Don’t be so picky. She’s such a picky eater. He’s sooo picky. ‘Picky, picky, picky’ is not usually seen as a compliment. As someone identified as a picky eater even before I became a vegetarian and found I shouldn’t eat garlic, trust me – I know it’s not a compliment. I also know pickiness is annoying. I used to work for a VP who preferred a certain kind of paperclip – square – that no one else liked, and we had to stop and think and find the stash of square paperclips when sending something to his office.
It seems to me there is another side to being picky, isn’t there? That version of being picky can be what leads us toward excellence. We should be picky about our programs; they should be high quality and address real needs and opportunities. Pickiness in programming means having all the tables and chairs in place on time, not 30 minutes late. It means making sure all the equipment is working, the food is ordered, the handouts are not only ready but useful, easy to read and are correct.
We should be picky about the quality of the services we provide. Excellence in service means the answers we give have to be right every time. We have to be friendly and willing to assist students every time. We have to be willing to go the extra mile and figure out the unasked question, find our way to the real question and the best answer – talk about picky.
Being picky – otherwise known as paying attention to detail – is actually an important behavior on the way to excellence.
Remember that picky VP I mentioned? He was picky about things large and small. We used to roll our eyes good-naturedly as we humored his preference for square paperclips, but believe me, we know he had an eagle eye, so every document he was going to see was triple-checked. We never wanted him to catch us in an error. Picky – but he taught us we were able to be excellent and that translated to other documents and activities.
The next time you think someone is being picky, stop and ask yourself – is the “picky” person really helping you to achieve excellence? Because here’s the hard reality – true excellence has to address the very biggest issues and the very smallest details. We can’t be excellent part of the time in some of the things we do. To be truly excellent, we have to work at it all of the time in everything we do, and that’s being picky.