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Gung Ho! (The One Minute Manager)


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About the Author

Ken Blanchard is the founder and Chairman of The Ken Blanchard Companies. His One Minute Manager series has sold over thirteen million copies and been translated into more than 25 languages. He has also written or co-authored numerous other books, including Gung Ho!, Big Bucks! and Raving Fans


Blanchard and Bowles (Raving Fans) lay out a three-step strategy for motivating employees: make sure they know why their work is important; give them control of how they do their jobs; provide encouragement. The authors related their story through the voice of a female plant manager who is said to have learned these truths from a Native American manager who had been told them by his grandfather. The book reads like a fable, e.g., the first step is presented as "The Spirit of the Squirrel." The construct wears thin. Worse, the authors offer no specifics about how employees should work together (gung ho in Chinese), and what exactly management should do all day, except make sure all three steps recommended here are followed. If in fact employees really are a company's most important asset, as managers everywhere seem fond of noting, one might wonder why such a three-step plan is needed at all. (Oct.)

In these days where the computer reigns supreme and management thought is presented in complicated models, there is something refreshing about management principles taught by allegory. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager, LJ 3/1/84), along with coauthor Bowles (Raving Fans, Morrow, 1993) recounts an organizational turnaround based on three Native American lessons. In "The Spirit of the Squirrel," the lesson is one of the power of worthwhile work. In "The Way of the Beaver," the lesson is accomplished through empowerment. In "The Gift of the Goose," the lesson is the exponential factor of motivation. The problem inherent in the principles in this work, or any change program from weight-loss diets on up, is that there needs to be constant focus; success, if it is not continually renewed, is dissipated over time. Although new, this work makes a good preface and companion to Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox's The Goal (North River, 1992. 2d ed.).‘Steven Silkunas, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, Philadelphia

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