The Power of Small, by THALER, LINDA KAPLANKOVAL, ROBIN
- ISBN: 9780385526555 | 0385526555
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 4/21/2009
LINDA KAPLAN THALER is the CEO and chief creative officer and ROBIN KOVAL is president of the Kaplan Thaler Group. Together, Kaplan Thaler and Koval have been featured on Today, The Martha Stewart Show, and Nightline, as well as in USA TODAY, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek, among other publications. Kaplan Thaler and Koval each live in New York.
The Power of Small
We can do no great things--only small things with great love.
Larry was a computer programmer in the sales division of a major San Francisco apparel company. He was the guy who dealt with the data, fixed people's computer problems, and spent long hours creating new ways to slice and dice the numbers. In short, Larry was a self--proclaimed computer nerd.
He would watch the men and women of the sales department and admire their outgoing natures, their easy conversational skills, the way they looked so sophisticated and stylish. Larry often thought to himself, "I can do that. I want to do that." But he had no idea how to go about changing his career path, and he wasn't sure he had the confidence to try. Should he quit his job and go to business school? Should he work nights getting sales experience at a smaller company? Did he need a career coach? He didn't know where to begin. The idea of changing the direction of his life seemed daunting.
Then one day, he strolled into Patricia Fripp's men's hair salon. Patricia was a pioneer in her field, one of the first to coax men out of utilitarian barbershops and into hip salons. Patricia approached her job with a unique zeal and passion. She strove to give every client a haircut that would say something special about him. Often she changed only the slightest detail--the angle of the part or the length of the sideburns--but she was a master. She sat Larry down in her chair and went to work.
Larry emerged a half hour later with a new look. He showed up at work and all the women cooed, "Larry! You look great." At home that night his wife said, "Hon--ey, you look so handsome." Even the young woman at the corner deli where Larry bought his coffee each morning noticed, saying "Mr. L., there's something different about you."
Larry's new haircut and the way it changed his self--perception started a chain reaction within him. It dawned on him that taking even small steps could have a real impact on his life. He bought some new clothes. He started going to the gym more often. He made an effort to smile more. Once he began to think of himself in a different light, others saw him differently as well. When he became friendly with some of the sales managers at work, he confided his desire to switch careers. Soon the head of the sales department offered him a junior position.
Larry not only rose to the challenge, he became the best performer the department ever had. They cut the size of his territory five times and he still outsold everyone else. Before long he was the chief sales executive of the company.
It's obvious that Larry had a natural talent for the business, and he put a lot of hard work into understanding every detail about the merchandise and his customers. His computer wizardry with a spreadsheet didn't hurt, either. But if you ask Larry what changed his life, he'll smile and say that truth be told, he owes his success to one great haircut.
That is the surprising power of our small actions, our subtle shifts in thinking, and our dogged attention to the everyday details in life: They can change everything--our careers, relationships, well--being, and, ultimately, how we impact the world around us.
For Larry, that small transformation became a catalyst for change. Before that haircut, he lacked confidence and direction. He yearned for something different in his life, but didn't know how to create it. He was stuck waiting for something BIG to come along.
The haircut didn't just change how Larry looked; it changed his outlook. Instead of brushing off those early compliments as mere conversational niceties, he took them to heart, and built on them. It was a small beginning, but a genuine one, and for so many of us, that's the most difficult part: taking those first small steps that ultimately lead to a huge difference in our lives.
Small, seemingly insignificant
Excerpted from The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference by Robin Koval, Linda Kaplan Thaler, Linda Kaplan Thaler
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