My first boss was fond of saying “it’s the little things that make big things happen”.
More specifically noticing the little things, the details, and also intuitively spotting how others feel.
In the course of the last few months I have interviewed some extraordinary people for my forthcoming book; a young lady who, from a very hard childhood indeed, now has an apprenticeship and is studying for a degree and is possibly one of the most uplifting people I’ve ever met, the CEOs of several Fortune 100 companies, and some elite sportsmen and sportswomen from netball to racetrack. I have felt humbled, awestruck, slight terror and excitement, as the passenger of a well-known former racing champion on a track. And huge inspiration.
These people all notice, they notice lots (or have learned to). One trait they all shared almost palpably was the sheer ruthlessness around attention to detail. Be it personal fitness, technical excellence, product detail or superb team communication, nothing was left to chance. Nothing that is, that was within their control. It was the racing driver who articulated it most powerfully. Listening to him, it was evident that he went to incredible lengths to ensure that everything that was within his control was exactly that, under his control. Can’t control the weather, track conditions or what other drivers are doing but you can know exactly what’s going on with you and with your car.
Nasty Gal is a $100m, 7 year old, online vintage retail company with more than 350 employees. Sophie Amoruso, the straight-talking, irreverent and fabulous CEO and founder, talks compellingly about attention to detail, the painstaking attention that goes into styling, sourcing and curating outfits. Most importantly noticing the customer, ‘ignore your customer, at your peril’. If an item sells – they stock more items that are similar, if it doesn’t or a customer complains, that’s it – they don’t go near it ever again.
There are countless examples of organizations that haven’t listened to the customer and certainly not minded the little things so that the big things take care of themselves.
As Giorgio Armani succinctly put it ‘to create something exceptional, your mind must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail’.
Do you need to pay attention to any little things today?
My warmest wishes,
Having built up a string of prestigious FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 clients over the last 15 years, Kate Tojeiro works as an executive coach with the boards, senior leaders and teams of some of the world’s most illustrious organisations and some of the most cutting edge, organically-grown start ups.
Contact her at www.the-x-fusion.co.uk.