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Measure the Details and Grow

Jul 23Danny Windsor

In my last corporate position I had the pleasure of working for the North America division of an international manufacturer.  This division grew from 17 million in annual sales
to over 100 million in a ten year period.  I learned much from the President of the North America division.  One of the most important things I learned from him was that small details mattered especially in how customers were treated.  He emphasized that several of
our competitors were much larger in size and had significantly higher marketing and PR budgets.  That meant for us to compete we had to be better at the small things, the details and exceed our competition in customer service.

Legendary great basketball coach John Wooden was meticulous about details.  He said, “high
performance and production are achieved only through the identification and perfection of small but relevant details-little things done well.  Sloppiness in tending to details is common in sports as well as other types of organizations. I derived great satisfaction from identifying and perfecting those “trivial” and often troublesome details, because I knew, without doubt, that each one brought UCLA a bit closer to our goal: competitive greatness.” ( Wooden, 2005 )

There is a reason a large successful company like UPS strives to excel in the details and in fact measures them relentlessly.  UPS CFO Kurt Kuehn said, “We have a saying at UPS.  In God we trust; everything else we measure.”  Edward Hess, in his book Smart Growth, says “UPS measures everything; CO2 emissions, the time it takes to wash a windshield, the pace a driver needs to walk to a customer’s house, the most efficient way to start a package van’s ignition, the optimal way to load a package van, and the optimal daily delivery routes.”  Hess goes on to say that “this measurement mentality has taught everyone to pay attention to the details and the little things…”. ( Hess, 2010 )

Emphasize and measure the details, even the smallest details, and watch your company grow.

* Wooden, John, ( 2005 ), Wooden On Leadership

Hess, Edward, ( 2010 ), Smart Growth

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