Saturday, October 22, 2011

Putting the One Minute Manager to Work...

The book of the week was Putting the One Minute Manager to Work by Ken Blanchard and Robert Lorber. It was a pretty good book and I am surprised I hadn't read it before now. The series of One Minute books are a hit because they are short and have some really smart ideas. Usually the ideas are very basic, but very smart. In this particular book the authors started it off by talking about how companies bring in a new book or management technique every year and don't truly follow through with the management styles they spend time initiating. So this book acts as a follow up to the One Minute Manger, encouraging the reader to keep with it.

I first wrote about the One Minute Manger in 2009 with the following post:

The book is written in a fictional story format, however, the principles can also explained in a list format which is what I will focus on for this week's blog. The three key tools used by the manager in this book were The One Minute Goal Setting, The One Minute Praising, and The One Minute Reprimand.

The One Minute Goal Setting- Each employee writes down their goals on about half a page. Something that can be read in 1 minute if needed. I think having goals is the best way to make big things happen. You will have a hard time getting someone from point A to point B if they don't know what or where either one of those points are... so help your team set goals.

The One Minute Praising- You need to praise your people... The one thing humans crave more than anything on Earth is attention. When you give people attention for doing good things, they want to do more good things. Praising is one of the most affective and simple ways to get a person to do something. Take, for example, a baby, when they are getting ready to take their first steps. At first they may get up and stumble the first time and hit the ground, but parents are around to cheer them on and give them big hugs for their attempt. Then the next day the baby liked that treatment, so they try again... after a few times the baby actually takes their first full steps and is given more praise than ever before! Then the parents use the same "management strategy" to encourage the first words out of a baby, then good grammar, great driving habits, and before you know it you have a full grown kid living in Minneapolis, working 60 hours a week, starting a real estate business and writing a book blog in his little free time.

The One Minute Reprimand- This book's One Minute Manager uses the technique of watching for his employees to do the "right thing." However, when he saw something that was below their ability they would get a reprimand because he wanted to reinforce that they could do better. This is one of the most difficult skill sets to master as a management professional. It is difficult because you need to reprimand a behavior and not the person.

The book gave a clever story of a couple trying to train their dog to do it's business outside. When the dog made an accident on the rug the couple would take the dog and shove it's face in it and then throw him out the window in the kitchen into the backyard. The couple asked if this was a good technique and they were told they were just training their dog to jump out the window after it had an accident on the rug. People, like animals, need to know the ultimate goal before they can try to replicate it. Humans are easier to train than animals because we speak the same language. Once the person knows what the goal is they will try to make it happen for their craved praising. And if you know they have the ability to reach that goal and they intentionally fall short it may be time for a reprimand.

Leading people is a very important skill set! I can't stress how much it can make your life and the lives of those around you more successful. To lead people you just need to leave the bread crumbs... just like the child we were training in the analogy earlier... once the baby was able to walk you don't jump up and down every time they walk for the rest of their lives. You go on to the next skill you would like to train them on... after they have all the skills you are able to train them on they will go on to be as good or better than you... and that is what we want of those around us right? To live great big successful lives? And doing this will make your life easier.... if you train someone to do everything you know how to do, you have an easier load because you have employees that are capable of handling all the responsibilities that at one time were all on your shoulders. Great managers have much more available time than poor managers...

The ideas from this book that I think are important to add to the ideas above are best summed up in a chart within the current book:
This lays it all out. Set your Goals, follow up with Praise or Reprimand, to change Behavior. Managing people really is this simple. It's just putting it to practice that starts to get tough. It's too easy to reprimand people instead of coach and train them and it's too easy to forget about praising people all together or to do it all too seldom. The formula is simple, but it's definitely not easy.

Another thing I like was the idea of resetting goals and evaluate when someone needs reprimanding. 

If a person CAN'T DO something ---> Go Back to Goal Setting because it's a training problem.

If a person WON'T DO something ---> Reprimand because it's an attitude problem.

1. Tell a person how to do something
2. Show how to do it
3. Let the person try
4. Observe performance
5. Praise progress or redirect and train

Managing and leading people is one of the most important skill sets a person can attain in our ever-changing world. When you open yourself up to new ideas in the field of leadership and development you open yourself to new and better ways of changing people's behaviors. If you can master changing behaviors you are forever an asset not only to your company but, also, your church, organizations, and even family. I hear there is a lot of behavior changing needed when raising children. 

This book was good. It's a fictional story with lots of good ideas. I particularly like the way these stories were written because they do a great job of creating scenarios where the ideas are practiced. If you have any questions about this book or The One Minute Manager don't hesitate to ask!

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