Monday, April 13, 2009

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

Before today's post...

Happy Birthday Peggy!!!!!!!

Now it's Heather with our regularly scheduled program:

Sometimes in life and especially in our creative endeavors it is easy to be distracted by all the details of a project and to lose track of what was meant to be the primary focus. I once had a supervisor who was known to say (quite often I might add) that we should remember to keep the main thing the main thing. Although at the time this was quite unnerving there is truth in this adage and I was reminded of this during a recent business trip.

You see, I was staying at a fairly nice hotel who had just adopted this "Sleep System" as their major selling point in their rooms and boy did they have all the details of this sleep system in place. When you walked in the room you were greeted with a satchel of "sleep system" product placed on the bed. The satchel included:
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Lavendar Spray for your bed linens
  • A brief description of the other things in the room that were a part of the "sleep system".
That description detailed the black out curtains that hung from the windows, the guaranteed wake up call or your room cost refunded, the sound proofing that had occurred from room to room to assure you wouldn't have to deal with periphery noise and the sleep sounds CD that was placed in your cd player. As a programmer at heart I was impressed with all the details they had covered and was interested in seeing if this program made a difference in my hotel experience.

That day as I went about my conference business I was reminded of the "sleep system" by signs in the restrooms, scrolling screens in the conference center and that evening when I turned on the tv I was greeted with an image of a couple sound asleep in their bed as they clearly benefited from the "sleep system" in place at this particular hotel.

I was primed and ready to take part and see what all the fuss was about so I decided to participate in full. I called the front desk for my guaranteed wake up call, I put in the sleep sound CD, pulled the black out curtains closed and sprayed my sheets with lavendar linen spray and I got in bed ready for the best night of sleep I had ever gotten (at least since Lily was born). What greeted me however was one of the most uncomfortable beds I had ever gotten into. The bed linens weren't plush and comfortable but more scratchy and stiff and the bed itself was hard as a rock. I slept okay that night, after all I wasn't being woken up by a crying baby, but I couldn't help but think that this hotel had loaded all this money into this "sleep system" and had proceeded to miss the boat on the most essential item for a good night's rest...the bed itself.

All this to say that when expressing your creativity or embarking in a new life endeavor it is easy to get caught up in all the fun that the details bring but most times it is essential to be sure that what you are delivering is as great as HOW you are delivering it.

How about you? Tell us a story of when all the details were in place but the final product fell through...or better yet a story of when both details and product came together for a great experience. Our goal today? NO LURKERS!

Signing off until tomorrow...


Chaotic said...

I have no story, altho the bed one was great... but my fave childhood story (and still today) is Jonathon Livingston Seagull.... and my geranium wound be couch covers... wiht all the rescued critters, everything is covered... and putting on new ones makes me clean up the entire (open) space :-)

Katie K said...

I will have to think more about a story, but I do have a story about a great hotel bed!!!

When my friends and I went to Disney World last month, the hotel we stayed in had sleep number beds. I have to say that the one night we stayed there was one of the best nights of sleep I have ever gotten. Now, if only that hotel could join up with Heather's hotel in Florida- it would be one GREAT hotel experience.

Chaotic- I thought about getting couch covers earlier this year, but never did. Where do you get yours?

Peggy said...

Thanks {blush} I thought I was opening up my own blog!

Meanwhile... check out my blog to find out my newest fav. song, it goes with my theme today!

As for a specific situation, I'm over it if there was one... but working in a print shop, and a signage company... there's always that build up of creation, and then something goes wrong...proof reader missed something, printing press breaks down in the middle of a run (screws up a deadline majorly) or a sales person gets the wrong dimensions, then blames you and needs the product yesterday!!

Feeling a bit sassy... I need a walk!

Cheryl said...

Happy Birthday Peggy!

At the real estate company I used to work for the advertising team and owner came up with a SUPER campaign that would utilize some of the more recognizable agents in the company... It was going to be great until EVERYONE wanted their face on the campaign, too... it fell apart. I moved before it came to fruition. They did get some ads done but it lost the magic for me after it crashed in a sea of whining.

I always hate when a movie gets really hyped up and then I expect too much or vice versa... the critics hate but then I strangley like it.

Heather said...

I'll chime in with a detail/main thing success story.

Family Weekend Bellarmine University 2005, 2006, 2007

All major successes with details, details, details which brought the themes to life but keeping the "main thing" giving students the opportunity to be with their families.

Check out Cassie P's facebook for great pictures of 2007 where we "Saddled Up to Family Weekend".

I'm sure Katie K has pictures of 2005 and 2006 where we:
"Tuned in to Family Weekend" and "Cruised in to Family Weekend".

Tera said...

Happy birthday, Peggy!

I don't have a good story like that, Heather...but I'll keep thinking.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend!

Claudia said...

Good morning everyone and a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Peggy!

Inquiring minds want to know, Peggy... what are you doing to celebrate?

Hmmmm..... let's see a story about details taking precedent over quality of the actual item or experience?????

The first thing that comes to mind are conference sessions at professional conferences. Presenters spend a lot of time developing a program title that fits the theme of the conference, powerpoint presentations, flashy handouts, and who knows what else. In the end... what we really want when we attend a program session is curreint information we did not already know or an idea that can be adapted to our work place.

I love appreciate details A LOT, but first and foremost the content has to be good.

Kat said...

I am really bad at getting overly caught up in details. Sometimes it works out, but most of the time it doesn't. I will plan to clean a room and instead of getting the main things done first, I will get stuck organizing one shelf or cleaning an air vent. Now I have to be extra aware of what I am doing and ask myself if it is helping me reach my goal. If it is, then I continue, but if it is something that does't meet my main purpose then I drop it right then and there while telling myself that I can finish it later once my main goal is reached.

Katie O. said...

Heather - loved the sleep system story, such a great anecdote. A few years back Steve and I hosted a Derby party for our Iowa friends. I went CRAZY with the details - writing every single Derby winner in history on notecards and posting them on the walls of our home for decoration. I even framed horse quotes, bought a dozen roses for the hat winner, handmade a poster with the Derby contenders, went on and on and on. By party time the house looked great and I was a mess - exhausted, stressed, and probably the world's worst hostess. It was a hodge-podge group of friends and I needed to help people mix and mingle, but I think I spent most of the time feeling like I had run the Derby myself. Being a good hostess and enjoying my own party is much more immportant than arranging mini-horses on my coffee table at 2 a.m.