Managing by objectives -- the results-focused management style that tells executives to let other people worry about the details -- is a quick route to disaster, argues Margaret Heffernan. How problems are solved speaks to a company's culture and direction, so bosses who pass the buck on the "how" questions risk losing control of their organization. "MBO is just management weakness masquerading as delegation," she adds. "How many times, I wonder, is it just a cover for the boss who can't -- or won't -- solve a problem?"

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