There’s a popular phrase that business folks love to toss around and post on their social media walls: “How you do anything is how you do everything.” But how many really pause to reflect on the phrase and absorb it? If you take the time, we’re betting you will see the substance beyond the clickbait.

Here at DTS, “How you do anything is how you do everything” has become something of an unofficial slogan. Our President, Duncan Shaw, has been known to pull this one out of his back pocket during key moments in meetings or in conversation at language industry events. And truly, there’s no other single phrase that encapsulates so many of the core values according to which we operate. So, let’s take a moment to look more carefully at what it means.

The Business Benefits of the “How You Do Anything…” Mindset

How you do anything is how you do everything. The origin of this adage is uncertain. Simon Sinek attributes it to Zen Buddhism in his book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. There’s even a “self-discovery workbook” with the title, How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything.

One thing’s for sure: whoever came up with the idea was clearly a master of business strategy and understood how much mindset matters. Whether you’re a small business owner or the manager of a life sciences department within a global corporation, this phrase reminds us that at any moment, someone may be forming a judgment about your credibility, skills, and abilities.

Is this fair? Maybe not. But if we keep this business idea fresh in our minds, we will develop a mindset that will take us far in business.

“How you do anything is how you do everything” is about having a powerhouse mindset. If your attitude about the product or service you’re delivering is “good enough” or “no one will notice my mistake anyway,” then you signal to others, even subconsciously, that you don’t really respect your own work. This is clearly not the message you want to send to clients, partners, superiors, or colleagues.    

As a business idea, the phrase says a lot:

  • If you send unprofessional emails with a lot of typos, you’re probably careless in other ways.
  • If you regularly show up late to meetings, you likely miss deadlines on deliverables too.
  • If you face one serious challenge in your life with courage, you will probably face any challenge with courage.

The main point to keep in mind is that even the seemingly small stuff counts in business. Consider a few of the benefits here:

  • When you give focused attention to every email you send, you save time later because you don’t need to make corrections and resend or clarify your ideas for others.
  • When you show up on time and meet your deadlines, you gain your clients’ trust and reinforce your reputation for reliability with every interaction.
  • When you overcome adversity, you learn valuable skills (what some might call soft skills) that will serve you in other parts of life and business.

Of course, there are limits. After all, we haven’t met anyone in business who didn’t want to stay in business. This means balancing the powerhouse mindset with other concerns. If you spend two hours composing a simple email, you’ve let “How you do anything is how you do everything” turn into “paralysis by analysis.” No bueno.

Likewise, we want to avoid making overly critical judgments of others based on how they do absolutely anything. How an employee deals with a personal matter like a painful divorce, say, may not be representative of his overall business mindset. Yes, It is important to stand your ground in business (don’t ignore red flags by any means), but it’s also important to be flexible and compassionate. Doing this well requires a delicate balance.

How DTS Embodies the “How You Do Anything…” Mindset

Because we aren’t in the habit of simply paying lip service to what really matters at DTS Language Services, Inc., we practice what we preach. This means, at a minimum, paying attention to whether our business goals align with this powerhouse mindset. So, in the spirit of transparency, let’s take a look at how we’re doing.

Goal #1: To deliver content once

The same rule that applies to carpentry, medicine, or any other business where quality assurance matters, applies to translation work too: “Measure twice. Cut once.” We don’t want to send our clients a document three times because we didn’t get it right the first time (or the second time).

What does this look like?

  • We want to understand our deadlines and get clear about what success looks like from the very beginning, since intake is in many ways the most important stage in the translation process.
  • We want to know your translation philosophy and to communicate our approach. There’s a difference between translating medical device patents and translating the Harry Potter series. We respect this difference.  
  • We schedule a kickoff meeting including the translator, the client, and the head internal translation reviewer whether in the U.S. or overseas to ensure everyone is on the same page before translation work begins.
  • We check for previous reference translations and anticipate other upfront measures that could save costs or prevent headaches down the road.

Goal #2: To provide top-notch service from beginning to end

Basically, here at DTS we want our clients to look forward to interacting with us, rather than dreading a phone call or meeting. We aren’t the largest language service provider out there, but we do what the big guys can’t do and that starts with how we treat our clients.

What does this look like?

  • We take pride in our 99% on-time delivery rate.
  • We treat every document and project with equal priority, no matter what the circumstances.
  • We strive to return every phone call and email promptly.
  • We pay attention to details, even those that seem small.
  • We aim to be engaged and active listeners during meetings.

Goal #3: To treat colleagues, clients, and partners with respect

The bottomline is when you respect yourself and your own work, that goes a long way toward proving to others that you respect them as well.

What does this look like?

  • We treat your time as valuable—as valuable as our own.
  • We constantly review and evaluate our processes to ensure everyone has what they need to do their jobs well.
  • We are proactive on a micro level asking you, for example, whether you plan to do an in-house translation review.
  • We provide services above and beyond translation. We can even help manage your translation review working with your international partners.

How we do anything really is how we do everything at DTS Language Services, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Talk to us about your medical document translation needs and we believe you will discover the difference for yourself.