Assumptions and attention to detail

26 Mar 2017 2:38 PM | Anonymous

'Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.'
― Isaac Asimov

Many job descriptions include a requirement of 'attention to detail'.

But what does that mean? 

Essentially it means the job role is ideally suited to someone who has the patience and care to research and read thoroughly, fully understand what is required and to produce quality work inclusive of the correct level of detail, in all aspects of the role.

Often we speak about attention to detail in writing reports – ensuring there are no spelling errors for example.

But it also extends to understanding the issues at hand – taking the time to investigate thoroughly all the requirements and acting accordingly. A good example in local government is community engagement- where a detail-focused person will take the time to consider all the impacts and therefore seek input from all the relevant stakeholders – rather than assuming.

Here’s an example. What do you see here?



I love Paris in the Springtime...?

No – if you read it again – you'll notice the word “the” is repeated.

Here’s another example that will test your attention to detail.  It’s an interesting test based on an experiment developed by John Ridley Stroop way back in 1935.  In fact it’s called the “Stroop effect”

Try to say, our loud, the colour of the each word…


Not easy is it? 

It takes time to process.  Just as it takes time to understand each situation in local government - the needs of the ratepayers, the residents, local businesses, the Elected Members – and of course your manager. 

Often it’s a balancing act but being able to focus on the detail and use patience to ensure everything is considered will go a long way. 

And of course, never assume you know the answer….

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