Fundamental of the Week#25: Pay Attention to the Details

Be rigorous about accuracy and precision. Double-check your work.

This particular Fundamental speaks to something I have persistently found challenging. I always thought of myself as “seeing the BIG picture” and was content to leave the details to others, impatient to move on to the next piece of “big thinking.” It’s hard to say what that has cost me over a lifetime of lost items, poor results, and stupid action due to lack of clarity.

Then a number of years ago, I worked in an arena that had me producing events (and ultimately large events). This work demanded precision and was intolerant of mistakes or breakdowns. Granted, my role was largely managing it with production people doing most of the work. However, unless I was being precise in my directions, paying attention to the details, and double-checking the accuracy of information, I couldn’t manage effectively. Proud of the skill level I attained, this job taught me that while being able to see the whole picture was a valuable skill, it was many times more valuable when I also had an eye on the details and was double checking the information I was seeing or receiving.

Being detail oriented is still not a skill that comes naturally. My focus on details is significantly better as I have worked to ritualize it. Recognizing that the quality of my work, which is a function of paying attention to the details, is my brand, has started to pay bigger and bigger dividends. I’m better educated, I’m better prepared, and I rarely say things that I can’t provide a reliable source for. I find myself taking pride in what I do. It’s a new experience. An interesting phenomenon that I have experienced is that the more attention I pay to the details, the bigger and more accurate big picture I see. Go figure!

Craig Clark
Founder and CEO,
Momentum Consulting, Inc