Connecting the dots is not enough

Connecting the dots is not enough - Connecting the dots is...

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Connecting the dots is not enough July 19, 2009 CORNER OFFICE | SHANTANU NARAYEN Connecting the Dots Isn’t Enough  This interview with Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive of  Adobe   Systems , was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Q. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned? A. I really honed a lot of my leadership skills and style at  Apple . I worked for  Apple for many years, and I had a mentor, Gursharan Sidhu, from whom I  learned just a tremendous amount. I think two leadership lessons really stand out for me. He forced me to think  about doing things that I did not think were possible. Challenging individuals  by setting goals and then letting them use their ingenuity to accomplish them  is something that I hope I can pass on as part of my leadership style. If you set  a common vision and then get really scary-smart people, they do things that  amaze you. The other aspect of being a good manager has always been getting gratification  from what others do, because the higher you get in management, frankly, the  less you do yourself. Q. How do you make sure goals are calibrated properly? A. I like to say that if you can connect all the dots between what you see today  and where you want to go, then it’s probably not ambitious enough or  aspirational enough. On the other hand, if people look at it and say there is no  way that’s going to happen, then it’s probably a little too much. So it’s a  balance.
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Q. Any other things that you learned from your time at Apple? A. Well, the other thing at Apple was that you really believed you were going  to change the world. I think that if you do great work it can have just a  tremendous and profound impact on society. I think it’s something that really  can be very motivating.  Q. How are you trying to shift the culture at Adobe? A. One of the things we have tried to do in the last couple of years is introduce  this notion of general managers — you equip people with the responsibility to  make the decisions that are required to drive their businesses. We’ve said to  them, “Go run your business, make the decisions and make the trade-offs.”  Some of them will be hugely successful and some of them will stumble, and I  think that’s O.K. Creating a culture where you allow people to take risks and  grow their careers, I think, is important. We’ve also created this notion of “seeds,” to bring the venture capital culture 
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course CSR 309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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Connecting the dots is not enough - Connecting the dots is...

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