The devil is in the details

By Younas Chaudhary

In today’s world ruled by technology, curiosity and attention to detail matters. When I was a teenager, my father would send me to milk buffaloes on our village farm. I would ride a bike for around 2 hours through dirt roads filled with potholes to milk the buffaloes.

Younas Chaudhary

My curiosity would lead me to accomplish other things while I was there in the village. That meant picking fresh vegetables, delivering a handwritten notes from my uncles to my father, getting fresh sugar cane juice, and checking on horses that lived on our farm. Before returning home, I would have discovered several other tasks in addition to just milking the buffaloes.

Over the years, this good habit helped me as I paid more attention to detail in almost everything I did. That has paid good dividends throughout my life. For instance, if I go to inspect an oil well in the oilfield, it’s my normal routine to inspect all other nearby oil wells, tank batteries, conditions of surface locations, roads, and other equipment at the same time. Thereafter, I will write a detailed report with a list of issues along with pictures and share it with the related team.

Paying attention to detail and taking a comprehensive view of tasks saves businesses time and money. However, in today’s world, I see people perform just the basics and never try to go deeper. Often, they rely on technology as their final answer without asking questions.

One of the best examples of a business that  pays great attention to detail is The Walt Disney Company. According to the Harvard Business Review, many business professionals around the world say that attention to detail often ranks low on their company’s list of priorities, is easily overlooked, or, worst of all, is altogether absent. However, at Disney, attention to detail is something of an art. Their training book, Be Our Guest, describes Walt Disney’s passion for detail and this is quite evident at every turn in Disney parks and properties.

Imagine if you were sent to someone’s home to observe a pet with newly born pups. The normal reaction would be to visit the  home, observe the pups and report back on their condition. However, if I was to send to do the same job, I would return with details regarding the distance I traveled, the traffic, give description of the pet’s home and its occupants, observe the number of pets and the characteristics of each one, watch how pets are treated, and look for anything cautionary that would impact the pet’s life and overall wellbeing. This is what I call adding value to a task through observation and attention to detail.

Every prudent business can save money through attention to detail and increase operational efficiency as well as their bottom line. Through quick actions using sharp data analytical skills, individuals can focus on exactly the right information they need, find out new ways to solve problems, and enjoy doing their work with their team.

Productivity increases value and employees have a sense of belonging when they practice attention to detail as part of a team. Here are a few tips:

  1. Have a calm collective and patient mind.
  2. Prioritize and think out of a box what needs to be done first.
  3. Establish norms and procedures; try standardizing.
  4. Do things timely and consistently.
  5. Be agile.



The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.

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