Details vs. the Big Picture: What’s More Important for Success?

   There is always a story like this in “Airport Success Science”: Richard III, the last king of the York dynasty, on the eve of a decisive battle with Earl Henry of Lancaster, found that his horse had not been shod, so he ordered The blacksmith worked all night making horseshoe nails. When the last nail of the last palm was hammered in, all the materials were used up, and there was no time to make new nails for a while, so I had to hammer three nails and go to the battlefield.
   The ending can be imagined. The war horse fell down due to the shoe falling off when charging into the battle. Richard III was also knocked off his horse. The soldiers thought that the commander had been hit by an arrow, and they dispersed one after another. This led to the defeat of the war, the end of the York Dynasty, and England. Enter the Tudor era. Later generations of people regarded this story as one of the best examples of “details determine success or failure” and wrote it into nursery rhymes, fables, and even “Airport Success Learning”.
   In fact, the failure of the Bosworth War was not due to a horse nail, but to Richard III’s confidant William Stanley who defected and rebelled just before the battle. They were all at a disadvantage, and finally fell into Henry VII’s trap.
   Although this story is so traditional and reasonable, far less dramatic than “one nail destroys a dynasty”, this is the real world of logic. Horse nails are of course important, but they cannot be more important than team building, combat plans, and force comparison.
   In my daily work, I find that many team leaders have similar problems. They are keen on focusing on details and microscopic aspects, but forget the main contradictions and core pain points. Sometimes in a meeting where time is tight, the conversation will get bogged down in the discussion of irrelevant details. The macro direction has not yet been determined, and the process links have not been implemented. So we spent two hours discussing the color of the buttons on the clothes. Blue or yellow.
   In the “Chicken Soup” story of “Airport Success Learning”, there are also Jobs arguing with engineers over the interface arrangement of three words. When the Duke of Windsor received Indian guests, he drank hand washing water in order not to embarrass the other party, and so on. Jobs was completely forgotten. The fundamental reason that brought Apple back to life was a focused and coordinated strategy, and the educated Duke of Windsor was eventually revealed to be a Nazi supporter – he didn’t care whether the Jews were embarrassed.
   Under the exaggerated rhetoric of “clickbait parties”, the huge influence of details on the overall situation is simply jaw-dropping, like a butterfly effect. More and more professionals regard “pursuing details” as an important work principle, as if taking off the fourth nail on the horse’s hoof means winning the war.
   In fact, this assertion makes at least two basic logical errors: demonstration by examples and lack of preconditions.
   Few people realize that most of the “chicken soup” is “right crap.” Details determine success or failure, and details are certainly enough to determine success or failure, otherwise a butterfly in the Amazon rainforest would not be able to stir up a huge storm thousands of miles away. But what kind of details can determine success or failure, and the extent to which details can be controlled can determine success or failure. No one has ever tried to discuss and define these quantitative indicators.
   Although the persuasive power of eloquence is enough to make people forget the rigor of logic, we must admit that argumentation with examples has never been a reasonable tool for scientific research. No scientist would judge that “the sun sets at six o’clock every day” because “sometimes the sun sets at six o’clock”. Cases without data support are just helpers of sophistry.

   In fact, in my cognitive experience, a large number of details are insignificant compared to overall control. Details are very important, but only the key, core, and decisive details are important. The rest of the details are just icing on the cake.
   Excellent managers and executors should be able to distinguish between the whole and the details, the core and the edge. When executing a large and complex project, managers must grasp the overall context. If too much attention is paid to the details, the final result will be either to focus on one thing and lose the other, or to pay attention to the small and lose the big.
   In terms of lens language and story expression, director Chen Kaige, who is very experienced, has been criticized repeatedly for his films since “Farewell My Concubine”. A number of works such as “The Promise” and “The Taoist Comes Down the Mountain” were not satisfactory at the box office and reputation. . Some film critics once explored the reasons for this and found that the screenwriters of “Farewell My Concubine” were Lu Wei and Li Bihua, while most of the screenwriters of subsequent works were Chen Kaige himself.
   Obviously, when the director only needs to focus on the language of the lens, the detailed scenery, the delicate micro-expressions of the actors, etc., Director Chen is able to do it with ease and highlights frequently. But if the director is required to build the entire story framework, lead the narrative, present the story in separate shots, grasp the rhythm of succession and transition, and grasp the core value of the story, etc., Director Chen will be somewhat unable to do so.
   However, the importance of details and the overall situation can be clearly understood from the movie box office. If there is a good story, the audience can even abandon the gorgeous scenery, elegant costumes and props, and the popularity of the actors. As for the poor story core, even if 200 million yuan is spent on special effects and a star worth 100 million yuan is invited to participate, the audience will not buy it.
   The conclusion is obvious. If you regard “success or failure” as a 100-point test paper, “Those who achieve great things regardless of trivial matters” can get 90 points, and the pursuit of details can help you get the most critical ten points. The former is the rudder and the latter is the anchor, assisting and achieving each other.
   The most important thing is, don’t lose 90% of the overall situation just to delve into the details.

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