How the big picture aligns with the small details and when the last hours of work are highly rewarded.
According to Wikipedia; The idiom "the devil is in the detail" refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected and derives from the earlier phrase "God is in the detail" expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important.
Align opposing perspectives
Today, we are expected to see the big picture, understanding the global impact and create disruptive solutions for future needs. There is also more pressure for less people to do more, meaning that we need to optimize, digitalize and standardize.
At the same time, and perhaps just because of this pressure, the details in every project, process and task is more crucial to achieve top results.
Securing the details
Coming from a background within the global IT distribution, I am well aware that the details are more important in some business than others, but I am convinced that in the era of digitalization is becomes more and more important in all industries. And that the people within the organization are key for success.
The lack of securing the details is costing businesses and society huge amount of money and time. This is valid for all areas, we see how great projects with high-level fantastic ideas and initiatives turn into painful experiences.
As top-of-mind I am thinking of:
How small details in public tenders has great impact on the results.
How a tunnel in Sweden is delayed by 18 years with a cost ten times higher than expected, created by many, many “small” missed details.
How a IT distributor doing exactly the same thing as another distributor, increases twice as fast as the competition with better margins, mainly due to efficiency in details.
Learning the hard way
We have all experienced projects and performances that we know that the success of failure is the results of small details performed well or poor. This has led to the development of a system driven, digital way of interacting. Check lists, clear structure, toll gates and transparent process has decreased the risks for details, but it has also to do with the people.
The organization and its people
People who knows when to put that extra hours in completing the tasks, when to scratch on the surface in order to find weak links. People who could make the tough choices in prioritizing the important matters and not leaving things hanging. Without any empirical evidence, my believe is that the last 10% of completing the tasks all the way, is adding more value to the end result than the first 50%.
So, what kind of people are we talking about? I have seen these skills in many different kinds of people, in all situations, standing out in comparison to his/her colleagues just because of their ability to never miss the details.
A former boss of mine told me; Martin, we are looking for people who has the abilities like a dolphin, being able to see things from the above, but also available to dive down and see things from the bottom. Very true and valuable tips, so thanks Mark Keough, I still remember this.