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Paying Attention to Detail
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 11/21/2011

Checkmark d Many articles are written about management practices, styles with various recommendations on how to become a better leader or manager. These articles are written to give readers a good idea of what tools are available for them to use to become better administrators or supervisors. As it has been often done in the past, there are a few tips to focus on to ensure credibility of one's report thus laying the foundation of demonstrating a stellar proficient performance. One important task is to never assume a new management challenge or special project for the establishment with the impression it will be an easy undertaking from the beginning. Inherently, errors are made if the person is possessed without certain personal competencies. While many individuals are striving hard to be successful, it is important to make sure your toolbox is full with these tools to make you a better writer or project manager.

The very first thing one must focus on is to improve their ability to pay attention to detail on any matter presented to them to be involved in. Always ensure that all the areas assigned or discussed are related to the concept envisioned and make sure to cover your bases for thoroughness and accuracy to set a solid starting point. Ask questions and don't be afraid to ask again.

Once you create your first draft, double checking for accurate use of words, spelling and numbers on all documents presented is a must. This is the first impression of your work and important to show no details were overlooked or omitted. Some find it easier to use a self-made checklist to make sure they cover all the details of the project but with practice, one learns quickly what to look for in the first outline and find it requires little effort to tune the documents up to its expectations. All thoughts should include in both small and large details of the project or job assignment. Notes should be kept to refer back to original thoughts or words used and substituted in favor of another word or phrase that fits the project with improved results.

Once the product is completed keep it in draft format and go over the objectives again to make sure nothing is omitted. If the project is approved, a final copy can be made and presented to the boss for recommendations or revisions. If you are the final authority for the project, ensure that you have someone else proof read its contents before making it the final copy. Confirm desired points are highlighted or highly visible and ask questions of others related to expectations or desired performance providing a positive stage for others to provide constructive criticism. Make sure your words, your sentences and your phrases are complete and clear with the conveyance of thoughts and ideas written on paper but can be used to communicate verbally with others. Word comprehension is important as it adds to the flow of the ideas and concepts.

Always make sure you use the appropriate level of vocabulary to meet your target group's intellect or views. The bottom line would be to make sure the message is clear and understood. Grammar, sentence structure, ideas and organization of such ideas must be done in a manner that is clear and easy to follow. The material must be written in concise and relevant terms avoiding jargon or slang to get the points across. Structure your paragraphs so the ideas flow and in the manner of priority desired to be presented. Most of all, write the document so it grabs the attention of the audience and ensure they are paying attention to the processes outlined or listed throughout the arrangement.

Work on improving the quality of your work with each draft. Look for ways to avoid repeating your statements or redundant words that add no value to the concept or presentation. Remember that the work must flow and not be fragmented or interruptive in nature. Use your creativity to look beyond the traditional in the box thinking and look beyond to find or uncover potential added values or problems that may create drivel or irrelevant comments or statements. Demonstrate you have researched other concerns or alternatives and if not written be prepared to address such questions orally.

In the end, your efforts to pay attention to detail will reveal special value to your presentation or project as it will define your ability to make good judgments, assume leadership roles, planning and organizing skills, technical expertise, professionalism, and the ability to conduct research adding value to the organization as a productive individual capable of doing great work when assigned a project or vital mission.

Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

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