If there ever was an international classic in business and management books, “The One Minute Manager” (William Morrow) by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson would be it. Published in 1982 and hailed as a No. 1 bestselling phenomenon, the book has taught millions of managers in Fortune 500 companies and small businesses nationwide how to boost productivity, job satisfaction and personal prosperity.
The philosophy of “One Minute Manager” rests on the execution of three ideas, or “one-minute secrets” as the authors call them: the need to establish specific goals, the need to praise good performance, and the need to reprimand people when they’ve have made mistakes.
With the one-minute goal aspect, the first steps involve agreeing on certain objectives, writing them down in a brief statement and occasionally reviewing them to ensure productivity. The purpose of this process is to confirm that everyone involved understands his or her responsibilities.
The second secret involves one-minute praisings, which applauds your employee when he or she has done something good. That person should be praised immediately and be told specifically what he or she did right. Because, as Blanchard and Johnson note, people who feel good about themselves produce good results.
“The key to developing people will always be to concentrate on catching them doing something right instead of something wrong,” the authors write. “Yet most people are still managed by being basically left alone until they make a mistake that’s noticeable and then their boss criticizes them. I call that a ‘leavealone zap’ management style or ‘Sea gull management.’ Sea gull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly out.”
Blanchard and Johnson see the one-minute reprimand as the third secret and a tool to hold people accountable for their actions. When someone makes a mistake, the first step is to reprimand immediately and specifically. After the reprimand, shake hands and remind the person that he or she is important. Ensure them that it was simply their performance that you didn’t like. However, don’t dwell too long on past mistakes, Blanchard and Johnson warn.
“Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation,” the authors write.”Your intent is to get them back on course, not to try to make them feel badly. Remind them how much you value them. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.”
With more than 13 million copies sold in the United States and 25 different translations around the world, “The One Minute Manager” is considered one of the most influential books about business management ever written. It’s no wonder then that despite being published almost 30 years ago, it continues to be among Amazon’s bestselling business and motivation books.