Major, Minor, Forest, Trees and the Details

Details are Not Minors

When I ask for the details and want to go into the details someone will suggest “Don’t major on the minors. We must major on the majors!”. Do you agree with his statement?

It sounds logical on the surface. It also seems to support the ideas of seeing the forest and not just the trees.  It result in staff, especially junior managers, ignoring the details of things under the deception that manager should look at thing on a higher level and major on the major.

In actual practice, it turns out that details are the most important thing. God is in the detail and in the precision business.  Complexity of life can be found in the various combination of the DNA. Water density changes at 4 degree C so that ices float on water and keeping the fish alive under it.  Because of the ignoring of the details that create big problem for us, the “God is in the detail” becomes “the devil is in the details”. Luxurious and quality things are valued for their precision and details. The smaller the tolerance, the quieter the machinery.  Good customer experience are created by taking care in all the details of the many touch points. So how does we resolve the seemingly conflicting advices of “Major not on the minor”, “See the forest and not just the tree” and “the devil is in the details”?

“Major not on the minor” is about the importance of a thing. It is not about the size of the thing.  Details perhaps can be seen as the size of a thing.  If an issue or a task is important, then it must be done well. If a thing need to be done well, then the precision is important, and all the fine details must be taken care of.

There is of course the law of diminishing marginal returns and the balance between effect produced and costs incurred. The good effect of finer details will diminishes and increased costs will cause one to stop. But let me also immediately add that many good things are not costly at all. How much does a smile cost? Yet, smile is a very important element in creating good customer experience. We therefore need to summarized this Major and details as:

If a task is important, then we must take extra care in working out the details to ensure its success.

A journey of thousand steps begin with a little step,
and is made up of steps that lead in the right direction.

If the steps don’t lead forward to the destination,  a thousand step journey could be an endless journey of uncountable steps with lots of detours and backward steps.

Seeing the Forest tells you your Majors and Minors – It is about Vision

Seeing the Forest and not just the trees is about looking at things at higher level and seeing a greater scope of impact over time and space. It it like planning the destination and the paths for the journey of the little steps. Without the higher level vision, our little steps may not lead us anywhere.  The details must be worked out carefully to accomplish the mission.

Clear Vision is to Seeing the Forest and the Trees!

So, we must begin with a vision of seeing the forest, and then work out the major things,  the strategies and the paths to accomplish the vision, and then working out the detailed steps to take to cut through the trees and reach out intended destination. Vision, strategies and details are all important.

See clearly and walk carefully in great details,  step by step, each one bring us closer to our destination.

Put into Practice – Creating Good Unforgettable Customer Experience

If you have an unhappy customer, watch the details, retrace the touch points and you can pin-point the issue. If you want to create great customer experience, then do likewise. Don’t gross over the details.

2 thoughts on “Major, Minor, Forest, Trees and the Details

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