Why You Must Pay Attention to Detail for Success

management by exception

When you’re trying to run a successful company, it’s sometimes hard to pay attention to detail as you face strategic and tactical decisions with the potential to either guarantee success or lead to the abject failure of your business. As business owners, we often face a myriad of issues demanding our attention and we prioritize them based on the immediacy of the problem and the potential for damage. Yet, it’s often these small details that get you in hot water with customers, regulators, or supply chain partners, blindsiding you with something that wasn’t even on your radar. Attention to detail keeps a small problem from becoming a huge one.

attention to detail

Attention to detail at Netflix

The recent downturn at Netflix is a good example of what happens when you don’t pay attention to detail. Once the innovator in the industry, recent declines in subscribers and slowing revenue growth reflect a change in consumer interests that Netflix ignored for too long amid an explosion of streaming options. While Netflix was quick to blame uncontrollable factors, such as the war in Ukraine (they dropped 700,000 Russian subscribers due to sanctions) and increased competition, as well as blaming subscribers for password sharing that cuts into subscription numbers. The reality is more nuanced and suggestions a failure to pay attention to detail over time that might have helped them avoid such sharp declines.

Netflix has an aggressive pricing policy that caused prices to increase by as much as 1/3 for subscribers in the UK and other parts of the world over just a 2-year time span. If properly monitored, Netflix would have built models projecting the impact of price on subscriber numbers but it appears they failed to do so despite having data to show the impact of pricing on subscription numbers. The company’s plan to provide a lower-cost option, supported by ads, appears dead in the water for some subscribers who prefer an ad-free experience.

Of course, bigger issues are likely at play, such as a narrow band of content, but it’s the attention to detail for the little things, like the impact of price hikes, that likely accounts for much of the woe currently experienced by the streaming giant.

Aspects of attention to detail

Every organization faces a bunch of details vying for attention. There’s no way any one person can keep up with every aspect under their control, let alone monitor elements beyond their control. There’s just too much information out there and, for the most part, everything goes as planned so there’s nothing to see. The answer to increasing your awareness of little details and the problems they represent is to automate processes as much as possible to ensure details with the potential to impact your business significantly come to the attention of those charged with managing the function.

Dashboards are a great way to pay more attention to detail, especially when you use a color system to draw attention to details that need some action on your part. For instance, at Proctor and Gamble, transportation managers monitor logistics using GPS signals in their trucks, weather forecasts, and traffic patterns including accidents along major thoroughfares. By monitoring these factors impacting delivery, the company produces a dashboard projecting delivery times using a color scheme indicating delays in red and potential delays in yellow, while on-schedule deliveries are green. Each dashboard shows deliveries scheduled for each retailer with an indication of the average sales to the retailer displayed to highlight late deliveries with greater consequences for the brand.

Creating dashboards is just the first step in paying attention to detail. The bigger step is using these dashboards to inform decisions. At Proctor and Gamble, when projected delivery to a major customer like Walmart appears in danger of running late, the transportation manager can redeploy deliveries to other customers to fulfill Walmart’s order on time. By viewing nearby deliveries projected to arrive ahead of schedule on the dashboard, the manager can ensure all customers get on-time delivery and are happy.

In addition to dashboards, remote sensors are part of the IoT (internet of things) revolution. These sensors allow for remote monitoring of equipment that’s distant or located in a position dangerous for humans to constantly monitor in place. Monitoring small changes from normal performance allows workers to service machines before they go offline and create huge problems for the business.

Why attention to detail matters

In addition to keeping small problems from escalating into big ones, there are other reasons why attention to detail matters. Read on to discover why attention to detail matters.

It’s cost-effective

Something you need to consider is that there are a lot of companies that focus on attention to detail because it is such a cost-effective approach to take. For example, monitoring your cash flow and tracking expenses is critical for your firm’s survival. That’s why small business bookkeeping services can have a huge impact on your operation. Not only should your accountant or bookkeeper maintain your financial records, but they should also produce reports showing differences between expected and actual expenses and income. This management by exception allows you to focus attention on those financial aspects of the business resulting in the greatest differences. By understanding the nature of the difference, you gain insights useful in optimizing your performance. BTW, management by exception works in other areas of your business, not just financial. See the image below for the general idea behind management by exception and how it can help provide attention to detail.

management by exception
Image courtesy of Bartleby

It boosts efficiency

There are a lot of things you need to try to think about when it comes to improving and boosting the efficiency of the company when you are looking for business success as much as possible. Watching small details is one of the key factors when it comes to boosting efficiency, and there are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind when you are looking to make the most of this and help your company improve as much as possible.

It can make the difference

There are so many amazing ideas that you need to make the most of when you are trying to find the perfect details that help you make your business better. There is a lot that you need to make the most of when you are trying to improve the attention to detail in your company, and this is something that can make a massive difference when you are going to help improve the company and make things better in the process right now.


Being able to take the key steps that are going to help you improve your business is so important, and this is something that you need to focus on as much as possible. There are so many elements that you should be looking to make the most of as much as you can. It is vital to make sure you come up with some of the best ways of being able to improve the company moving forward.

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