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Define Success

Make it clear to your employees what constitutes success and how they should measure their achievements. Goals must be realistic. Project schedules, for example, must be set by the people who do the work. People will accept a "bottom-up" deadline they helped set, but they'll be cynical about a schedule imposed from the top that doesn't map to reality. Unachievable goals weaken an organization. At my company, in addition to regular team meetings and one-on-one sessions between managers and employees, we use mass gatherings periodically and e-mail routinely to communicate what we expect from employees. If a reviewer or customer chooses another company's product over ours, we analyze the situation carefully. We say to our people, "The next time around we've got to win. What will it take? What's needed?" The answers to these questions help us define success.

— Bill Gates, Microsoft


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