I assume that you have heard the expression the devil is in the details. To have a more positive attitude I would like to say that the œthe detail contains the divine. Either way the statements tell us that detail is very important.
Some may say that it is the big picture that is important and that we should not be too concerned about the details. I do agree that the big picture is important. It is important to know where you are heading and what strategy you should employ to get there. However, when you have established that platform, you have to concentrate on the details.
Why are the details so important ? It is because everything large is built on smaller components! Our body consists of billions of cells, large organizations consist of thousands of employees, a computer contains thousands of components welded onto different boards, an interesting magazine contains many letters making words formed into interesting articles, and so on.
The smallest error in detail can ruin the entirety. If you do not believe me, let me give you some examples.
- One small spot of mold in your 1 kg jar of tomato pure can ruin the whole dinner, as you have to find some other ingredients for your cooking.
- To continue on the food-path: one small bug in your lunch box can ruin your appetite.
- The surgeon knows that one small cut in the wrong place can jeopardize the whole operation and the well-being of the patient.
- Â The wrong tone of voice from the customer service representative talking to the customer can end a long and profitable relationship.
- Just a little bit too much salt in the food can make it inedible.
- Finding yourself in the conference room with an important client and the need to draw and explain an important detail on the whiteboard with a missing whiteboard marker – you may end up in not impartingÂ the important information to your client. That missing whiteboard marker may cost you millions of dollars/euros.
- Change one letter in one word in a sentence and that sentence totally changes meaning.
- Miss one little figure in the payment, maybe an insignificant zero, and you will miss the important payment. Maybe a deal is lost or at best you may have to pay Â interest on the missing amount.
- One screwed up cell in your body may cause you to end up with a fatal illness. That is a one out of 100.000 billion cells!
- Enter one wrong figure out of your 15-digit credit card number, and you will not be able to go through with the transaction.
- One small fuse may shut down the electricity in the factory and incurÂ large costs for late delivery and wasted production.
- One small spot of blood at the scene of crime may tell the Criminal InvestigatorsÂ who the perpetrator is.
Many people do not pay attention to small details. They think that they do not have the time or the willpower to concentrate upon small issues. However, if you look at successful businesses and at successful people you will find that they all focus on the small details.
Steve Jobs, at Apple, sent back the ready-to-launch iPhone because he did not really like the sharp corners on the phone. They redesigned it with a smoother shape and then launched it.
World Champion skier, Gunde Svan trained himself and the team to be faster at receiving and handing bottles of water along the track. That made him a couple of seconds faster on the long runs. Seconds that he knew were important to achieving victory.
Mercedes put in a huge effort and a large amount of money to develop a new windscreen wiper, instead of continuing to use the old one. That is one small component of a car containing tens of thousands of components. They knew that the new one would give their customers increased value and would ultimately be profitable.
There are many stories that can be told about business and people who have succeeded due to their understanding of the need to focus on the minutiae. Make sure that you take care of the small details in your business and in your life. Your business and your life may depend upon them.
Please share and comment!
To you and your organizations excellence
PS. If you want to have more free material regarding Business Excellence, please sign up for the newsletter on the right hand side.