Attention to detail

A red and white neon sign of a Nike high top trainer
Commercial Director, Matt Green weaves Formula One and Michael Jordan into his latest blog, writing about the importance of detail. 

Come on. I’ll be honest. Certain aspects of attention to detail are not my strongest skillset. On the Insights Personality Test, you have those that sit in the colour blue’, most of whom love a good spreadsheet and those who sit in the colour yellow’ and often just have a feeling! I am very much a sunshine yellow. Detail is someone else’s game. Or is it? 

When I think about attention to detail on site, back when we were in the land of physical events, I would always be the one before the doors opened doing that final check, picking up on all those little bits and bobs that might be missed and turning a perfect room into 110%. In a meeting I’m generally the one who towards the end of the meeting, asks that question (you know, the one no one else has thought of that dots the i’s and crosses the t’s). I’m the one who over thinks where things went wrong and why we don’t win things. 

So do I lack attention to detail? Or does my contribution work because it’s thrown into the team pot? 

Over the lockdown I have taken to starting my day as follows: 

  • Hot drink
  • Spin bike
  • Bowl of cereal

all accompanied by the watching a series or two on Netflix. I’m a sucker for sport and the lack of any form of live action has got me watching more and more sports documentaries. I’ve so far ploughed through various All or Nothing’s’, both seasons of Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ and I’m currently watching The Last Dance’. 

I love them all and I think they are a great concept. Yes, as a fan I get my sports fix, but as a business owner and leader, I also get a real insight into how individuals with different skills work together to achieve a common goal. It also highlights the ever-so thin line between celebrating success and overcoming failure, something that has run through my mind many times in the last three months. 

Drive to Survive’ was particularly interesting. To be frank, I’m not a huge fan of Formula 1. I find watching a 70 odd lap race pretty boring, but I found both seasons of this series fascinating. When thinking about attention to detail and the power of the team, I don’t think you can get much more of a prime example than a Formula 1 team. 

Yes, you have two drivers both competing to outperform the other… but if they don’t work together then it doesn’t work. If the mechanic changing the tyres on the pitstop doesn’t tighten a wheel nut by a fraction, it pushes the whole car off balance and doesn’t work. Following the same line as everyone else in wet weather, turning into a corner at the right millisecond, pit-stopping at the most advantageous time. Is it a day race? Is it a night race? Track or roads? The list appears to go on and on and on. Yet all of these minor factors need to be fully taken into account otherwise, as a team, your whole race is over. I think this highlights my original point. One person is responsible, but many people have to work together, with the same level of detail and following the same goal. 

High level sport isn’t alone though. No business can afford mistakes that harm their reputation, even grammatical errors on emails can cause confusion or damage the status of a company. Working in production within the live event industry, detail is paramount. Our industry is made up of the possibility to do practically anything. We must be masters of everything – or, more specifically know someone that enables you to be the master of knowing someone for anything. Plan, plan and plan some more. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the industry’ you’ll always come up against something new and be presented with a challenge that wasn’t on the cards a few years back. Currently we have an industry of people who have understood digital hubs to be a side show to the main event, now taking centre stage. 

In Episode Four of The Last Dance’ after the Chicago Bulls lost again to the Detroit Pistons, Michael Jordan took a look at his Bulls team, refocused, retrained and went out and smashed the Pistons in the following season 4–0. As a team they worked together, addressed their weaknesses, homed in on the real detail. 

Our world is beginning to wake back up and our team is being pulled back together to enter a new landscape where the options are bigger, the decisions more important and the need to focus on the detail as paramount as ever.