Chapter 19DetailThe Momentum Killer: Manage Outcomes Instead

The Cost of Detail

A big issue I see some leaders struggle with is that they are so addicted to detail that they insist that operational details be dragged up and vetted through every level of management and reviewed and inspected over and over again.

The idea that your value as a leader is only highly regarded if you understand a deep level of detail is a false one. To insist that all of your managers must also stay versed in all the detail kills organizational effectiveness, is hugely expensive, and introduces more risk than it averts. Reviewing detail at every level wastes a huge amount of time (everyone's time)—time that is then not spent on moving the business forward.

As a leader, if you think that your personally examining lots of detail is helping your organization, it isn't.

I see this a lot. Progress grinds to a halt because it takes hours and hours for everyone to review all the detail. By the time it gets to the executive, dozens of people at multiple levels have reviewed the detail, but no one has had any time to do anything about it!

One big reason for executive attention to detail is that they don't know what else to measure. So now that I've covered that in Chapter 4: Control Points, you can see that the things leaders should measure are never the details. So the even bigger problem with executives who focus too much on detail is that they are then not as focused on control points and outcomes as ...

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