On stadium rock, seatbelts and M&M’s

Here are some thoughts for a Sunday morning… they involve the following two stories:

First off, during the last trip to the US, I was talking to someone who was telling me about a safety policy of one of the large US tree care companies. This policy states that if an employee is in a vehicle that is moving and do not have their seatbelt on, they are given notice on the spot, without prior warning.

The second story regards rock band Van Halen’s tour rider, which apparently used to specify that a large bowl of M&M’s should be provided backstage – with absolutely no brown ones included. Not a single one. Should there be any brown ones included despite this specification, Van Halen threatened to cancel the concert – which was apparently the case one time for a planned gig in Chicago.

The sanctions in both instances seem quite harsh, you say? The infringement in both stories indeed seems very minor in relation to the sanction dished out for it.

Yet the same logic applies in both instances, which is that if you are not able to pay attention to small details and get them right, what hope do you have when it comes to larger, more complex issues? If a concert organizer is unable to sort out the brown M&M’s, the likelihood is high that there will be further issues along the road. Or if an employee cannot wrap their head round a belt up policy he or she is likely also to ignore other safety regulations, with potentially more serious outcome.

Applying this to our world of arboriculture these examples illustrate the importance of getting small things right. After all, these are the foundation that we build all else on and if that foundation is not sound, neither is the whole superstructure we erect above and on it.

Well, that is a Alpine Butterfly the way we tie it… 

Statements like this drive me nuts!

Either it is an Alpine Butterfly (or some other knot) – or it is not. Knots are a clearly defined beast and therefore clearly replicable. Yes, seen alone this may not seem like a massive issue, because after all, the knot held, but may well be symptomatic of a careless and haphazard approach of the details that all else builds on.

Whether discussing seatbelts, bowls of M&M’s or tying knots, let us invest that extra little bit of effort to get it right.

P.S. The first year we got our own office at the tree care days in Augsburg, I was so excited… I requested a bowl of M&M’s to be left there for us – which Bettina and Irina, bless their cotton socks indeed organised (they are good a humoring me) – but NO brown ones to be included!

Guess what?

I arrived there to find the bowl there – but full of brown M&M’s. Sighhhh, oh well. Did I pack up and leave on the spot?

Nope. We ate the M&M’s and got on with it…

I guess I am not Eddie Van Halen. Just as well.