Attention to detail

One thing that I’ve learned about myself in the last few years has been that I have a character trait that gives me a natural tendency towards caring about details.

But learning this about me has also meant learning that the majority of people do not have a natural tendency towards caring about details.

This is not to say that the majority of others don’t care or are not detail oriented. But it has been a revelation to me that it’s possible for people to just breeze through life ignoring how that thing is made, or why that thing doesn’t comply with the rules, or the fact that that apostrophe isn’t in the right place, or what others might think of what they do.

This week I have been struggling with a company who do important legal and regulatory stuff for Oikos. I will not name names, and I will not list the catalogue of small errors that have beset the process. But I really do find myself wondering how you get into this kind of field without having a high level of attention to detail.

So, forgive me if I’m a bit slow sometimes with my work. It sometimes means I’m trying to do something right. Because I’d rather be right than fast.

3 thoughts on “Attention to detail

  1. If the choice were between being right and being on time, rather than between being right and being fast, which would you rather be? And which would your customers rather you be?

    I once worked for a company that had a mission statement that began “To be first to market with high quality…” with the demand being to be both right and fast. The lesson there wasn’t that things should be rushed, but to be selective in what was done and for things to be done well enough for what the customers needed, not necessarily perfectly.

  2. Good point. There are times when fast and “good enough” is what’s needed – it depends on the context of the work. And I quite deliberately used the word “sometimes” a lot.

    And I guess even legal and financial work has constraints of time and money.

    But even so…attending to the detail of the basics should be a given, or how will I trust the rest of the work?

    P.S. Nice to have someone commenting here…thank you!

    1. For me it would depend on whether the poor attention to detail related to their area of expertise. I’ve had to deal with several legal firms in the last year. All seemed rather absent minded in some respect (forgetting appointments or getting names and addresses wrong, or forgetting to invoice) but I never had reason to fault them on the quality of their legal advice. I may choose not to do business with them again if their errors cause me too much inconvenience, but that’s not the same as not trusting their work.

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