#201 (201 Exclamations!) – “The Determiner”

An experienced leader suggested this topic, and it’s one I call a “sleeper.” I don’t recall seeing books or articles on the subject. It’s not sexy or controversial. As a matter of fact it’s often overlooked. And yet, it is a powerful “determiner.” It can make the difference between success or failure. It can elevate an activity, strategy, or enterprise from average to excellent. Conversely, the lack of it can compromise or even torpedo an otherwise worthy effort. What is it? Attention to detail.

Food for Thought ~

Many professions are fundamentally about attention to detail – accounting and finance being perhaps the most obvious in business. Highly skilled executive assistants exhibit this quality. Manufacturing processes, medical procedures, and graphic design are just a few additional examples of disciplines that rely on successful attention to detail. Actually, almost anything done to a high level of excellence involves attention to detail. Leadership activities often deal with intangible issues, making attention to detail all the more challenging. Leaders who have learned to slow down enough to notice details, and take the time necessary to discuss and resolve important details, have a far better batting average. My caveat: attention to detail is not the same thing as perfectionism. This is an important distinction. How to make that distinction? Evaluate the importance of the detail under consideration and then do a cost : benefit analysis of the time and effort it would take to resolve that detail.

Question for the day ~

Are you good at attention to detail? If not, is there someone in a leadership role in your organization who can make sure that base is covered?

A Footnote ~

You are probably familiar with the well-known book and movie called “101 Dalmatians.” My subtitle for this post is a takeoff on that title. I started writing this weekly essay in January of 2010, and this is post # 201. Thus, purely for whimsey, the subtitle for today’s missive: “201 Exclamations!”