How The “One Minute Manager” Works with Corporate Dead Wood?

By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL

Ken Blanchard, organizational author, andan influential leadership and management expert focuses, on the efficient day-to-day management of people and organizations. Blanchard, of course, is a prominent speaker, author and business consultant. He is the chief “spiritual” officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, a worldwide human resources development company.  Ken is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world and is respected for his years of groundbreaking work in the fields of leadership and management.  As an author, Ken has written several books including, the now famous, The One Minute Manager, which has been widely noted as a valuable tool for developing leadership.  Blanchard has based his later work on the tenets established in The One Minute Manager.

The basic theory behind The One Minute Manager is that people only need simple, clear direction to be successful. This is boiled down into three practical rules of management: One Minute Goals, One Minute “Praisings”, and One Minute Reprimands. The bottom line is to give people mutually defined goals, make some excitement for success, and deal with mistakes quickly and appropriately. As Blanchard’s research has borne out, these simple rules fit many circumstances: childrearing, coaching teams, as well as the traditional organizational environment.

Stating that managers need to believe in people and treat people with respect pretty much sums up his philosophy. According to Ken Blanchard, this treatment is what leads to feelings of employee satisfaction for a job well done. When people feel satisfied in their work, they feel good about themselves, and are more efficient and effective (The classic E2C2, with C2 being capability and capacity.)  According to Blanchard, successful employees can be motivated by positive feelings generated from clearly established goals and expected behaviors. This, he declares, propels people into far better performance, every day, not just when they are in a “good mood”.

He also focuses on managing through a democratic process. He states that an autocratic managerial style will only alienate employees and cause them to not believe in the work they are accomplishing. His philosophy is that managers must be able to communicate with their employees and discuss those things that are causing a negative feeling in the workplace. This is the democratic process in action. However, according to Blanchard, the workplace environment should not be run by the employees’ wants and needs. There must be give-and-take between managers and their employees. In turn, a good manager must also be able to relay concerns of productivity and establish goals for the employees so as to not only increase production, but also the quality of the product. A manager who is people-oriented will have employees who want to work and be productive and it is through people that results will come.

Proposing that managers need to believe in people and treat people with respect is the summary of The One Minute Manager philosophy. This positive belief and treatment is what leads to employee feelings of satisfaction for a job well done. When people feel satisfied in their work, they feel good about themselves, and are more efficient and effective in the workplace, according to Blanchard.

However, among scholars, there is some disagreement with Blanchard’s approach to giving people as much free reign as he purposes, without qualifying the employees first. The argument states that those not mature enough in their jobs, won’t be able to function successfully in this type of atmosphere and will fail, creating a weak bench. Many businesses do not deal with the issue of a “weak bench”, so Blanchard’s management approach can’t be universally applied until companies deal head on with dead wood and hangers’ on.

Mary T. O’Sullivan, Master of Science Organizational Leadership, International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach (ICF-PCC), Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching, University of Texas at Dallas. Member Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society. Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, SUNY Oswego and Syracuse University. Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from SHRM. Mary is also an ICF certified Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, and a Certified EQi-2.0 and EQ360 Practitioner.

Mary O’Sullivan has over 30 years experience in the aerospace and defense industry. In each of her roles, she acted as a change agent, moving teams and individuals from status quo to new ways of thinking, through offering solutions focused on changing behaviors and fostering growth. In additional, Mary holds a permanent teaching certificate in the State of New York for secondary education and taught high school English for 10 years in the Syracuse, NY area. Today, Mary dedicates herself to helping good leaders get even better through positive behavior change.