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Old 11-19-2002, 11:13 PM
Vinnie Virginslayer Vinnie Virginslayer is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 937
"Take care of the little things . . and the big things will take care of themselves."

What exactly does this mean? I oncw had a very detail oriented boss who repeated this like a mantra; I get the pay attention to details part, but what does the "big things will take care of themselves " half of this logical equation mean?

I also heard an NFL football player use this cliche as well. Can anyone give a specific example of "taking care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves"?????????
"If you want a friend, buy a dog. I'm not taking any chances- I've got two."- Former Scott Paper and Sunbeam CEO "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap
Old 11-19-2002, 11:53 PM
kniz kniz is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pratts, Mississippi
Posts: 6,246
If that football player and his teammates:
  • Learns the plays
  • practices hard
  • watch the films
  • have the right attitude
  • and perhaps a few other little things
  • then perform well in the game.
They will win the game.
Old 11-20-2002, 12:11 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
Mod Rocker
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 40,467
In retail, if you watch the payroll hours (staffing to the level that has the lowest overhead while maintaining some customer service), control the inventory (so that you are not carrying stock that will not sell), keep receiving procedures efficient (so that you don't have delivered stock sitting uselessly in the back room), monitor and harrass people passing bad checks (so that you do not lose money to people who effectively stole merchandise), and keep pilferage and shoplifting to a minimum (for obvious reasons),
regardless of the economy, you should be able to meet your expected profit margin because you will have controlled your costs. (So that while you cannot control how many people enter the shop or make purchases--the BIG picture--you do control the details that make up the other side of the ledger.)

(The flip side of this aphorism, of course, is "Penny wise and Pound foolish," in which the stingy retailer who watches nothing but costs misses the opportunity to make sales by failing to provide superior service or failing to advertise because it is expensive.)
Old 11-20-2002, 03:31 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,056
It's not unlike "Think global, act local" - take care of your own little bubble and (as long as everybody else does the same), the gestalt effect will just happen - it's not that the 'big things' will actually happen miraculously, it's that the big things are composed of many small things.

"Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves"

On the contrary:
"Don't sweat the small stuff"
Old 11-20-2002, 09:56 AM
Typo Negative Typo Negative is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: 7th Level of Hell, Ca
Posts: 16,409
It's used in 12 step programs also.

I take it to mean that the 'big things' are stuff we have no control of anyway. It doesn't keep us from worrying about them, though.

Like the Serenity prayer.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the thing I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the diference."

The little things are what I can change, the big things are what I cannot change. And occasionally, I work on the wrong things and run into a brick wall.

I like kniz's example. The indivual player cannot, by himself, win the game. But he can take care of the little things, which would put his team in a better position to win. But the outcome may be out of his hands.


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