Pay Attention To Detail…

The longer I serve in leadership, the less enamored I am with people who have a big vision for the future. Vision. It’s such a buzzword in modern-day culture (both in business and in church). Now, don’t get me wrong, good leadership certainly has a big vision for the future. But how does a vision go from a mere dream to a reality? It’s all in the details…

Indeed, the longer I serve in leadership, the more enamored I am with people who pay attention to detail. I think that such a person is who King Solomon had in mind when he penned these words in Proverbs 22:29, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” The idea here is of a painter, sculptor, or woodworker, who, with passion, focuses his energy on each and every brush stroke, chisel, or cut. The vision of what could be and should be is there, but it comes together with a godly obsession and zeal for each and every detail.

When I served in the military, I would often interact with Captains and Majors. Most of these men were highly intelligent and skilled in combat. They would outline the mission with stunning precision and then rely upon guys like me to execute the mission by obsessing over the details that they laid out. But every now and then, I would encounter a military officer who had so many good ideas, but with no concept of the details. Indeed, we would call these officers “the good idea fairy.” These officers had great and grandiose ideas for the future, but no real pathway to get these ideas up off the ground. Alas, many of these good ideas died in infancy. Why? Because a vision of the future, without a detailed plan to get there, is, well, useless…and annoying. Vision demands details. Yes, vision demands that we pay attention to each and every detail.

The mantra of many today seems to be the following: “Well, at least it’s done.” OR “At least no one died!” OR “Done is better than perfect.” Sometimes, especially in a crisis, these are words to live by. But in the regular rhythms of life and leadership such statements are possibly indicative of a lazy spirit who prizes a task being done over a task being done well. Let me say it straight up: Anything worth doing is worth doing well. From mopping a floor to preaching a sermon, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Or to phrase it another way, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth paying attention to each and every detail…

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