Review: The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

Review: The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

Are you a new manager? It seems to me that every organization I have ever joined has some kind of required reading for managers. When I worked at UPS as a supervisor in the revenue auditing department it was the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. Now that has been revised and updated into the New One Minute Manager, mostly in order to align itself to the organizational changes we’ve seen as operations become more agile and employment opportunities more competitive. To be honest I’m not sure that UPS even uses this book anymore but I decided to revisit the updated version and review it because I found it difficult to implement personally. Back then I had 22 people working two different part time shifts at 5 hour clips. It was not easy getting around to everyone in a single day and although I think it worked for some people, it did not work for everyone. But it does beg to question, is there anything in this book worth using?

The One Minute Manager breaks itself down into three premises. The first one makes sense and it is:

  • Set simple goals for employees and make sure they understand them

This helps keep everyone on the same page and gives a  yard stick to judge performance by. This makes sense, and goal setting is common for employees. How can you score points without a goal? The book then delves into the second premise:

  • Praise an employee for one minute early on when you observe them doing something right

According to the author, being able to give someone a positive message that they’re doing something good helps motivate them. It encourages them to keep up that behavior in the future, and also lets them know that their good behavior is being noticed. It’s also supposed to be done early on when the employee is starting a task and then sparingly afterwards, so the employee can learn to direct their own work toward their goals with good results. This seems logical to me. Then here comes the next premise:

  • Redirect the employee for one minute when they make a mistake

This seems to be the one that sticks with most people who read the book. Oftentimes they feel it is manipulative. The author stresses honesty and kindness in the approach, but if you’re hearing about a mistake for a minute as an employee it may not seem that way. I also think this must have been a change in the text. I was told in my position to always start with a one minute redirect and follow it up with a one minute praise, so that in two minutes you instructed the employee but did not cause them to lose motivation.

In general, I think the book’s premises could work if done properly but probably only if you have a team of seven or less. This way you can build a good rapport with them so it doesn’t seem like you’re popping in on their work without really understanding it. One really good takeaway though is that the process does remind employees to continue looking at their goals so they know if their actions get them closer towards attaining it. This way an employee can do better on annual reviews when it’s raise time, instead of being confronted by a list a of things they did wrong when it’s too late to fix it. Taking this approach can make someone defensive and isn’t constructive at all. I think anyone who has blind sided in a review can relate.

If these concepts jive with you, and you’d like to learn more, you can find it HERE.

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