- Darn! I’m ten minutes behind schedule. That’s not so long so I don’t have to call and let them know.
- This project is coming in just a little bit over budget. They won’t mind.
- Oops! There’s a typo on the report. They know me for so long; I don’t have to correct it.
- We’re going to be just a little late in finishing the project but they won’t even notice.
- Hmm, I wonder if I gave the employees the information about the summer hours.
Have you ever heard statements like these or perhaps even made them yourself?
Ten minutes late, a few dollars over budget, a day or two past the deadline, employee misinformation – these are small things, right? Nothing too big or overwhelming, so no big deal…or is it?
In a veritable sea of sameness, where most of us have significant competition from compelling and worthy competitors, can we really afford to not sweat the details? If you knew that being more detail-oriented could mean the difference between success and failure, how would you react?
Consider these suggestions:
Review everything that is visible to prospects and clients. This includes searching for any typos on your website, the cleanliness of your office as well as your personal appearance, how your phones are answered, and anything else that can undermine the good impression – POSITIVE IMAGE – you are trying to make.
Budgets and timelines are created for a reason. Clients want to know what is happening with their project and how much they are going to pay for your work. It’s simple: if you made an error and underestimated in either category you must alert your client immediately. Be prepared to have to absorb some of the unforeseen expenses and/or work lengthier hours to get the job done. There’s even a chance your client will understand the situation and will be appreciative of the forewarning.
Your employees are your internal customers. Do not overlook the importance of being detail-oriented in your intra-office communications. Errors and omissions can come back to haunt you and can sabotage employee productivity and good will.
Take five minutes at the end of each day – whenever that might be! – and do a brief review of the most important matters you handled during the day. Make certain that nothing was overlooked or forgotten, and if you uncover a potential “oops matter” attend to it immediately or in a timely fashion.
Honestly care. Many executives say that they are too “big-picture” to care much about the details. Really? Consider Steve Jobs, perhaps one of the most detail-driven executives that we’ve seen in our time and one who certainly saw the “big picture.”
Finally, don’t come up with excuses because that doesn’t accomplish anything. If you know that your attention to detail is often lacking, delegate tasks that don’t have to be handled directly by you and have someone else oversee the details.
Being ‘good enough’ is not good enough. You always want to be the best and to project the best.
The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.
– Charles R. Swindoll
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