164 Slices
Medium 9781576751534

The Challenge

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE RAIN beat down steadily. Occasionally the wind threw great splashes against the executive office windows. The sound brought a smile to Michael Hobbs’s face. It made him reflect on the beating he was taking as president and CEO of a midsize, once-successful, home products company.

Michael had taken over leadership a little over a year ago, and he had instinctively done his usual thing—seize the checkbook and centralize all decision making. He had developed quite a reputation since his MBA program as a dynamic, high-energy manager. His belief was that lack of leadership at the top was usually the cause of a company’s problems. As a hands-on manager, it didn’t take him long to address that void. He was decisive and in charge, but for some reason his approach was not working this time.

Another sheet of rain blasted the office windows, rousing Michael from his trance. He looked up at the sign on his desk given to him by the consultant his board had recommended he should hire. The sign was really starting to bother him, but he didn’t have the nerve to take it down. It read:

See All Chapters
Medium 9781626563339

10 Another Perspective

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Rounding a curve on the winding mountain road, Larry and Janice saw the pale gray dome of the observatory come into view.

“Wow, what a great place to work,” Janice said. “It’s beautiful up here.”

“I must say, I’ve never met an astronomer before,” said Larry. “This ought to be interesting.”

Cynthia Strohmeyer was certainly not what either Janice or Larry had been expecting. The red-headed woman who greeted them was in her early forties at most. Wearing comfortable clothes, she met them at the entrance to the spacious room that housed the massive telescope.

“Welcome,” she said after they’d made introductions. “My uncle has told me so many good things about you guys.”

“Your uncle?” said Larry, puzzled. “Oh!” he said, the light going on. “You must be Dr. Jeffrey’s niece.”

“He didn’t tell you?” she said with a laugh.

“No,” said Janice. “He just said you’d give us a fresh perspective on what it means to refire spiritually.”

Cynthia led them to some seats at the edge of the gallery, where they had a clear view of the telescope. “I’ve been interested in math and science since grade school,” she said. “By the time I reached grad school in my twenties, I identified myself as an agnostic. I just didn’t find religion and spirituality compelling. Making assumptions without empirical evidence seemed so irrational to me. People who talked about God’s love and miracles sounded naïve and sentimental, if not downright delusional.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781626560604

2 The Launching Pad

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Ken: As I suggested in the introduction, at some time in our life we all have made a New Year’s resolution to do something and then not followed through—we didn’t behave on our good intentions. Most New Year’s resolutions don’t work because we find accomplishing the goal to be tougher than we thought it would be. Added to that, we get little, if any, help from people around us when we get discouraged. In fact, they often smile and say, “We’ll believe it when we see it,” and then walk away to let us manage on our own. But if we could do it by ourselves, it would not need to be a New Year’s resolution—we would just do it.


Learn About Situational Leadership® II

I knew right away that I could not regain my fitness on my own—a delegating leadership style wouldn’t work for me. Then I had a blinding flash of the obvious: Why not use Situational Leadership® II1—the model that has built our business more than anything else we have ever taught— to help Tim and me figure out the kind of leadership (i.e., help) I would need to accomplish the fitness goals we would agree upon?

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605093482

Chapter Eight An Overused Word and a Visit to the Dentist

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


When she saw Josh putting a pencil in his mouth, Amy yelled and ran to take it away from him. A few minutes later the boy picked up a small antique vase, whereupon Amy again yelled, “No!” Josh started to sob; soon he was wailing at the top of his lungs. Amy knew that she had scared him this time, but the vase was a valuable gift from her grandmother. Feeling sorry, she went over to Josh and gently took the vase away from him. After placing it on a high shelf, she turned to Josh and hugged him until he stopped sobbing.

As often happened, an occurrence at her workplace opened the young mother’s eyes.

The next day, Clint was telling the group about his early work with killer whales. “Back then we, mere humans, were trying to tell an eight- to ten-thousand-pound killer whale what to do. Think how silly that is! I mean, there we were, dealing with the top predator in the ocean, and we were trying to tell them no! How nutty is that?”

“Trying to make an animal do something is not that different from trying to make a human being do something. It doesn’t go over well. What is so much more palatable is to ask them to do it—and then reward them for doing it! What is the goal of any kind of leadership or influencing? It’s to have the animal, or person, want to do what you want done, on their own. Back then we had the beginnings of an understanding of that notion, but we didn’t act it out. Our mistakes had really serious consequences. Because of the size and capabilities of these animals, we did get hurt sometimes.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751534

The Empowerment Game Plan

Ken Blanchard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

See All Slices