Sometimes the little things matter
The Large Hadron Collider is where the Higgs Boson was discovered. No, nobody actually saw it nor was there a solid signal on a measurement. Instead, it was only a blip of other particles that had very strong probability that they were created from the Higgs Boson. This little blip brought the Nobel Prize. In the business world, little blips can be important. We define our corporate culture by what small things we praise and which we fire over.
In management, we are told over and over again to not worry about the little things. While that is mostly true, there are times when the little things matter. The old poem about a horse losing a shoe for want of a nail is just such a case.
In Chaos Theory, small blips in events can cause major changes down the line. We can't know all the possibilities nor can we manage all the outcomes. We choose what small things are important and which to ignore.
What constitutes a small thing is different at different corporations, at different corporate levels, and in different cultures. Take any small thing and some are fired for it, others reprimanded, others have it ignored, while others are praised for it.
Because what small things matter changes over time and culture, we need to keep aware of what things matter to our customers and general public. For example, having an affair at the office was common at one time and in one culture. Today, it is grounds for the CEO to lose his job. Likewise, using certain ethnic slurs used to be common yet that is what caused Papa John's Pizza CEO to be fired recently.
Corporate culture is important. We define our corporate culture daily by the small things that are accepted, punished, praised, or ignored.
One reason to focus on the small things is that these are the things that people around us notice. Friction between people happens around the small things. People observe our values by which small things we notice and act on. The stories that make up the corporate culture are built on small things.
Small things matter because we are working together. Looking back at the solitary "Mountain Man", he could get away with all sorts of eccentric behavior - because he didn't live or work with anyone else (which meant not having a wife). We are interconnected today. We must live and work with others and often our work affects many in the broader community. One price of progress is living and working with others.
Other examples of small things mattering include computer program design and phone design. One reason that Apple has been able to command high prices is that they started with good design and little things fit together. The user experience is consistent. Once a person knows the experience, new programs that fit that experience are easy to use.
Fraud control and virus protection also depend on the little things. In fraud control, even which device being used can indicate whether a transaction is fraudulent or not.