Whether in my role as a business owner, manager or consultant my eyes and ears are always open. Yours should be too. Take into account what was once said by Sherlock Holmes “You see, but you do not observe”.
So train yourself. Always be completely aware of what is around you. Do the slow sweep, get clarity of the overall picture, observe as many details as you can, on a regular basis. Then practice until you are sure you can see everything, even the littlest things for its all the little things gone awry that, when added up, can create an overall atmosphere of a certain looseness, or inattentiveness within your structure. You dedicated yourself to providing a product or service that you've made your statement on. Now own it. Be aware of every aspect of how it is presented.
At the airport recently I noticed one of our resident celebrity chefs has opened (or perhaps endorsed) a sit-down eatery which appears to be her usual well-crafted comfort food and inviting atmosphere, based on the name and decor. First and foremost in these instances it always behooves me to determine if it’s simply the marketing department doing the better job. I do love it when that isn’t the case.
I enter near the glass case of take-out items. Right off the bat I see it. The dry congealed flatbread from within the too-cold fridge bears a title: Forged Mushrooms. Now, clearly the food itself is just for demonstration purposes (one can only hope) for it has become a very dull goodness-knows-when made item as are the others in this display case. But the tag. There it is. Ironically, the word incorrectly used has the opposite connotation of the correct one. Looking further, at the plastic containers of what you do take with you, there is a baby kale and chicken salad with the most shrivelled up, no-colour-left kale in it, that is completely inedible. And it is right up front. The others behind it are fine. Regardless of how its dated for consumption something like this should never be front and centre, it should be taken away. Period.
The lovely girl at the counter does ask to help me, I point out that I am sure they are “Foraged” Mushrooms not Forged. As she looks away to her co-worker, and immediately with a laugh names someone whose fault that clearly was, I wander away. If you've read my book, you'll know what THAT means.
What happens when you see this? It likely has no bearing on the average consumer going in for a quick bite while waiting for their flight, no matter whatsoever. But I am not speaking to them I am speaking to you. The Shopkeeper. Speaking to you in respect to your place, your staff, your product, your enterprise and none of that is acceptable. Yes, it all adds up but that is not just my concern here. Are you on your floor? Are you managing your inventory, are you watching how the staff is presenting themselves and your goods or services? This terribly unappetizing product, the labels, all screams to me that this “Chef” is nowhere near here.
Now let’s look at your businesses providing a service. Are your written words or spoken lines becoming ‘congealed’ and in contrast to their ‘meaning’ or are they current and fresh? Are your staff fully understanding your statement, your guidelines on how you want to project yourself? Always be on the lookout for the scene stealers. It’s the little things, but they add up.
Be the A-player, be a leader in your field or industry by watching for these things that happen, by showing up and looking inside the machine. This is how you outwit your competition in as many ways as you can. That doesn't mean pointing out someone else's mistakes, it means checking on yourself. Be your own best customer. It’s all in the eyes and ears. You don't need to have a big name to become one. You just have to do it right. Always.
Oh, and whatever you do, expect them, these little things. Just know they are yours to find and fix. Especially when your name, even more especially when it’s used to attract people, is so prominently displayed.