The Devil is In the Details

Remember when being attentive to detail was a standard to which all others aspired? If you offered a bespoke service, you were expected to deliver well beyond expectations. Mediocrity had no place in a work environment that strives for excellence. It was not okay to let things slide as doing so meant leaving the door open for your competition to show your prospects how they can do it better. This is my soapbox for the month so I am going to play devil’s advocate when it comes to the subject of details. I am still a big believer in always reaching for perfection, which I know in reality is never attainable. Blame it on my competitive nature and having been through some tough schools in both the formal and informal educational setting. A bar set a little out of reach should make you try that much harder. My disappointment is not just in those whom from time to time I encounter think “just okay” is acceptable, but also with those who dismiss all the things that lead up to achieving as close to perfection as impossible. Or worse, it’s always someone else’s fault as to why they didn’t get the job done. I just want to get out the pitchfork whenever I hear that particular compliant.

As a long-standing member of the business aviation community I feel that we business aviation veterans are somewhat obligated to hold ourselves to a higher standard regardless of what it is that we do. Certainly I see that culture of excellence for the most part in the operational, maintenance and the management side of the business. It’s one reason why there are at least a couple of layers to the aforementioned as we don’t just rely on one person having checked a box, particularly when it comes to returning an aircraft to service. A detail oriented line mechanic is a job requisite. Just as a detail-oriented customer service representative makes or breaks their company’s image. A detailed-oriented salesperson wins friends and influences others and sets his or her sales on fire!

Remember high school English class (insert language of choice here) when your composition paper got graded on not just content, sentence structure and flow of the material, but also on spelling? The absolute easiest part of the paper was making sure that each and every word utilized in your report was correct. Heck, long before the spell-check software feature there existed such a thing known as a dictionary and presumably at a much younger age you were taught how to use it. Theoretically, today one’s spelling should be perfect given the ability to “spell-check” your document, auto-correction aside, especially if you are using the MS Word program.

Why then is it that I routinely find letters, proposals and other documents crossing my desk that contains anything but correctly spelled words? It seems there is a general lack of concern about being precise when it comes to written communication skills since the default attitude I am experiencing is generally as long as you get the point across, who cares? Ahh, well now, I do and I imagine that much of my Clientele do as well. Call me old school, but I still believe in first impressions especially if you are a job applicant who has responded to an ad where it clearly requests that one have a strong command of written and verbal communication skills. For example, your resume is your first opportunity to demonstrate to me that you at least got the memo on that particular requirement of the job. Hello! If you were an assistant to so and so, please at least be able to correctly spell your title. I really won’t be able to get past an incorrect reference to the role you played if you yourself don’t respect it.

Had enough fire and brimstone? Okay, just keep in mind that even Santa makes a point of checking his list twice to make sure no one gets overlooked. So should you. In this age of immediacy, double-checking and reviewing may seem tedious and to some degree stressful as we all are on some sort of deadline, but it is necessary. Cross those T’s, dot those I’s and read twice or more before sending. An effective aircraft salesperson that shows attention to detail when it comes to the multitude of documents involved with a transaction will ensure that a Client’s needs are being properly addressed. Don’t just leave it to the inspection crew, the escrow agent or legal counsel to catch discrepancies. Overlook them and the mistakes will bedevil you. After all, the devil is in those details and there is some Satan out there who will be fully prepared to use your mistakes against you.