I’m a big believer in not sweating the small stuff. That doesn’t mean I ignore the details. In fact, paying attention to details is one of the secrets to my success, and a key component to my “Be Organized” rule.

The following is a guest post by Andy Rivkin, owner of a successful business headquartered in New York’s Westchester County. Andy and I were recently talking about my book. I was telling him about a bunch of positive happenings—a nice review, a contract signed for a keynote speaking engagement, and more wonderful feedback from readers.

Andy congratulated me and launched into an enthusiastic, encouraging talk about the way that little things add up: each review on Amazon, each attendee at a speaking engagement, each person who buys my book and tells someone else about it, etc. All new endeavors start with a push. You keep pushing until, like the proverbial snowball, it rolls down the hill on its own momentum, Andy explained. And as Andy spells out below, attention to the details can make all the difference in the world.


Oftentimes, we tend to focus on the bigger, more pressing issues to the detriment of paying enough (or any) attention to the myriad details around us. I maintain that the bigger issues will ultimately take care of themselves, because they are too prominent to ignore, kind of like the elephant sitting in the room. So, instead of focusing too much attention on the bigger stuff, consider the notion that it is better and more prudent to spend more time focusing on the smaller details.

Proper management of the smaller details is too frequently ignored by too many, but those who neglect to manage the details do so at the risk of missing opportunities to achieve better, more successful outcomes. Besides, it’s the details in any situation that provide texture, interest, and welcome complexity that set it apart from the mundane.

If one were to focus on managing his/her details to a higher degree, and on a consistent basis, this would invariably lead to a multitude of improved results. This multitude of improved results would create momentum that could lead to a tipping point toward a desired goal and, eventually, set of goals. Taken together, this achievement of goals will surely elevate you on many levels.

When thinking about the dynamics of managing your details, I like to reference the story of Olympic racers in the finals of the 100 meter running event. Here you have 10 of the fastest humans on earth racing against one another, with only one winner ultimately emerging. The ensuing results of this race between these world-class athletes is often decided by tenths, or even hundredths, of a second.

These esteemed racers are supremely talented individuals who have dedicated themselves to incredibly robust training regimens in order to achieve results at the absolute highest levels. Each of these 10 racers is very close in ability. Yet, it is the smallest, barely scrutinized detail that will skew the race times ever so slightly in a way that will ultimately provide the margin of victory.

Perhaps one racer didn’t tie his shoe laces tightly enough, resulting in slight slipping in the starting blocks. Perhaps another racer’s initial step was half an inch short of the ideal starting position. It is details such as these that may seem too small to consider, yet create sufficient change that have the potential to alter the final results. Proper detail management is that important.

Successfully managing details is often so rarely done, however, recognition of this detail management is often a welcome and appreciated surprise to those witnessing this. Think: exceptional customer service by a waitress or store clerk. This occurrence is often rare and unexpected (unfortunately), making it highly memorable.

Think of how much more successful you could be with better detail management. Think how much better we, our family, community, company, country or world could/would be if this behavior were the norm rather than the exception!


What details could you do a better job at managing? Join the conversation with your comments…