The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

The Book in a Few Sentences

A timeless book for anyone who leads or manages others professionally or personally. Learn—in three simple steps—how to get the best out of people by appealing to their basic need for goal-setting, feedback, and respect. Based on fundamental human psychology, you will learn why they work and how to apply them to your life.

The One Minute Manager summary

This is my book summary of The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. My summary and notes include the key lessons and most important insights from the book.

The One Minute Manager

  • Once there was a bright young man who was looking for an effective manager.
  • He wanted to work for one. He wanted to become one.
  • He had seen many “tough” managers whose organizations seemed to win while their people lost.
  • The man also met many “nice” managers whose people seemed to win while their organization lost.
  • The young man thought each of these managers—the “tough” autocrat and the “nice” democrat—were only partially effective. “It’s like being half a manager,” he thought.
  • Then he began hearing marvelous stories about a special manager who lived, ironically, in a nearby town.
  • When the young man arrived at the manager’s office, he found him standing looking out the window.

Plaque 1: People Who Feel Good About Themselves Produce Good Results

  • I’m a One Minute Manager. I call myself that because it takes very little time for me to get very big results from people.
  • The One Minute Manager always makes it clear what our responsibilities are and what we are being held accountable for.
  • A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.
  • That is, 80% of your really important results will come from 20% of your goals. So we only do One Minute Goal setting on that 20%, that is, our key areas of responsibilities—maybe three to six goals in all.

One Minute Goal Setting is simply:

  1. Agree on your goals,
  2. See what good behavior looks like.
  3. Write out each of your goals on a single sheet of paper using less than 250 words. 
  4. Read and re-read each goal, which requires only a minute or so each time you do it.
  5. Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance, and 
  6. See whether or not your behavior matches your goal.

Plaque 2: Help People Reach Their Full Potential Catch Them Doing Something Right

  • The more consistently successful your people are, the higher you rise in the organization.
  • …after awhile you begin to catch yourself doing things right and you start praising yourself.

The One Minute Praising works well when you:

  1. Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  2. Praise people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did right—be specific.
  4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
  5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel.
  6. Encourage them to do more of the same.
  7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.
  • You see, the One Minute Manager has taught us the value of being able to laugh at ourselves when we make a mistake. It helps us get on with our work.

The One Minute Reprimand works well when you:

  1. Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms.

      the first half of the reprimand:

  1. Reprimand people immediately.
  2. Tell people what they did wrong—be specific.
  3. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong—and in no uncertain terms.
  4. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.
  5. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.

      the second half of the reprimand:

  1. Remind them how much you value them.
  2. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.
  3. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.
  • The more you understand why it works, the more apt you are to use it.
  • …being a manager is not as complicated as people would have you believe. And also managing people doesn’t take as long as you’d think.

Plaque 3: The Best Minute I Spend Is The One I Invest In People

  • Most companies, in fact, spend more time and money on maintaining their buildings and equipment than they do on maintaining and developing people.
  • I’ve seen a lot of unmotivated people at work in the various organizations I’ve been employed in over the years. But I’ve never seen an unmotivated person after work. 
  • It’s all because clearly the number one motivator of people is feedback on results.

Plaque 4: Everyone Is A Potential Winner Some People Are Disguised As Losers, Don’t Let Their Appearances Fool You.

  • “You see,” the manager said, “you really only have three choices as a manager. First, you can hire winners. They are hard to find and they cost money. Or, second, if you can’t find a winner, you can hire someone with the potential to be a winner. Then you systematically train that person to become winner. If you are not willing to do either of the first two, then there is only the third choice left—prayer.”
  • He was amazed at how serious the young man was now—as if being more serious made a person a better manager.

Plaque 5: Take A Minute: Look At Your Goals Look At Your Performance See If Your Behavior Matches Your Goals

  • …the most important thing in training somebody to become a winner is to catch them doing something right—in the beginning approximately right and gradually moving them towards the desired behavior. 
  • Most managers will wait until people do something exactly right before they praise them. As a result, many people never get to become high performers because their managers concentrate on catching them doing things wrong—that is, anything that falls short of the final desired performance.
  • That is what we often do with new, inexperienced people. We welcome them aboard, take them around to meet everybody, and then we leave them alone. 
  • Not only do we not catch them doing anything approximately right, but periodically we zap them just to keep them moving. 
  • This is the most popular leadership style of all. We call it the ‘leave alone-zap’ style. You leave a person alone, expecting good performance from them, and when you don’t get it, you zap them.
  • What happens to these people asked the young man? 
  • They do as little as possible.
  • The fact that the feedback is so immediate is an important lesson in why the One Minute Reprimand works so well. Unless discipline occurs as close to the misbehavior as possible, it tends not to be as helpful in influencing future behavior.
  • If managers would only intervene early, they could deal with one behavior at a time and the person receiving the discipline would not be overwhelmed. They could hear the feedback. That’s why I think performance review is an ongoing process, not something you do only once a year.
  • My purpose in a One Minute Reprimand is to eliminate the behavior and keep the person.
  • If you are first tough on the behavior and then supportive of the person, it works.
  • Before giving a reprimand you have to see the behavior yourself—you can’t depend on what someone else saw. You never give a reprimand based on ‘heresy.’
  • But these three basic ingredients—telling people what they did wrong; telling people how you feel about it; and reminding people that they are valuable and worthwhile—lead to significant improvements in people’s behavior.
  • You see, it is very important when you are managing people to remember that behavior and worth are not the same things. What is really worthwhile is the person managing their own behavior. 

Plaque 6: We Are Not Just Our Behavior We are The Person Managing Our Behavior

  • You will be successful with the One Minute Reprimand when you really care about the welfare of the person you are reprimanding.
  • Touch is very honest. People know immediately when you touch them whether you care about them, or whether you are just trying to find a new way to manipulate them.
  • …manipulation is getting people to do something they are either not aware of or don’t agree to. That is why it is so important to let each person know up front what you are doing and why.
  • Being honest with people eventually works. On the other hand, as you have probably learned in your own life, being dishonest eventually leads to failing with people. It’s just that simple.
  • “Sometimes,” the One Minute Manager said, “you have to care enough to be tough. And I am. I am very tough on the poor performance—but only on the performance. I am never tough on the person.”

Plaque 7: Goals Begin Behaviors Consequences Maintain Behaviors

  • Nobody every really works for anybody else. I just help people work better and in the process they benefit our organization.
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