Book of the Week: The One Minute Manager By Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson4 min read

The One Minute Manager is an oldie but goodie for anyone that is in a role of managing people. For more than twenty years, millions of managers in Fortune 500 companies and small businesses nationwide have followed The One Minute Manager’s techniques, thus increasing their productivity, job satisfaction, and personal prosperity.

The One Minute Manager is a 100-page story about a man that is in search of an effective manager. Throughout his journey he learns many lessons which Blanchard and Johnson have centered on three primary areas or “secrets.”

One Minute Goals – One Minute Praising’s – One Minute Reprimands.

One Minute Goal Setting is the first secret for One Minute Management. The authors advocate the 80-20 goal-setting rule: that 80% of your really important results will come from 20% of your goals. How do you get people truly excited about their work? Make it clear what is expected of them. 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.

Understand that One Minute Goal Setting is the foundation of building any healthy business and team.

One Minute Praising’s is the second secret. The authors suggest that effective managers help people reach their full potential by catching them doing something right. “People who feel good about themselves produce good results. The way to implement “The One Minute Praising”:

  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.

One Minute Praising is a very valuable and effective learned habit that unfortunately many organizations just don’t exercise consistently and effectively. Be clear that proper praise can be just the little ingredient that moves an employee to the area of total ownership and accountability in the organization. And it only takes a minute.

One Minute Reprimand is the third and final secret to effective managing. “Clearly the number one motivator of people is feedback on results.” Feedback is the breakfast of champions. The One Minute Reprimand works effectively when you:

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

First half of the reprimand:

  1. Reprimand them immediately. [reprimand the behavior only, not the person or their worth]
  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.

Second half of the reprimand:

  1. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
  2. Remind them how much you value them.
  3. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.
  4. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

This is an area that must be exercised in this order as if you just follow through on the first half of the reprimand you will lose the connection with the employee. Always, I mean always leave it on a good note.

The One Minute Manager also covers that there are three choices when it comes to getting the most out of an employee:

  1. Hire a winner (can be hard to find and expensive to hire and keep)
  2. Hire someone with potential to be a winner and then systematically train them
  3. Pray that a winner shows up

Both the authors and I believe that option 2 is best. You can train and teach skills however you can’t train and teach heart, soul and desire. It’s not always what’s on the resume only that counts it’s what’s also on the inside of the person you hire.

The One Minute Manager is simply a book intended to remind us to take a minute out of our day to look into the faces of the people we manage. And to realize that they are our most important resources.

In conclusion The One Minute Manager is an easy to read classic that has spelled out the management techniques that will help the reader learn the secrets to achieve very real results in their organization. “If you have not read this book, do . . . if you have, read it again.” It just could be the most important minutes you invest in the future of you, your company, your managers and your team.

I have attached a video on the book below for your additional enjoyment.


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