Details, Details, Details

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I just listened to Strawberry Fields Forever again, for what must be the thousandth time, and I heard a harmony I had never noticed before. That’s one of the things I love about the Beatles’ music: there are so many layers, so many little details, that you can listen to it over and over again and still hear something new. That’s one of the reasons so many of their songs sound as fresh and exciting today as they did forty years ago. The Beatles paid attention to the small stuff.

Many of you may have read the best-selling book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. While I agree with a lot of what author Richard Carlson said in that book, I think a defense of small stuff is in order. In a world of commodities, where one product and/or service is pretty much like the next, it’s the small stuff that can set you apart. The details are important. The details create a richness of experience that is uniquely yours. That’s why we can listen to the works of Bach, Beethoven, or the Beatles time and time again and still hear new things. It’s why we can see a dozen different performances of Hamlet, each one using the same 400-year old script, and it’s as if we’re seeing a dozen different plays. It’s the layers, the richness, the details.

Are you paying attention to the details of your business? How you answer the phone, for example, or the content and tone of your outgoing voice mail message. Is yours a generic, “Leave your name and number at the sound of the tone” (for those of us who apparently haven’t yet grasped how phone messages work), or have you infused it with your own personality? This is the first impression many of your clients will get about you and your work. Do you really want the message you send them to be, “I’m generic”? Or do you want them to think, as I did this morning listening to Strawberry Fields Forever for the thousandth time, “Wow–now that’s interesting!” It’s all in the details.

I think I’ll go listen to Strawberry Fields again for the thousand and first time.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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