably good food, but the atmosphere is inauspicious.  However, when one sits in the unassuming Pancake House atmosphere with one of the new coffee cups in hand the whole world lights up.  Or, at least, the one inside the  Pancake House place of business  So, you see how this works?  Plan ahead, think of something really great that will bring joy to peoples’ lives, and institute it – even though it might be a small thing.  Try it – you will see immediately that small things really are important to company well-being and success!

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