Attention to detail is fast becoming an underrated attribute in many organisations. Of course, there are many leaders who are not detail oriented and that’s fine. However, if you are one of these leaders, then you’d better have somebody at your disposal that does care about attention to detail.
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are areas that are frequently raised as “nit picking” and “not important” to worry about. I disagree with this. Attention to detail matters.
As a leader or aspiring leader, you need to care about the details to some degree. Why? Because it’s your personal brand at stake. Do you want to be seen as a leader who isn’t worried about presentation or getting things done right?
Attention to detail matters, because if you don’t seem like you care, why should I?
If it doesn’t look like you’ve reviewed your document, proposal or presentation before it went out into the world, what are the possible messages that you are sending?
- You were too disorganised to get the work done on time, so it was rushed
- You think that people will look past the obvious issues with the work and will instead spend time really digesting the core contents
- You think people won’t notice the small errors that litter the contents of your work
- You actually have limited capability to produce a high quality piece of work.
Attention to detail matters because one error can ruin your perceived credibility
Attention to detail is not all about spelling or grammar. It simply relates to getting the small things right.
I’ve seen business proposals submitted where the title and surname of the approver were both wrong. I’ve also seen business proposals submitted where the proposed pricing had small addition errors, resulting in an incorrect total cost.
Many people may look past these issues, but the fact is, it just makes your work look sloppy. If your audience sees omissions or errors in obvious places, then they are likely to have less confidence in your work as a whole.
Attention to detail is the easy part, so get it right
I saw a post on LinkedIn recently where somebody was lamenting that executives nitpick on minor errors in documents rather than looking to understand the contents in depth. As a busy executive, do you really want to waste time with a document that looks like it was prepared by somebody who has taken no care in its preparation?
Getting the detail right with calculations, spelling and grammar is the easy part.
The hard work is getting the solution right, doing your research, crafting the right story or selling the dream to the reader.
Attention to detail matters. Those small errors that are scattered throughout your proposal may just be enough to get your hard work thrown in the bin.
We know that some people just aren’t great with detail. That’s fine. But if you’re a leader who isn’t great with the detail, then enlist the help of somebody who is. Otherwise you’ll just make yourself and your team look like you don’t care or can’t do good work.
Originally published at www.thoughtfulleader.com on September 27, 2016.