I love the story of the band Van Halen and how, in their contracts, they require a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones picked out. On the surface, this bizarre request makes them look like prima donnas. However, turns out it is a very shrewd business move as it alerts them to the potential for serious problems at a concert venue. You see, Van Halen buries that request in the safety section of their contracts. If they arrive at a location and see a bowl of M&Ms containing the brown ones, they know the concert promoter did not read their contract very carefully, especially when it comes to the safety requirements. Whenever that happens, they take the time to go over every specification to make sure each one has been fulfilled.
I occasionally need to remind myself that this is an important principle to apply to both business and personal transactions. Whenever I’m working with others and I see small but careless mistakes that others overlook or let slide, it makes me realize I need to dig deeper to see what other more serious problems I might be missing.
(Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1334760)