That’s why we mow the grass

December 23, 2011 by

details matter

 

I grew up on a large cattle ranch. We raised Registered Brangus. The best cattle were sold for 10′s of thousands of dollars to ranchers looking to improve the genetics of their herds. The ranch was a mix of iconic cattle wrangling and sophisticated lab work, which melded together to produce the best bulls and cows possible.

I worked on the ranch during the summers. Two days a week all I did was mow. I mowed acres and acres of grass. I mowed miles and miles of road edges. I’d finish those two days covered in grass clippings with a lingering hum in my ears.

One day I asked my dad why we spent so much time mowing grass:

“When people come to the ranch, they see how attentive we are to the grass. They assume that if we take that good a care of the grass, we must take even better care of the cattle we’re selling them. That’s why we mow the grass”

His point was that the details matter. The little things people observe are signals or indicators of how well you handle everything going on behind the scenes. It’s why clean restrooms matter at restaurants. It’s why clean uniforms and floors matter at an auto shop. It’s why clean shelves matter at grocery stores.

Ask a few people to be candid with you about how your organization handles the little things. Where are you sending the wrong message, communicating you do not care or are oblivious? Act on the feedback. Help your team understand why the details matter. Tell them why you mow the grass.

Posted in: Featured, Leadership