"A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching."
--- Swami Sivananda
One of the funny things about being a business leader is how easy it is to forget that people are watching you. We are always being watched. Our customers watch us to see how we are going to resolve an issue. Our competitors watch to see the next move we are going to make and how it will impact their business. Our employees are definitely watching us to see how we act on a daily basis. As business owners, we are in the spotlight much more than we know.
That might be a good thing though, assuming we are making the right moves at the right time. It's good when we behave in a way that influences others positively. As an example, I was over at a friend's home many years ago and witnessed him bend over and pick up a piece of lint from his carpeted floor, (this was back when it was cool to have carpet!). That one act of him paying attention to such a small detail changed my behavior when I came to visit. The next time I came over, I made sure to check the soles of my shoes so I wouldn't bring in any debris to his carpet. I also made sure to not make a mess if I ate at his table, and if I did, I would clean it up immediately.
"Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant."
--- Colin Powell
But what does this have to do with our businesses? The same psychology has an impact at work as well. If your team members see you tidy up the shop as you walk through it, they tend to do the same. If your salespeople see you reviewing an estimate three times, they will typically pick up the same habit. It's like when we use to play follow the leader or Simon Says, people want someone to lead the way.
When we pay attention to the details, we can be sure that most of the team will do the same. Another example is the time I met a well-distinguished-looking gentleman at a trade show. He looked like the stereotypical Russian drug dealer you see in the movies: perfectly groomed silver hair, very expensive suit, shiny watch, you get the picture. Everyone around him treated him with respect because he had that commanding presence. He looked like he could have been worth a billion dollars, and even if he wasn't the details of his presentation gave that impression, so everyone treated him in-kind.
"Luxury lives in the finer details. It's a cloth napkin at a dinner table. It's a mint on your pillow before bed."
--- Iggy Azalea
The point is that we all too often get wrapped up in the big picture that we let the details slip past us. But if we take the time to focus on even a few details, our team will follow. If we see that some of the installation guys are struggling to make a deadline and jump in to help, Joseph A. Banks shirt and all, people notice.
"An exceptional company is the one that gets all the little details right. And the people out on the front line, they know when things are not going right, and they know when things need to be improved. And if you listen to them, you can soon improve all those niggly things which turns an average company into an exceptional company."
--- Richard Branson
Make it a point to focus on the details for the rest of August. Don't broadcast what you are doing though, you'll be noticed. Watch how others react over time. They may not take their shoes off before entering the shop, but they will begin to focus on the details.
"If you don't understand the details of your business you are going to fail."
--- Jeff Bezos
Inkjet Opportunity in Smart Textiles
By World Textile Information Network (WTiN)
What's Smart About Textiles? The term 'smart textiles' currently lacks a common definition. Functional textiles, particularly those that respond to thermal or other environmental stimuli, are often considered to be smart textiles. Such textiles actually fall into the 'passive textiles' category, and the smart nature of these fabrics is often displayed by color or form change.
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At a music store in Tennessee:
"Out to lunch. Bach at 12:30. Offenbach sooner"
Road sign seen in Utah:
"Soft Shoulder, Blind Curve, Steep Grade, Big Trucks...Good luck!!"
In a bar in Chicago (sent to us by Al Cerkan, of Digital Imaging Resources, Inc., Chicago):
"Warning: Consumption of Alcohol by Pregnant Women May Lead to Birth Defects" handwritten beneath that: "Just Look Around You"
We need those funny signs you have seen in your travels, come on, we know they are out there. Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.