When the detail becomes the detour

By June 12, 2014Business insights

The devil is in the detail as the saying goes. Meaning? It’s the detail that makes the difference. The other side of this phrase is the warning if we don’t take care of the detail it will come back to bite us at the most inopportune and unexpected moment causing maximum embarrassment or exposure.

What we don’t often hear is the secondary interpretation of this phrase. Is the warning related to ignoring the detail or in fact being overwhelmed by it? Don’t get me wrong I am of the school of thought that if you are going to do something you should do it well. Dot the I’s and, cross the t’s because being thorough equals being prepared which makes for confidence and better performance. But what if your life is adversely affected with thoughts relating to the details overriding your ability to enjoy your business.

There’s a reason for pen, paper, journals or whatever you use to record information. I believe the quicker you can get it out of your head the better, relieving ourselves from possible mental overload. The point I am making is not that it has the potential to be bad for our mental health but that the detail can become the distraction that takes us away from our goals, not closer to it.

Remember the ‘detail’ by definition is the smaller parts of a greater whole -the smaller elements making up the bigger picture. The key word here is ‘bigger picture.’ The detail only possesses meaning within a bigger context, and without the bigger picture there would be no detail! It’s an obvious but important point to remember. The following example highlights this point. When we are focused on something that requires our close attention, what is happening around you? You won’t know because you are focused on the task at hand. Your business goals are what pull you forward and you need at least one eye on the ‘bigger picture’ to keep you firmly on course.

Details can be the milestones that charter our achievements on the entrepreneurial journey. Just ensure your focus on the detail doesn’t cause you to miss the goal.

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