|The devil is in the detail|
I've never really worked out why my attention to detail had frustrated him even though he knew full well that it had delivered results. Perhaps, he was just grumpy about something else altogether.
Whatever the reason, it remains often true that the devil is in the detail.
Strategy is often painted as a subject which concerns big picture, visionary thinking, not detail. However, without sufficient attention to detail, strategies usually flounder. The trick with successful strategies is two-fold:
- knowing when to focus on the big picture and vision, and when to focus on the details - striking the right balance between the two,
and, perhaps more importantly
- knowing which details to pay attention to and which to ignore.
Of course, models and tools in combination with experience produce the best outcomes. My Manufacturing and Operations lecturer on my MBA programme likened the available analysis tools and models to a mechanics toolbox: an experienced mechanics more quickly concludes when a faulty parts needs tapping rather than tightening and that a hammer will do that better than a spanner; an inexperienced mechanic will take that much longer to work out what the underlying problem is and what tool to use to solve it.
And yet, many people, like then boss seem intent on avoiding the details. Perhaps they lack the right kind of experience, or perhaps they don't know about or how to use the right tools. However, I suspect that it is the people who never obsess of the details that allow organisations to drift from one state of mediocrity to another.