A minor detail that one person – or department – does poorly can screw up the work that the rest of the team does. Imagine going to a hotel. Everything is perfect. Dozens of people work in concert to provide clean rooms, a well lit interior and a great experience.
Except one person. A housekeeper leaves a bag of stinky trash in your room. Or one waiter is rude. The work, then, that the rest of the team did is ruined by this. It doesn’t matter, any more, that the bed was turned down or that there was a mint on the pillow. One person can ruin the work of dozens of other people. Of a whole institution.
5 minutes eating cheese sticks can undermine the results of an otherwise good day.
One press of the snooze button.
It’s so easy to multiply by zero.
Most of my mistakes are in this category. Undoing great stuff because something was a day late.
Preventing these mistakes would (and would have) make a bigger difference than most innovations.