January 19; Getting the Simple Details Right Every Day
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


19 January

Give us today our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11

Getting the Simple Details Right Every Day

A Small Step Today

The Army has a popular saying: “When you are up to your hips in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.”

The one-star general was considered a dolt. He was inspecting my unit in the field and every time he came to a group of soldiers he would ask them two silly questions, “Are you getting your mail?” and “How’s the chow?”

We were doing some difficult training over a number of weeks with Big Things to do and urgent tasks to Get Done Right Now. And the general was asking about food and those distracting perfumed letters from girlfriends. Goodness. I was a Second Lieutenant at the time so I knew better than that Old Goat the right way to do everything (just like a teenager).

It took me decades to learn that the commander was right.

He did not let the tyranny of the immediate urgent push out the ultimately important. I had to learn that getting the simple things right every day would lead to the success of our long-range training goal. A hungry, letter-less soldier was not going to get much done.

Those are hungry alligators. And every day the manager confronts them, standing in the way of the Big Things. Meeting the simple day-to-day objectives in spite of those distractions is the challenge. We must depend on getting the basics right.

Matthew 6:11 teaches us to pray, Give us today our daily bread.

The most common question I get from senior managers concerns execution — getting things done. CEOs and senior management teams around the globe have spent millions of man-hours crafting inspiring visions of what the goal and destination of the organization should look like in five, 10 or 200 years. Yet the vision depends on getting things done today.

What is the one thing – ‘one small step’ — we can accomplish today to nourish our team to enable, dare I say – to “empower” them to move today, this week, then this quarter?

The talented manager takes care of the needs of his staff, who can then deal with alligators. And still get the swamp drained.



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