“To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.”
– Giorgio Armani
The people who deliver superior results are not simply doing more of the same things everyone else does…
- …they are actually doing better things.
- …they are doing all things lovingly.
- …they are going the extra mile.
- …they pay attention to details.
- …they sweat the small stuff.
- …they make everything count.
The moral? Very small differences, consistently practiced, produce superior results.
Unfortunately, business schools and most jobs don’t teach you how important it is to sweat the small stuff.
In fact, we’re mostly told the opposite–don’t be a micro manager, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, don’t miss the forest for the trees.
The implied wisdom is that abstract and conceptual thinking always prevails over narrow determination and single-mindedness. And yet, when we look at the greatest inventions, greatest companies, and greatest teams of our time, their success always comes down to tireless concern over every last detail.
Here’s why the small stuff is so important.
“Most people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs
In business, it is the attention to these little things — the details — that create and build long – term customer loyalty.
From the training of employees and the quality of products and services, to the type of stationery used in correspondence and the music customers hear when placed on hold, a successful company knows that every detail counts.
The thread count of a sheet, the font style for a product’s label, the lighting of a room, the welcoming smile, the floral display in the lobby, or the polish and shine of a doorknob — all of these are “ small ” details that leave big impressions. In the successful organization, no element is too minor to escape close attention.
If you believe that you are too busy to focus on details, or that attending to the minutia of your business or life would make you less effective in delivering your services, then I encourage you to reexamine your thinking.
Further, I can tell you the following with confidence: No matter what business or personal activities in which you are engaged, you will be continuously challenged by larger problems that could have been prevented if you had paid closer attention to the details at the beginning.
The particulars of your work affect you and your company’s ability to compete and prosper. A careless or cavalier approach to these details is the kiss of death to success, as well as the short cut to failure.
Those committed to excellence know that the real threat to success isn’t the Armageddon of some huge and horrible slip – up; it’s the much more insidious danger of being nibbled to death by the smallest of mistakes or oversights.
No lapse of judgment, taste, or quality can be shrugged off by a true professional. Successful people know that everything counts. They understand that it’s not that the devil is in the details, but that every small particle contains a seed that can potentially determine the difference between success and failure.
Therefore, if the benefits of hard work are to be maximized, attention must be paid to detail.
Excellence in any endeavor is a production in which every little detail tells a story about one’s intention, commitment, and character.
Pay attention to the small stuff, sweat the details, and make sure everything counts. That is the secret to quality and excellence, and expecting nothing but excellence is the first step toward creating something exceptional.
WHAT TO DO NOW? Share your two-cents worth on this post and how it can be applied to your career.