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Book Review: "One Minute Manager"

One Minute Manager is co-author Kenneth Blanchard, Ph. D. and Spencer Johnson, M.D. Dr. Kenneth is a well-known speaker and business consultant and Mr. Johnson is credited for creating the “One Minute System.” Their book has been featured twice on the New York Times Bestseller list and ranked #1 bestseller on The Runway.

About the Book

The authors teach readers the three secrets of One Minute Management, using an easy-to-read story. These keys are necessary for producing great results with great people. Encased in a casual story about a young man on a knowledge quest, readers will find their book very easy and enjoyable to read.

The young business-minded man investigates how great companies can have great results without the expense of their people. During his travels, he’s frustrated that some organizations have one of two extremes. Some managers seemed to get the results while employees suffered. Others were well-liked by their employees, but the organization never really progressed.

So he discovers the “One Minute Manager.” And after interviewing him and his staff, he’s convinced he’s found the secrets of successful management. The three keys are...

#1 Clear Goals

Dr. Kenneth and Johnson call these “One Minute Goals.” They are written on a single sheet of paper and no longer than 250 words. Both manager and employee have a copy so expectations are both clear and indisputable. While other organizations have employees unsure of what they’re supposed to do with their time, One Minute Goals remove all doubt when it comes to expectations.

But not every responsibility gets written down. The authors utilize the Pareto Principle, which states:

Roughly 80% of our results stem from 20% of our efforts.

One Minute Managers set One Minute Goals that focus on the 20%. In other words, no more than 3-6 goals.

#2 Sincere Praise

The authors suggest that people perform best when they feel great about themselves. This axiom is the foundation for One Minute Praising. When an employee is first assigned a project, managers carefully watch everything their employee is doing, but NOT to find fault. Instead, they’re looking for ways to praise. The result is employees feeling great about their feedback and motivated to work harder. Whereas other managers only engage employees when they do something wrong, One Minute Managers try catching their people doing their jobs well.

It’s worth noting that as employees continue to show competency, praising is not as necessary. The authors suggest that there comes a point when employees are capable of recognizing their own good work, and managers need only praise every now and then.

#3 Quick Confrontation

One Minute Managers do not wait until a performance review to blast their people with all the wrongs. They address the problem immediately. The authors call this a “One Minute Reprimand.” The manager confronts the employee face to face and states the behavior the employee did wrong. The manager then expresses how he or she felt because of the behavior. A silence follows to allow the moment to sink in before the manager reaffirms the value of the employee.

This method of conflict-resolution serves multiple benefits. First, the conflict is resolved immediately, which saves resentment for both parties. Second, it focuses on behavior which is measurable instead of attitudes and feelings, which are subjective. Third, this method of conflict doesn’t focus on the employee’s worth, but reaffirms it. It’s easy when engaging conflict to associate behavior with identity, but it isn’t necessary.

In My Opinion...

The One Minute Manager is a practical tool that can indeed be effective. Anything managers can do to clarify expectations, boost morale, and quickly resolve conflict is worth pursuing. However, it’s this author’s opinion that the One Minute Method stands alone. Meaning it takes more than a framework to establish great companies with great people. Managers need character and consistency for the One Minute framework to be effective. While Dr. Blanchard and Johnson had these gems hidden between the lines, it is important readers do not see their book as an “end all” to management. It can, however, be a great foundation.

It is worth noting that the keys of One Minute Management can go beyond management. Teachers, coaches, counselors, and even parents may find that some of these principles can help them as well.

Readers may find the book on Amazon along with newer editions.

Notable Quotes

““Effective managers manage themselves and the people they work with so that both the organization and the people profit from their presence.”

“People should solve their own problems. Problems should be explained in behavioral terms, not attitudes or feelings. If there is a problem, then the observer should have a desired outcome also explained in behavioral terms.”

“The number one motivator for people is feedback on results.”


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