Nail the Small Stuff

30 Sep 2008

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he mentioned that his wife had been turned down for some dentistry that she needed performed. It turned out he had been paying for family dental coverage but his company had only signed him up for single. Once the mistake was realized, his company corrected the error. He might have to re-fill out some forms, and her surgery will be delayed, but all will be put right.

I mean it was a simple mistake, how could he possibly hold it against them?

You can spend lots of dollars on big gestures, perks, and what-not but it can all be wiped away by a bit of faltering on the basics. People need to know that the ground beneath their feet is solid – That they can trust the people who employee them to take care of certain details. When that trust is shaken they start asking themselves questions about other things.

It reminds me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as being associated with Physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are satisfied. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

Which is a long winded way of saying that if you don’t nail the small stuff your grand plans are all for naught.