In every endeavor, great achievements started with carefully carried out small beginnings applicable to both personal and professional life.

A well-deserved success is the fruit of every baby steps completed out of dedication which comes with absolute focus, responsibility, cheerful acceptance to failure and strong-will to begin and begin again.

I am convinced that the primary indicator of performance appraisal is being able to determine if one works with a “lot of keen attention to little details”. A well-done output is the result of this criteria.

Usually, it is not achieved thru a faster turn-around time on voluminous quantifiable results but is always how bits of indispensable activities/information were attentively put together to come up with an effective and meritorious work.

Attention to little details is not a skill but a trait so vital to productivity. It is certainly so crucial that no matter how great we speak or write, how exceptional our ideas and suggestions are, how fast we translate and work to accomplish a project, how efficiently we can lead our team, how vast our academic and professional achievements are – but if we disregard or carelessly neglect the tiniest detail not just to complete but to balance a big pie, then our efforts would be half-merited.

And even if we thought that those little details we have consciously or unconsciously eliminated will simply go unnoticed, we may be in danger of getting used to half well-done outputs and it will get mirrored in time back to us. Here comes the broader issue of “trust”.

I always keep in mind that an outstanding performer is not all about the influence of title, power, knowledge, wealth and popularity but in faithfully fulfilling the little details of work very consistently. As the ancient saying goes “How can I entrust you with bigger things if you cannot even manage the little things attentively”.

If the essential traits – attention to detail, transparency, diligence and accuracy – are done steadily, our skills are honed better day by day and it is much more rewarding to be relied on with bigger responsibilities because we are so well-known with faithfully delivering the many little things with keen attention.

Since we love to make resolutions for New Year, I thought we should do it more profoundly and get over with the typical vanity-related resolutions which we still hardly meet at times. But if it talks about the “dignity of man”, I guess we have to think twice and act fast. The best resolution is always to punctually accomplish the little details for a bigger and better life.

There are five ways I assess myself to live up to this fundamental trait of “attention to little details” which is also worth your try:

1. Answer and acknowledge emails punctually – This is core to gauging if an individual is favorably dependable or otherwise. If you can reply with just a “Thank you” note in the morning, addressed a simple query or just acknowledge the receipt of an email – all done promptly in a day, then you are worth the high regard.

2. Handle all company belongings with a lot of care and report malfunctioned supplies and equipment immediately – Most of the time we don’t bother if the supplies provided to us get wasted, torn or dismantled. Or a copier machine gets overused or misused because we always thought that the company will readily provide or replace new ones for us. Come to think of it, the way we handle company belongings (or even personal ones) is a strong reflection of our character. Let us keep aware of this with a lot of sincerity.

3. Organize your work space regularly – It is hard to convince clients and colleagues that all our plans and actions are so well-formed and doable if our own work areas are a complete mess. Deep in our thoughts, we are aware that the reason why it is usually tough to concentrate at work is our disorganized table. And yet we still make that silly defense of not being able to rectify such disorder because we have a lot of work to do. If we go back to basic, we probably have much lesser work to do if our work tables have been very organized in the first place.

4. Dress-up decently and neatly from top to bottom – Certainly we know that we must dress-up very appropriately in coming to work, meeting up with clients, attending events or delivering presentations. And I mean that there are times we neglect not only how inappropriately we dress-up but also the way we handle the little defects of the garment we carry. Do we immediately sew/repair any torn parts or do we just cover it with pins leaving it for later repair but not fixing it at all?

The same applies to the shoes we wear, the bags we carry, neckties for men and even handkerchiefs we bring which would “supposedly” dress us up suitably. It’s obvious when we try to convince ourselves that no one will actually notice the defects because they are but too little matter and we need not pay any attention at all. However, the downside of life is if we keep on hiding the little flaws, it surely resonates to how carelessly we talk and act. As such, we allow ourselves to become vulnerable to further scrutiny by others up to the tiniest thing, skill and trait that we possess.

5. Greet and treat office cleaners and messengers with a lot of respect and generosity from time to time – Upright professionals are so particularly with how another co-worker or business associate treats fellows based on rank. On every day dealings, we have that common tendency to ignore or belittle the presence and importance of office cleaners and messengers. By continuing to do so would be an apparent discrimination and undesirable trait. We can never expect genuine loyalty and respect from others (be it from the same, higher or lower ranks) if we cannot even pay respect to the very simple people who are so faithful in making our daily work so much easier and less burdensome.

I trust like-minded people can share many other ways. One thing I am certain – if we cannot commit even to these simplest ways would only denote the kind of character we have and we do not want to suffer the long-term consequence.

Do we want to start and keep doing things right and make life and work most pleasant and smoothly flowing? Or do we just want to continue hanging on and struggling with a stressful life as a result of our failure to promptly attend to the very little but most important details of life and work?

The choice is ours.

I give a toast to a healthier work environment and a brighter world moving forward!

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  • Cherrie Fabillaran

    Executive Director of UERMMMCI, Founder of Jitrrie Economy

    Cherrie has MBA degree with 23 years of professional experience in the areas of business development, marketing, banking & finance, business consultancy, market research, writing and publications, corporate social responsibility (CSR) trainings and travel blogger. Her exposure spans across various industries in the Philippines and Singapore markets. Presently, she is the Executive Director for Business Development, Corporate & Alumni Affairs with the UERM Memorial Medical Center, Inc. where she leads in the development, promotion and stakeholder partnerships of the academe and healthcare sections. She is also a passionate and professional trainer on corporate social responsibility and business ethics, among other related topics. She is the Founder of Jitrrie Economy, an advocacy platform on Public Ethics, Sustainable Living and Green Travel.