A fellow stopped at a rural gas station to fill his tank and buy a soft drink. After pumping gas, he leaned against his car to drink his soda and watch a couple of men working along the roadside. One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep, walk about 25 feet, and begin digging again. The other man came along behind and filled the hole, carefully smoothing it out and leaving a slight ridge around the circumference. “Excuse me,” the fellow said. “What are you doing?” “We’re working,” replied the second man. “But one of you is digging a hole and the other is filling it in. What are you accomplishing?” “You don’t understand, mister,” said the first man as he leaned on his shovel and wiped his brow. “Normally there’s three of us: me, Joe, and Mike here. I dig the hole, Joe sticks in the tree, and Mike puts the dirt back.” “Yea,” said Mike. “Just because Joe is sick, doesn’t mean we can’t work, does it?” Alertness recognizes how our work fits into the process and contributes to the overall goal. We waste a lot of quality effort when we become too wrapped up in the details of a particular job and miss the larger picture.