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5 Business Skills Every IT Pro Must Master (Collection) by Leigh Thompson, Jerry Weissman, Terry J. Fadem, Stephen Robbins, Robert Follett

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Truth 13. Telling Employees to “Do Your Best” Isn’t Likely to Achieve Their Best

A friend of mine, who manages a group of software programmers in Seattle, was recently telling me what a great staff he had and how much faith he had in them. “When I hand out an assignment, I merely tell my people, ‘Do your best. No one can ask more of you than that.’” I think my friend was a bit perplexed when I told him that wasn’t the best way to motivate his staff. I felt pretty confident in telling him that he would have better success by giving specific and challenging goals to each employee or work team.

There is a mountain of evidence that tells us that people perform best when they have goals. More to the point, we can say that specific goals increase performance; ...

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