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5 Tips to Manage Attention to Detail

New Jersey is a state that does not allow drivers to pump gas. There are only a few states that require gas stations to pump gas for the customer. It takes some getting used to but after a while it is nice to have someone pump your gas.

Every now and then the attendant will have the time to wash the windows. Window washing is one task that every action is on display. The driver’s face is right in the middle of the scene. One particular day an attendant was washing my window. I noticed that he was very deliberate. Every motion was exact and without waste of movement. He wiped every crevice and appeared to assert just the right amount of pressure on the stick to exact a perfectly clear view. I don’t usually take such notice but this guy was really good. I remember thinking that if there was an All American window washer this guy was it.

Right at the last minute he was called away. And as he walked away I noticed a tiny area not wiped right in the middle of my vision. Wow, all that effort and such a small area not wiped. But it ruined the whole job. That one little streak caused my judgment of him to go from an A+ to a D. Sadly, it would have taken no more effort to wipe the streak and perform a perfect job.

It made me think of my work. How do I insure that my team is not like my window washer? I know that our customers will notice every detail.

Developing a team that cares about attention to detail begins with leadership. The leader has to create a culture that thrives in the pride of great work. Many of the errors that ruin great work can be erased with the right leadership and culture. My window washing experience happened 10 years ago and from then on I have implemented a process to reduce errors. Here are some rules to live by for creating a culture of Attention to Detail:

  • Plan. Give yourself enough time to complete the work. I emphasis the importance of hitting deadlines and completing cycles on time. But the number one reason for errors is due to rushing the job. Allocating enough time is critical.

  • Walk Away. Once the task is complete walk away. Come back after some time and review at the work. Many times an error is immediately noticeable with fresh eyes.

  • Have Someone Else Review Your Work. If your team is reviewing others work collaboratively as part of a normal cycle errors will be reduced drastically. Again, the concept of fresh eyes can make a difference.

  • Talk as a Team. Many errors are common and repeated. If you have created a culture that works together, the ability to talking about “catches” can be effective. If you have created a culture of intolerance then errors will be kept a secret.

  • If One Gets Out, Do an Analysis. A review of the process that allowed an error to get out will be helpful to avoiding future errors to escape.

If your team is really cranking out a lot of work, errors will happen. But a leader that creates a culture that insists on attention to detail will have fewer errors and develop future leaders of attention to detail.

“The difference in something being good and something being great isAttention to Detail.” Charles R. Swindoll

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