Like most Soldiers, my first day in the military is forever etched in my brain. I was scared to death and wondering if I made the right choice. I also knew it was too late. My shaved head and a screaming Drill Sergeant were vivid reminders of that reality.
Our Platoon Drill Sergeant picked us up at the receiving station. Next was a dramatic ride to our barracks in a “cattle truck” used to transport Soldiers. What ensued the next few hours was a combination of scenes from military movies and elaborate stories Veterans share about their first day. Drill Sergeant screamed while we struggled to keep our stuff together. We were a bunch of disorganized misfits and we did pushups and physical exercise till our bodies gave out. We couldn’t get anything right. This went on for hours as he led us towards our new home for the next 2 months.
The chaos finally settled but tensions were high when our other Drill Sergeant makes his grand entrance. We stand at parade rest, (ask a Vet what this means), as he yells instructions and shows us how to make our beds. Once he showed us how to pull the sheets tight, fold and tuck the corners, fold our blanket at the base, then center the pillow perfectly at the top he yells: “If I can’t bounce a coin on your bed I’m throwing all your $%&# off the balcony and you’ll all be up all night showing me you’re not as dumb as you look!” We’re frozen in complete silence when he yells; “Go! You have 2 minutes before I pull a coin out of my pocket!”
The next few hours sucked as countless mattresses and beds were flipped and thrown off the 3rd floor of our barracks. The first evening madness stops around midnight after countless failed attempts at making our beds. I’m certain nobody actually passed the coin test but no doubt we all got the message. When 4:30 am came around the next day we all knew the first thing we had to do – make our beds.
Why is that the first thing Soldiers learn in the military? What in the world does that have to do with being a Soldier? Admiral McRaven said it best in his commencement speech to graduating UT Seniors in 2014:
“The reason it’s the first thing we teach in the military is because
we want Soldiers to know that the little things matter.”
You see, in the military if a Soldier doesn’t do the little things, other Soldiers die. It’s an exaggerated example but wouldn’t you agree that doing the little things builds trust? Our lives are a sum of little things with a few big things added in over time.
I tell this story because we know our customers are intentionally or subconsciously using this as a primary criteria when selecting a partner to help them. We encourage it. We know they want a Guide that not only cares about the little things but does them repeatedly.
At PG, the equivalent of “making our bed” is listening and doing exactly what we say we’re going to do. We know It isn’t about us – it’s about them and the transformation they’re pursuing.