Does the following scenario sound familiar? You write an e-mail with three questions; proceed to number them 1-2-3; put a space
in between each line so each question visually
stands out; and conclude with reiterating that you
look forward to getting three answers. In return,
you receive an incomplete response, prompting
the need to write back and repeat at least part of
your request. Or is it just me?
Or perhaps it’s a colleague or vendor you’ve
asked to finish five tasks, yet one was overlooked.
Regrettably, we live in a world where incomplete
work abounds, often causing problems, and it almost always results in the need for more time to
accomplish tasks and meet goals.
If only people were more thorough. Thoroughness means looking at the details to ensure
accurate completion of all elements of anything
from the smallest task to the largest project. The
end result leaves all work completed accurately
with no additional work to be done. There are
a variety of reasons for a lack of thoroughness:
thoughtlessness, indifference about the result, insufficient time, lack of focus, weak skills, a poor
work ethic and even laziness. But there are solutions, too.
SUCCESS IS IN THE DETAILS
The German word for thoroughness is “
gründlichkeit,” and it’s demonstrated in the high quality of
German products. Gründlichkeit is a mindset that
embraces a strong work ethic and an almost obsessively high standard of being careful and meticulous to ensure quality. Such an approach includes
carefully looking at the work’s particulars—in advance of actually starting the work—and only after doing so, planning accordingly and then taking
action. It requires attention to detail.
Don’t dismiss the small, seemingly unimportant
things, as those add up to large, significant things.
Not only can one small detail derail successful
completion of a project, it can cause problems that
multiply and amount to a quagmire of additional
costs, delayed completion and worse.
USE A SYSTEM TO ENSURE THOROUGHNESS
>> ORGANIZE: For minor tasks it may be as
simple as using focused, organized thinking and
a few notes. For large projects, this can be a formal system: Break the project into portions using
checklists, schedules and charts to create a map to
>> REVIEW: An extra minute to review the requirements of a task can help eliminate stumbling
blocks. What resources are needed? What is dependent on other forces? Is the order of completion
correct? What can go wrong?
>> CONFIRM: When completion is assumed—
whether it be a complex two-party check-and-bal-ance, a quick glance at a to-do list or re-reading
the e-mail—confirm gründlichkeit. This is the
step most often bypassed; however, it is the point
where omissions can be found and resolved before
there are negative consequences, and thus it is a
As a leader, teach and practice the principle of “if
it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Include
planning and thoroughness in the elements of
employee performance evaluation, and reward its
practice. Be known as the firm that executes accurate completion of its work and you’ll stand out
from the rest.
ABOU T THE IREM
LEADERSHIP IN THE
NEW AGE OF REAL
ESTATE (2ND EDITION,
2016), WRIT TEN BY