I am proud to be one of the contributing authors whose articles are included in Rob Salisbury’s new e-book, ‘Motivating your Mind….Inspiring your Spirit’. Rob, Director of Strategic Resources International (Singapore and Sydney) and Monika Newman, 2014 e-book Project Manager harnessed the power of diverse input and created a harmonious whole. Congratulations Rob and Monika!
With over 90 contributors and 100 stories in total, you’ll find something of value in the inspiring articles in this international e-book. You can download a complimentary copy here http://bit.ly/SRI2014_e-book by clicking on the link and then double clicking on the document and saving to your computer. You’ll see ‘A grain of rice!’ on page 25. And you are welcome to share with your associates and clients, too.
For ease of reference ‘A grain of rice’ is copied below:
Picture the scene. You are taking an important client to your favourite restaurant for dinner. Your personal assistant phoned and booked. And you know you’ll be shown to your table-of-choice. This is exciting! You can’t wait!
As you drive into the familiar well-lit parking area, conversation with Maggie is good. The ‘perfect gentleman’, you open the car door for her and lead her towards the welcoming entrance to the restaurant. Familiar faces come forward and greet you warmly by name.
The atmosphere is perfect, the temperature exactly right. The background aroma is appealing, not too dominant. The lighting is just right with candles providing a soft glow. You are proud that you have chosen this restaurant for an important relationship-building exercise. You glance around, people deeply engaged in conversation are smiling and the atmosphere is professional and yet congenial.
The beautiful white starched table-cloths and napkins form a background to the shining silverware and sparkling glasses. You order wine and your guest is invited to study the food menu. You know exactly what you are going to eat. You always order the same because it is so good. Your mind is churning and you want to say: ‘Hurry up Maggie, I’m hungry!’ But you politely wait for the maître-d to describe the specials and you give her time to study the menu.
You chat and at the appropriate time, the food arrives. You politely wait for her to pick up her cutlery and to start eating. You eagerly await her approval of the food. But….. as she picks up her fork to start eating, you notice that there is a single grain of rice stuck to her fork! At the moment you notice that single grain of rice, she does, too. She looks at in horror and doesn’t quite know what to do. She has been given a dirty fork, one that has been in some-one else’s mouth before being half-washed and put back on the table. Where else has that grain of rice been? No-one wants to eat recycled rice!
Do you think your guest enjoyed the rest of the meal? Were you proud of your choice of restaurant? What did that one grain of rice do for your ego? All the good times you’d had at the restaurant most probably paled into insignificance. ‘How dare they not wash their forks properly’ – was the thought that went through your mind. You possibly felt cheated, betrayed.
All it takes is a single negative event to destroy a reputation. Attention to detail is important if we intend being the person of choice, the team of choice or the organisation of choice. Positive relationships help to provide the platform for an ‘absence of malice’. In other words, we may give the restaurateur the ‘benefit of the doubt’ when things do go wrong.
The grain of rice is a wonderful metaphor for all aspects of the way we conduct ourselves and our businesses. Everything else can be 100% perfect. Yet one grain of rice in the wrong place can create a negative impression that can undo years of hard work. My question to you is this: What can you do to make sure that your forks are properly cleaned? Every grain of rice needs to be in the right place. Pay attention to detail!
Brenda Eckstein is a speaker, trainer and executive coach who is based in South Africa but belongs to the New South Wales Chapter of NSAA. She has published two books, ‘Networking Tactics’ and ‘ABCs of Effective Networking’.