Everyone says “don’t sweat the small stuff.” People tell me I worry about little details too much. I think the opposite. I need to focus on them way more than I do. Why? It sets the expectations for what is acceptable. I just read an article on the importance of sweating the small stuff.
Every amazing invention, company or experience is based on people that focused on every last detail. Good enough is not good enough. Focusing on the small stuff sets the tone for tolerating nothing but exceptional.
When New York was a crime ridden, dangerous place to live, Giuliani decided to sweat the small stuff with crackdowns on relatively minor offenses such as graffiti, turnstile jumping, and aggressive squeegee men. The principle was that this would send a message that order would be maintained and the city would be “cleaned up.” It worked; the city’s crime rate plummeted.
When eating at a fine restaurant like Chicago Cut across the street from our corporate offices, it all comes down to the details. The best run restaurants will do little detailed things like alternate a dark napkin (for people wearing dark pants/skirt) or a light napkin (for people with light pants/skirt) so no lint appears contrasting to the diners’ pants or skirt.
One of my best examples of a detailed-driven experience was at a restaurant in Istanbul. The staff constantly rotated my white wine into chilled glasses to keep it cold while eating outdoors in the blistering heat. Neither the colored napkins nor the chilled glasses really make a major difference, but they do create an “experience.” They show the level of detail a facility is focusing on in order to be exceptional. I have never had a bad experience at a place that focuses on the granular level of detail. When a team gets down to the micro details the big stuff is always taken care of.