There is always a book on my nightstand that I dig into every evening before I go to bed. I recently finished one by Ken Blanchard called Leading At A Higher Level. It is not every book that I recommend heartily to others, but this one is well worth the read. What Blanchard has to say about leadership is inspiring and refreshing. Allow me to present to you the a collection of the best of what I read:
Why is it important for leaders to have clear vision? Because […] leadership is about going somewhere. If you and your people don’t know where you are going, your leadership doesn’t matter.
Alice learned this lesson in Alice in Wonderland when she was searching for a way out of Wonderland and came to a fork in the road. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” she asked the Cheshire Cat.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to go,” the cat responded. Alice replied that she really did not much care. The smiling cat told her in no uncertain terms: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
In their book “Full Steam Ahead!: Unleash the Power of Vision,” Ken Balnchard and Jesse Stoner define vision as “knowing who you are, where you’re going, and what will guide your journey.”
* Knowing who you are (significant purpose)
* Where you’re going (a picture of the future)
* What will guide your journey (clear values)
On Customer Satisfaction
Walt Disney’s charge he gave every cast member: “Keep the same smile on people’s faces when they leave the park as when they entered.”
In Raving Fans, Sheldon Bowles and Ken Blanchard contend that there are three secrets to treating your customers right and turning them into raving fans: Decide, Discover, and Deliver Plus One Percent.
How can you create raving fan service when you have uncommitted, unmotivated people? Ken and Sheldon in “Gung Ho” found three requirements for turning on the people in any organization. First, people need to have worthwhile work. Second, people need to be in control of achieving the goal. Third, to continue to generate energy, people need to cheer each other on.
How do you create an organization where ducks are busted and eagles can soar? The traditional pyramid hierarchy must be turned upside down so that the frontline people who are closest to the customers are at the top.
How do the best-run companies in the world eat the competition day in and day out? How do you create this motivated workforce? The key is empowerment. People already have power through their knowledge and motivation. The key to empowerment is letting this power out.
What is empowerment? Empowerment is the process of unleashing the power in people -their knowledge, experience, and motivation- and focusing that power to achieve positive outcomes for the organization.
Empowerment requires a major shift in attitude. The most natural place that this shift must occur is in the heart of every leader.
Empowerment is the creation of an organizational climate that releases the knowledge, experience, and motivation that reside in people.
The First Key to Empowerment: Share Information with Everyone
People without accurate information cannot act responsibly; people with accurate information feel compelled to act responsibly.
The Second Key to Empowerment: Create Autonomy Through Boundaries
Like the lines on a tennis court, the boundaries in an empowerment culture help people keep score and improve their game.
The Third Key to Empowerment: Replace the Old Hierarchy with Self-Directed Individuals and Teams
The perceived division between superior and subordinate is no longer very useful in business organizations. In fact, it works directly counter to success. Success today depends on individual and team effort.
To bring out the best in others, leadership must match the development level of the person being led.
Leaders need to do what the people they supervise can’t do for themselves at the present moment.
There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.
All people have peak performance potential – you just need to know where they
are coming from and meet them there.
Leadership is not something you do to people, but something you do with people.
If empowerment is to be successful, organizations and leaders must develop self leaders in the workforce who have the skills to take initiative.
Empowerment is what leaders give to their people. Self leadership is what people do to make empowerment work.
Don’t buy into the assumed constraint that position power is the only power that works.
You can expect more if you inspect more.
Of all the keys of the One Minute Manager, one minute praisings are the most powerful.
By reaffirming people after you have reprimanded them, you focus on their behavior without attacking them personally.
Many problems in life stem not from making mistakes, but from not learning from our mistakes.
Remember, people are okay. It is just their behavior that is sometimes a problem.
Building highly effective teams, like building a great organization, begins with a picture of what we are aiming for – a target.
No one of us is as smart as all of us, and people have a right to be involved in decisions that affect them.
Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
You finally become an adult when you realize that life is about what you give rather than what you get.