Pay attention to detail

Posted on Wed, Jul 18, 2012

Tags: tips

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Yesterday, we brought you a tip from Joy Cushman on keeping the big ideas in mind when organizing. Today, she describes the second half of the tension in organizing: the details.

 As important as it is to keep an overarching big picture in your mind when organizing, you can't forget the small things. This is part of what I call the organizing paradox:

90% of great organizing lies in the details. A big idea without the discipline of committed craft is useless.

Plenty of people wanted to organize farmworkers before Cesar Chavez came along. So why did he succeed? In part, because he and his team had learned that excruciating attention to detail really matters. That means signing up every single supporter at an event, measuring every commitment, debriefing every action, measuring every dollar in the grape boycott, and counting every vote in an election.

Excellent organizers aren't those who only say "I'm a big ideas person." Excellent organizers are those who imagine winning a big goal, then buckle down to do the disciplined, grinding work of building the organization to win. Without an attention to detail, you can't expect to bring home the big victories.

How do you keep an eye on the details? Let us know in the comments on our blog.

Joy Cushman is Organizing Director at NOI.

Photo by Gerald Stolk, via Flickr.

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