An expression I don't hear much any more is, “don't sweat the small stuff,” but I absolutely see demonstrations of it everyday. It means don't worry about the details and concentrate on the “big picture.”
Yet, little matters more than the details, because it is the details that determine the quality of the execution, and most great strategies or plans fail, not because they were bad, but because they were executed poorly. Billions in a retail chain with check-out clerks who don't even look at the customer.
In team sports the coach determines the strategy. The smart ones draft a strategy they believe their players can execute. The only job for the players is to execute the strategy to their greatest ability. Business is exactly the same.
An article last year in Fortune Magazine was an interview with the worldwide HR czar for IBM. The interviewer asked him what it takes to lead at IBM.
Randy MacDonald said, “There’s a maniacal focus on execution. If you say at IBM you’re going to deliver, you’re held accountable.”
I guess I can say now that I’ve seen it all. It was a big social step when New York City started giving away millions of condoms every year. But a recent story in the New York Times took things up another notch.