Details are important for reaching big picture goals
I was reminded today of a great story about the importance of stitching and in relationship to the big picture. During the Second War, factories around the world produced parachutes. Workers stitched fabric together hour after hour, day after day. The jobs were monotonous, downright mind-numbing. In an effort to keep the workers inspired, management at one factory made it a point to regularly tell their workers about how many soldiers lives were saved that week or on a certain day due to having reliable, quality parachutes. By taking a moment to redirect the workers focus to the big picture, the workers understood the importance of their roles. This same factory supposedly produced the highest volume and quality parachutes. This story is great reminder to not let let the daily grind or stitching wear down our ability to see the big picture and that that the quality of our stitching does makes a difference.
So what does stitching have to do with the big and great business development habits?
We often find that our clients, primarily high achievers, visionaries and Up & Comers, are so focussed on the big picture (aka the big win) that the importance of stitching is often lost. Whilst it is essential to know the intended outcome, the big win requires hours of stitching, tedious stitching. After all, isn’t it the stitching, the fine details, what has gotten most of us this far in our careers? Once we have had a taste of success, a few promotions under our belts, it so easy to forget about our stitches.
Before my mother allowed me to use the big sewing machine, she spent hours teaching me to sew by hand, correcting my stitches along the way. It was frustrating. Even worse, she made me start by making dresses for Mrs. Beasley (my biggest doll) versus Barbie and of course, Ken. She said something about mistakes on bigger projects were easier to correct than smaller ones. Not that Mrs. Beasley wasn’t important to me but everyone knew the money was in Barbie and Ken clothes. Was she kidding? There was a bright, shiny machine sitting a few feet away. It even had a foot petal just like my Dad’s car to make it go super fast. I envisioned myself wearing a pair of cool sunglasses running the fabric though the machine as fast as possible in order to produce the most amazing Barbie designer fashions. Why was this hand stitching thing so important? The machine was ultimately going to do the work, right?
In today’s fast paced world of receiving whatever we would like with the click of a button or text, it is easy to lost sight of our stitches, the details that differentiate us.
From a business development perspective, there are a variety of must learn stitches and extra to have in our baskets. For some of our clients, the stitches may be hours of dreaded role play from learning to deal with client objections, developing rapport, executing the “take away” sale, learning to listen from the client’s perspective, and/or allowing us to shadow their meetings. The type of stitching required will depend on the individual’s or team’s strengths and desired big win.
Our stitches are often the difference between a win and a loss – or better yet, a happy, repeat client.
As my mother still reminds me, the best designer clothes and bespoke suits are always finished with hand stitches. The machine (aka the team or associates) may take care of the heavy lifting for us but the high achiever, the true leader, adds the finishing touches by hand. Think about your favourite business leader or most admired person. I suspect that his or her stitches are one of their most admirable traits.
Come away with us to Lemon Bay Consulting Ltd. and don’t worry, Mrs. Beasley, Barbie and Ken are long gone…now we focus on CEOs, lawyers, barristers and such.