How to Be Detailed Oriented
Would you consider yourself a big picture thinker or someone who focuses on the processes? When an expansive project lands in your lap, do focus on the end goal or do you instinctively start thinking of a To-Do list? In business and life, we will encounter people who are the visionaries of the world and those who are the planners. Both are good and both are absolutely necessary to the success of a company.
If you find yourself falling in the big picture camp, you will find you need to be a planner at times. But how can you become more detailed oriented if you are naturally more of a concept thinker? And why should you bother to work to change your thinking?
Having detail-oriented skills will allow you to accomplish more of your big concept ideas and to realize them to their full potential. Consider a luxury hotel experience versus a mid-range hotel. What are some of the differences? First, you may find that the lobby is more ornate. You will notice the room has a nicer view. These are both very obvious differences you would expect to get for paying a premium price. However, there are smaller details at work that create the overall feeling and experience of your stay. The paper used in the stationary might be just a little thicker, your sheets could be just slightly higher thread count, the towels softer. Maybe instead of a standard alarm clock you have one that connects to a mobile phone to play your music. There may be a note personally welcoming you to your room, the staff will know you by name, bottled water is left by your bed –these are the little things that make a big difference. Would you notice these things if they weren’t there? Maybe, maybe not, but all of these touches add to your luxury experience.
And they were not implemented without attention to detail.
How do you become more detail oriented? Here are a few ways to start improving your skill.
First, think of someone you know who is detailed oriented. When looking at your current project, try to think of what they would do. Would they start by outlining a timeline? Would they contact key people who will be involved in the project? Then, talk to that person and see what input they have. This way you will better learn their strategy and be able to replicate it on future projects.
Second, if you have a project you know will require several repetitive steps, writing out those steps will ensure you do not miss anything. Even if you are not someone who generally makes lists, for the first few times, make yourself check off steps as you go.
Third, slow down to check in with yourself and the project. How has the project been going? Are there pieces that still need to be examined again? What would make this project just a little bit better? Remember, someone had to take the time to personalize that note in your hotel room. What little touch can you add to your project? Are you moving too fast?
Fourth, take a step back. If you are getting so wrapped up in the details of your project you feel like you are missing the forest for the trees, step back and reevaluate what the goals and priorities are. Not every detail can or needs to be addressed. Determine which are going to have the biggest impact, and focus on getting those right.
Finally, after your project is complete, review and evaluate. How did it go? Were there details that need to be altered next time? Was this project received differently by your audience than previous projects with less focus on details?
Focusing on details may seem like a lot of work, however, it pays off significantly. Creating that ideal customer experience is what will inspire them to buy, keep them coming back and even get them talking with their friends and family about your company.
Do you agree about the importance of detail? What experience have you had where one small change made a big difference? Do you think you are more detailed-oriented or concept-focused? I’d love to hear in the comments!