This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

You get what you ask for

This topic is familiar in many management circles: If you look for something, you will likely find it. If people know you are monitoring or looking for something, they will make an effort to supply that thing.  And on the other side, if you don't ask for that thing / report / result, you won't get it.

A recent post on Why is Lean So Hard? - Organizational Elements Pascal Dennis talked about the question of "What Should Be Happening?" I like to use the phrase "What Good Looks Like" in the same vein.  Both get at the idea of what am I looking for / what should I ask for.  They both guide me to think about and tell people what I would like to see happening.  This could be something on the shop floor or a behavior in meetings or the way a process is expected to operate.  

The thing that Dennis highlights is not only do we need to describe it, we have to live it. If I ask people to operate in a specific way, but then I don't look for that operation - it's not going to be long before it vanishes.

So, articulate what you expect to see.  And then be sure it what you are asking for. 

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