Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Monitoring The Nail Supply

...a kingdom was lost, all for the want of a horseshoe nail. For Want Of A Nail
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost,
For want of a horse, a rider was lost,
For want of a rider, a message was lost,
For want of a message, a battle was lost,
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost,
All for the want of a horseshoe nail.



Advice about workplace motivation often suggests purposely assigning a challenging task as a way to  help an employee become more enthusiastic.  It will probably be more useful to the employee and the organization to help him or her see that the regular work they were hired to do is worth doing and worth doing well.

When employees only feel energized when they are engaged in new, unique or special projects, there is a tendency to feel let-down when those projects are completed. Routine tasks then seem even less significant than before. Make it as worthwhile and satisfying for employees to do routine tasks well, as it is for them to accept and fulfill a great challenge.

While you are at it, remember that observing and acknowledging dependable, daily task accomplishment is part of your routine work–and just as valuable as a project that tests your abilities in a dramatic way.

You may never be responsible for leading the battle that saves the kingdom, or riding with the message that saves the battle, or even shoeing the horse that carries the rider. Nevertheless, do not underestimate the value of being the one who monitors the supply of nails.

July 15th, 2010 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Supervision and Management | 6 comments


  1. Hello, I found your site while looking for some training on assessment centers. This post caught my eye and I wanted you to know that, with your permission, I’m going to use it in my oral resume presentation. I’m going to use it to describe why I believe captains have to pay attention to details. Thank you for your work in law enforcement.

    Lieutenant G.D.

    Comment by Darden | July 19, 2010

  2. How are you liking the hot weather in Missouri? It’s not much better here but not so humid. This was a good article, as usual.

    Comment by Mike | July 19, 2010

  3. This was very inspirational to me today.

    One of the great promises of our Lord is that he who is least can be great through faith. I realize that isn’t your message here, but it was a thought that occurred to me as I was reading. Take care in your travels. You’re in our prayers and thoughts. Don. R.

    Comment by Don R. | July 19, 2010

  4. I’ve never heard the entire “poem” about the nail or even understood it before. That’s the reason I enjoy people like you who take the time to check things out. Keep up the good work! I enjoyed reading the 4th of July post too. Very good! H.

    Comment by Harold V. | July 23, 2010

  5. This meant a lot to me. I don’t have a big job but it’s important to a lot of people. Sometimes I wonder why bother, but I know I do good work and that’s how I want to be remembered. Jim

    Comment by Jim | August 12, 2010

  6. Tina says: Thanks to all of you for your comments. I’ve sent each of you an email. We all can be valuable and we should let others who are doing good work feel valuable as well!

    Comment by TLR | August 12, 2010

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