Every morning on my drive to work I take a side road that cuts behind a strip mall. Looking to the left I get a view of the back of a line of stores and restaurants that I’m sure look quite nice out front (in fact I know they do). The back view of these places…not so much.
Isn’t it interesting how much effort can be put into making the storefront look great and yet the back door gets neglected? Judging by many places I see, not many people think that what’s out back is important. There are usually mops, garbage, grease traps and goodness knows what else. It’s where employees can go to escape the madness for a quick smoke or some fresh air (is it really fresh?) and it’s where everything but the customer goes in and out. I know this much: it’s not a place I’d like to hang out.
Not many people care about this view, but your stewardship of both the showroom and the alley make statements about you.
How you handle the small stuff is a pretty good indicator of how you handle the big stuff.
I once heard a story of a corporate CEO interviewing a man who would be a high level executive in the company. This man had a great reputation and all the right credentials. This lunch was supposed to be a mere formality. He held the interview over lunch in the building’s cafeteria, the kind where you pick all your food up and pay at a register. The CEO noticed that his interviewee was about to pay and pushed a thirty-cent pad of butter under his napkin to avoid paying for it. As much as it didn’t make sense that this guy would cut a little corner like that, he didn’t give him the job. What you do with thirty cents says a lot about you.
The way we handle what nobody sees might just say more about us than the way we “present” the parts that everyone is supposed to be impressed by. When I am looking for a shop to get my car repaired, I don’t just care about your credentials or time doing business, I care how clean you keep your shop. When I go to a restaurant the first thing I experience isn’t the food (which might be great) but the look, feel, and smell when I walk through the front door. And yes, even the cleanliness of your car makes a statement about your life.
It’s kind of like getting up in the morning. Sure, the snooze is only 6 minutes, but that small delay in my day will cost me big. If the first decision I’m making is to put myself behind schedule, I fighting against what I need to win the day.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, just remember that it matters.