An organisation’s little things are the big things

During a podcast, author Tim Ferris and Josh Waitzkin, who was the basis for the book Searching for Bobby Fischer, were discussing the necessity of bringing discipline and alignment around the things that you believe.

It’s been an emerging theme these past few articles, from last week’s entreaty to not forget the brutal facts of your current reality while also having faith that you will prevail; to clearly articulating and embodying a standard of performance; and finding opportunities to deliver joy in response to something the customer needs.

From the podcast:

“Little things are the big things… how you do anything is how you do everything. Most people think they can just turn it on in the big moments but if you don’t cultivate turning it on in the little moments, there’s hundreds of times more little moments than big moments, then there’s no chance in the big ones.”

Unfortunately when organisations take this idea into building a brand it quickly transforms into a kind of corporate identity and marketing communications nanny state – and nothing could be further from what I’m talking about.

Sure, being mostly consistent with how you use logos and language etcetera is important. It’s the doorway through which people recognise and initially connect with the organisation. But what then?

‘What then’ are the little things that I want people to be more focused on. Because it is those ‘what then’ things that can quickly drive a wedge into that fledgling relationship.

To get ‘what then’ right for your organisation, you’ve got to start with what you care about and believe. Is quality your thing? Great, how do you demonstrate that, not just in a single product or service, but across the organisation?

Do you think about the attributes of quality that embody how you feel about it and find ways to show that in those hundreds of little things?

Do you take the time when bringing new people into the organisation so they know what they need to know?

Does your offices reflect the idea of quality in the environment you present to the team and people who visit?

Do you ask the team to consider quality when thinking about how they dress at work?

Do you have a double check process for everyday communications so the grammar and spelling is correct?

And on and on.

The little things are the big things.

Because if the office is the mess, if the people who work there don’t know what’s important and why, if internal and external communications are mired in errors, if people come to work in old sweatshirts and ripped jeans, then how likely do you think it is that the next big product launch will embody the quality you say you care about?

Brands are the result of the promises you keep. Those promises are kept through the many little things done in alignment with what you care about and what you believe.

So, take the same effort you currently dedicate to making sure the logo is in the top left corner of the page and spend it on ‘what then’ things. Your brand will be stronger and the people who work with and for the organisation will be happier. Because the little things are the big things – all of them.

See you next week.

Michel Hogan is an Independent Brand Thinker and Adviser dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. You can find Michel at or you can follow her on Twitter @michelhogan.


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