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No Lizards in My Shoes

Perry Ludy Posted by Perry Ludy.

Perry J. Ludy is a senior executive with more than twenty-five years of experience with leading corporations and entrepreneurial companies. His consulting firm, LUDYCO, Inc. specializes in helping domestic and international organizations develop creative approaches to building profits and managing innovation by implementing his profit building process.

No Lizards in My Shoes

While on vacation in Aruba, the villa that my wife and I were staying in was always immaculate. Dishes were washed, there was always an abundance of clean towels, and our personal laundry was always washed, dried, and folded. However we did notice one unusual thing. Everyday upon returning to the villa, our shoes, though previously lined up perfectly on the floor, were always arranged neatly on a hanging shoe rack.

After the third day, I had to ask Jane, our housekeeper, why did the resort ask her to arrange our shoes on the shoe rack? She replied, “There is no instruction or training that calls for me to rack the shoes. This is something I do because I know that if the villa is perfect, you will return. If everyone comes back, I can keep my job.”

Jane then proceeded to tell me the following story: “Years ago, a female customer was dressing for a very important dinner. Carefully she pulled a pair of beautiful shoes out of the closet. As she held the shoes in her hand, a good-sized lizard quickly ran up her arm and over her shoulder. Until that point, this lady had been a regular customer at the hotel. After the lizard, she never returned. So, I rack my customers’ shoes every day since. There will never be lizards in your shoes! I don’t want you to have a memory like that when you think about Tierra del Sol!”

Well, it doesn’t take much to see what would happen if each of us took a similar approach within our organizations, of doing one small thing to ensure that our customers return or have a pleasant memory of a product or a service we made available. These small but MAD steps would take our organizations into a period of outstanding customer service never before seen, and there would never be a lizard in our shoes.


  • Pay attention to the little details. They can make a big difference. It doesn’t matter how expensive your shoes are, if there’s a pebble in your shoe you’re going to forget all about your shiny shoes!

Perry Ludy has over 25 years’ experience in senior-level executive positions with leading corporations and entrepreneurial companies, including PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. He is author of the book Profit Building: Cutting Costs Without Cutting People (Berrett-Koehler, 2000).