Is It in the Details?

Detail-oriented. That's what almost everyone says they are, in a job interview. The devil is in the details. Everyone is concerned about overlooking important details. Now, Michael Levine is arguing that details don't get the attention they deserve.

Using the theory that if broken windows in a building go unfixed, the other ones will soon break — and the neighborhood will deteriorate — Levine asserts that in order to succeed, business owners must monitor the tiny details or risk failure.

(maybe he read this old Businesspundit post. So what does this mean? Everyone seems to think they are detail oriented yet here is a guy saying the lack of detail orientation is killing businesses. What it means is that people think they are detail oriented when they are control oriented.

Face it. We feel more comfortable when we are in control of things. So we say we are detail oriented meaning that there are certain small things we like to control. Bad sign. The hard thing about managing details is focusing on the right details. I've worked with managers that are more concerned about the format of a report than they are the content of it. Wrong details.

The details Mr. Levine is suggesting you focus on are the ones that your customers will notice. Small details like that can have a major impact on customer satisfaction. Is the big picture important? Yes, but not to the customer. Focus on the details, but do it in the right way.