From the 2005 Harvard Business Review:
Marcus Buckingham on "What Great Managers Do." An excerpt:
After a couple of months, she noticed that when she gave Jeffrey a vague assignment, such as “Straighten up the merchandise in every aisle,” what should have been a two-hour job would take him all night—and wouldn’t be done very well. But if she gave him a more specific task, such as “Put up all the risers for Christmas,” all the risers would be symmetrical, with the right merchandise on each one, perfectly priced, labeled, and “faced” (turned toward the customer). Give Jeffrey a generic task, and he would struggle. Give him one that forced him to be accurate and analytical, and he would excel.