Conquering the Devil in the Details

The “devil is in the details” resounds with foreboding at every turn. You must do your homework and dig into “the details” before leaping into a new project. You must follow up on “the details” to avoid dropping the ball. The quality of your product may depend entirely on “the details” that drive precise execution and precise tolerances. No one can argue with this. And yet, the world is awash in detail. With seemingly more detail every day. People often spend more time on unnecessary detail than on important detail. On unnecessary decisions. Unimportant decisions. Fixing problems that don’t need fixing. Tracking paperwork and information of no consequence. Choosing between virtually identical alternatives. Trying to control the uncontrollable. Knowing the unknowable. Preventing the unpreventable. So what’s to do? How do you tend to the right details and ignore the rest? The answer lies in good judgment. And good judgment depends on:

  • Clear priorities
  • Accurate information, and
  • Appropriate planning, decision-making, implementation, and time management skills, including the oft-neglected habit of anticipating and preventing problems

Your employees make decisions all day long about what to do, how well to do it, whether to seek help, and what to set aside when there is too much to do. Are you doing your part to ensure they exercise good judgment on behalf of the organization?

  • Are your employees clear about their priorities?
  • Do they have accurate information to support their decisions?
  • Do they have the strong planning, decision- making, implementation, and time management skills?
  • Do you expect and encourage them to anticipate and prevent problems?
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