Magazine article Talent Development

Ken Blanchard: Co-Founder and Chief Spiritual Officer the Ken Blanchard Companies San Diego

Magazine article Talent Development

Ken Blanchard: Co-Founder and Chief Spiritual Officer the Ken Blanchard Companies San Diego

Article excerpt

Ken Blanchard is the co-founder and chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, an international management training and con sulting firm that he and his wife, Margie Blanchard, began in 1979 in San Diego. Blanchard's books, including the bestselling The One Minut Manager, co-authored with Spencer Johnson, have combined sales of more than 18 million copies in more than 25 languages. He is in Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time.

Blanchard has received numerous speaking and leadership honors and is a popular speaker at ASTD's annual International Conference & Exposition. He currently teaches in the executive leadership master's degree program at the University of San Diego.

Q WHAT INSPIRED THE APPROACH IN THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER, AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT REMAINS SO POPULAR, EVEN RIGHT NOW?

I met Spencer Johnson at a cocktail party in 1980, and he was a children's book writer. Margie introduced us and said, "You guys ought to write a children's book for managers; they won't read anything else." We ended up writing a parable. We self-published and sold 20,000 copies--with no advertising--to our clients. Everybody loved it. We went to New York in December 1981 and got a contract with William Morrow. The book came out in 1982.

Spencer has this wonderful philosophy of having your readers review your books. We gave our manuscript out to the first group that was close to us and used a little questionnaire. What made The One Minute Manager a great book was that we kept on getting feedback until we knew people loved it. We were on the Today show on Labor Day in 1982. One week later the book hit the New York Times bestseller list--and it didn't go off the list for two or three years.

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The reason The One Minute Manager is powerful is because it is simple. The book teaches three simple secrets: set goals, praise progress, and reprimand or redirect as necessary. I think too many books are too complicated.

Q HOW HAS THE STUDY OF MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST BEGAN YOUR WORK IN THE FIELD?

When I first began work in the field, leadership was considered a hierarchical kind of thing. People worked for their bosses and sent things up the hierarchy. Leadership has now become much more of a partnership relationship. In fact, we call it a side-by-side relationship. …

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