One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson – Review


The One Minute Manager is a how-to book on how to manage people more effectively.

More accurately, it’s about managing people’s responsibilities more effectively. This happens by:

  • spending one minute setting goals with people that clearly communicate expectations and responsibilities for their behavior,
  • spending one minute praising someone as soon as they do something right to create a pattern of reward and success, and
  • spending one minute reprimanding someone’s behavior that ultimately shows care for them and your unwavering commitment to the goals you’ve set for them.

The idea is that you quickly and easily get to the heart of every issue, and because of this you are better suited to lead well and live well.

What I Learned (Or Was Reminded Of)

Delegation requires active participation. We can all also take a more behavior approach to getting to results. I talk about this with clients in my role at Blue Ocean Ideas. Most times all think that finding the right tool and using it in the right way will produce results – the right software, or new social media channel, or ad strategy. Not so. It is the behavior of human beings that can produce results. And The One Minute Manager echoed that sentiment in its approach towards management techniques.

The more feedback loops we can place in our lives the better we’ll be able to adjust our behavior. If I can be more immediately “rewarded” for the good things I do, and “reprimanded” for the bad, the sooner I can adjust my behavior to achieve the goals I already want to achieve. It’s the manager’s job to help create these feedback loops for people.

I want this in all of my life. Primarily, this starts with my wife Lisa. But it’s equally important, I think, to get my business partner, friends, clients, employees, and everyone I can as much permission as I can to give me feedback. Of course, this requires a lot of clarity, humility, and boldness on everyone’s part.

Other Major Points – Whether I Agree With Them Or Not

  • Touch is a powerful force. It breaks down walls with people. When you touch someone, though, it cannot be to take something from them. Touch has to be made in a spirit of generosity.
  • “Goals Begin Behaviors | Consequences Maintain Behaviors”
  • As a measurement of how I’m doing in leading people and setting expectations, I can look to how many times I repeat myself. If I have to say the same thing over and over, it means something is not being translated well in the first place. There is not enough time for this.
  • Get permission from people to manage in a certain way. If you ask someone, “Would you like this?” and they say yes, there is a clarity of expectation and situation that’s mutually beneficial.

What I Underlined

The One Minute Manager

  • “…productivity…quantity of work done. It is also the quality.”
  • “…I don’t make decisions for other people.”

The First Secret: One Minute Goals

  • “…in most organizations when you ask people what they do and then ask their boss, all too often you get two different lists.”
  • “…The One Minute Manager…makes it clear what our responsibilities are and what we are being held accountable for.”
  • “…Tell me…what your problem is – but put it in behavioral terms…I do not want to hear about only attitudes or feelings. Tell me what is happening in observable, measurable terms.”
  • “‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Then don’t waste my time,’ he snapped.”
  • *** “If you can’t tell me what you’d like to be happening…you don’t have a problem yet. You’re just complaining. A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.

The Second Secret: One Minute Praisings

  • “…spend a fair amount of time with me at the beginning of a new task or responsibility.”
  • “…One Minute Praisings.”
  • “…crystal-clear feedback…”
  • “…cautioned me it might not be very comfortable at first for either of us.”
  • “…I get a praising as soon as I’ve done something right.” [my margin note: feedback loops]

The Third Secret: One Minute Reprimands

  • “…the One Minute Manager is quick to respond…First he confirms the facts…and tells me precisely what I did wrong. Then he shares with me how he feels about it–he’s angry, annoyed, frustrated or whatever he’s feeling.”
  • “…he doesn’t attack me as a person–only my behavior…”

Why One Minute Goals Work

  • “They assume they should know. I never assume anything when it comes to goal setting.”

Why One Minute Praisings Work

  • “…gradually moving them towards the desired behavior.”
  • “After getting punished for a while and not knowing what acceptable behavior is…the pigeon would go into the corner of the box and not move. To the pigeon it is a hostile environment and not worth taking any risks in.”

Why One Minute Reprimands Work

  • “…feedback in the One Minute Reprimand is immediate.” [my margin note: feedback loops]
  • “It is not appropriate to gunnysack or save up negative feelings about someone’s poor performance.”
  • “…performance review is an ongoing process, not something you do only once a year.”
  • “…the person receiving the reprimand can ‘hear’ the feedback…deals with one behavior at a time…fair and clear…”
  • “…reprimand the behavior only…”
  • “…make the second have of the reprimand a praising…Their behavior is not OK. They are OK.”
  • “…the told her first what she did, and second, how they felt about it…and they told her how much they loved her…”
  • “…crisis intervention…telling people what they did wrong; telling people how you feel about it; and reminding people that they are valuable and worthwhile–lead to significant improvements in people’s behavior.”
  • “Each parent is taught to physically touch their child…tells the child exactly what he did wrong and how the parent feels about it…Finally, the parent takes a deep breath, and allows for a few seconds of silence–so the child can feel whatever the parent is feeling. Then the parent tells the youngster how valuable and important the child is to the parent.”
  • ***”…remember that behavior and worth are not the same things. What is worthwhile is the person managing their own behavior.”
  • “…really care about the welfare of the person you are reprimanding.”
  • When you touch, don’t take. Touch the people you manage only when you are giving them something–reassurance, support, encourangement, whatever.”
  • “However manipulation is getting people to do something they are either not aware of or don’t agree to. That is why it is so important to let each person know up front  what you are doing and why.”
  • “…power of your management style…you care about people.”
  • “…you have to care enough to be tough.”
  • “Goals Begin Behaviors | Consequences Maintain Behaviors”
  • “I do not have time to continually repeat myself.”
  • “I mean go to work for yourself…Nobody ever really works for anybody else. I just help people work better and in the process they benefit our organization.”

A Gift To Yourself

  • “No one felt manipulated or threatened because everyone knew ‘up front’ what he was doing and why.”
  • “…greater results in less time…time to think and to plan…time to exercise and stay healthy.”
  • “…glad he had not waited to use One Minute Management until he thought to do it just right.”
  • “…his staff had read about this management system, he had asked each person who reported to him if they would like to be managed by a One Minute Manager.”


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