For New Competence, a book-in-development, I am describing how formerly functional competencies have been replaced by new competencies. If you have any feedback and are willing to allow me to include your response in the book (with attribution), please leave a comment below the post at Net Cotton Content.


What do bankers do, anyway? Park National Bank President David Trautman says, "The color of our money is the same as anyone else's. What makes us different is how we hand it over."

Of course, he's making sure his bank does more to distinguish itself than simply handling cash carefully. They do that, of course. But there's much more to his bank, such as Park's legendary customer service in a community banking atmosphere. 

But all I'm thinking about today is the smaller point: how they hand it over. 

Today, I bought some bread.
Not from a banker. From a baker, silly.

I paid a $20 bill for $4 worth of bread. Change: a $1, a $5, and a $10 bill. The clerk handed them to me all a jumble. The $1 was between the $5 and the $10, so they weren't in order by denomination. The $10 was facing the other way and partly folded. The $5 was 180┬░ upside down.

"So what?" you might ask me. (You wouldn't be the first to ask me that.) 

Here's what.
It wasn't a big deal, but as I rearranged the bills to put them in my wallet, I thought: how you do the small things says something about how you do the big things.

The bread is fresh, but it isn't great. And I'm left wondering if the bakers are as informal about recipes, ingredients and baking as they are about handling cash.

At Park National, the teller always — always — hands me the "bread" with the currency pressed flat, ordered, and facing the same way.

Small things lead to big things.
Over the decades, the bakery has not grown much.

Park National has doubled every year for 125 years.

That's not accurate, of course. But David Trautman is an occasional reader of Net Cotton Content. He'll correct me and I'll come back and make it right. (Oh, dear. Here I am doing a small thing poorly. What does this say about how I do the big things?)   

Old competence: Focus on the big things and the small things will take care of themselves.

New competence: Distinguish yourself by doing small things with precision, because every big thing is a series of small things.