My Dad was a career U.S. Army officer. He experienced combat in World War II and in
the Korean War. Every now and then I could get him to talk about his combat experiences, but usually not directly. I remember when I was a kid, I asked him, “What’s a foxhole”? He told me that it was anything that a soldier could dig to get some temporary cover and a bit of comfort while lying down.
For some reason I remember asking him how long he was in a foxhole, and he told me: “Sometimes only 10 minutes.” I asked if he was going to be there only ten minutes why he needed to get comfortable. His answer has influenced me ever since then. He said, “When you are in a foxhole, everything is important, from how comfortable your hip is to how well you can see forward; no detail is too small to care about.”
When I am preparing for a meeting that I am leading, I feel like that’s my foxhole time. My dad’s words, “no detail is too small to care about” are there for me. Name tents for all participants and guests, pens, paper, agenda, water, all the details. I can spend the last 10 minutes of meeting preparation time to make sure the details are taken care of. This has always served me well.
Thank you, Dad.