Ken Blanchard knows what it takes to run a successful business--in a hurry, too, no less.
As the co-founder of namesake consultancy firm The Ken Blanchard Companies, and a former professor of management at Cornell University, Blanchard co-authored the 1982 bestseller The One Minute Manager with Spencer Johnson. The book, which has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide, offers tips (dubbed "secrets") for business leaders in any industry to become more effective at managing their employees.
Blanchard and Johnson now have a sequel, publishing Tuesday, entitled The New One Minute Manager. In it, they revisit those original lessons and adapt them to reflect the modern work force. As opposed to top-down management, for instance, they now emphasize trust, respect, and interpersonal, or "side-by-side," relationships through their title character, the (new) one-minute manager.
Ahead of The New One Minute Manager's release, Inc. caught up with Blanchard by phone to discuss what truly great managers do--as well as what they never do. Here are some of his top takeaways:
1. The most important minute of your day is the one you spend with others.
In the book's preface, the authors write that the new one-minute-manager symbol--a one-minute marker within a circle--serves to "remind each of us to take a minute out of our day to look into the faces of the people we lead and manage." That speaks to the book's overarching theme: that when managers let go and learn to trust their employees, the work gets done that much faster and more effectively. After all, says Blanchard, "the worst mistake [a manager can make] is to think all the brains are in his or her office, rather than to realize that you're nothing without your people."
He added, however, that it's equally important for managers to know themselves. He says that they need to be asking: "What would I like to accomplish today?" Blanchard further suggests that top executives take a minute out of their day to write something down in a journal--even a line or two of poetry--as a way of both setting and communicating individual goals. The advantage of writing them down, says Blanchard, is that you can go back and revisit them later in the day to see how much progress you've actually made.
2. As a leader, it's OK to be vulnerable.
It's important to be your own "head cheerleader," says Blanchard. "A lot of managers want to act like they're perfect," he says, noting that Colleen Barrett, the president emeritus of Southwest Airlines, offers a keen example of what to do. In effect, Blanchard says, people will "admire your skills" but "love your vulnerability."
That means setting an example for your employees by letting them know when you need to take time for yourself. Blanchard recently had to have a biopsy, for instance, and sent out a companywide email to ask employees for their thoughts and prayers. The New One Minute Manager touts the importance of separating your personal emotions from your interactions at the workplace, and a big part of that is recognizing when you've reached your own limits.
3. Money is not the endgame.
Perhaps contrary to popular belief, you should never go into business with the aim of becoming rich, Blanchard argues. "Money is not a reason to be in business," he says. "It's a byproduct. The profit is the applause you get for creating a motivating environment for your people."
To that end, Blanchard shared an anecdote from the years he spent as a professor at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration. "I was always in trouble because on the first day of class I would give the final examination out," he says. While the other teachers were baffled by his methods, his goal, he explains, was not to have everybody in the class receive an A, but rather to teach them the subject matter. The same principle, he argues, applies to business: If you focus on your people, financial success--which is doubtless the business equivalent of an A grade--is sure to follow.