Bob's Gutsy Leadership Blog

You Get What You Ask For!

One common mistake made by managers with subordinates is they are not clear on specifically what they want to have the subordinate do.  Such foggy directions usually lead to foggy results.  Both parties are going to be disappointed.

Let me give you an example of doing this well.  When digital photography was starting to emerge in the mid-1990’s, Canon had a specific division focus exclusively on that opportunity.  The most lucrative part of the camera business is the single lens reflex (SLR) segment.  These fancy cameras take exquisite pictures and have more features than man would ever understand.  The CEO of Canon laid out a very clear objective to his people in the camera division.  Meet or beat Nikon and Sony on every single feature of SLR cameras and ideally, have several features available only on Canon SLR’s.  That continues to be the objective in the camera division at Canon.

The results have been spectacular.  Canon generates more revenue in the SLR category than any other vendor.  Seven of the top ten selling SLR camera models are manufactured by Canon.

What should every leader take away from this story?

There are three things:

1. Provide a very vivid description of exactly what you want to have happen.

2. Identify the measures which will verify that you have achieved the result.

3. Reorganize so that there is total focus on the specific objective.

Why do you think managers do such a poor job of being specific about what they want to achieve?


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