Leading at a Higher Level

In this book, Leading at a Higher Level: Blanchard on Leadership and Creating High Performing Organizations, Ken Blanchard summarizes his thoughts on leadership and building winning teams and winning businesses.

  • Set your sights on the right target and vision
    • Is your organization high performing?
    • Is it a visionary organization that endures beyond any one leader?
    • The power of vision
      • The best way to predict your future is to create it
      • The vision provides guidance for daily decisions so that people are aiming at the right target, not working at cross-purposes with each other
    • Focus on 3 – 4 values that really impact behavior
  • Treat your customers right
    • Serving customers at a higher level
      • Discover what your customers want
      • Solicit customer and market feedback
    • Recover quickly from your mistakes. Legendary service is not about arguing over who is right or finding someone else to blame – it is about fixing the problem for the customer.
  • Treat your people right
    • People need to have worthwhile work
    • People need to be in control of achieving goals
    • People need to cheer each other on
      • You cannot over-emphasize the power of catching each other doing things right and accentuating the positive
  • Empowerment is the Key
    • Empowerment is the creation of an organizational climate that releases the knowledge, experience and motivation that reside in people.
    • Employee should ask
      • What do I need to do to help my company succeed?
    • Leaders should ask
      • What do you think needs to be done, and why is it important?
      • What do you think your goals should be?
      • How do you think you should go about achieving your goals?
    • Keys to Empowerment
      • Share information with everyone
      • Create autonomy through boundaries (guard rails)
      • Replace the old hierarchy with self-directed individuals and teams
  • Self Leadership – The Power Behind Empowerment
    • Unless the individual learns, the organization cannot learn
    • Keys of a self-leader
      • Challenge assumed constraints
      • Celebrate your points of power
    • The best leaders are those who have position power and never have to use it
  • Essential Skills – The One Minute Manager
    • Beware of seagull management
      • When a mistake is made, seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and fly out.
    • Goal setting
      • Three to five goals is ideal
    • One minute praisings
      • Good relationships are about the frequency with which you catch each other doing something right
      • Getting close counts – praise them for job well done even if it is not perfect
      • Praise progress
    • Reprimand is for those with a “won’t do” or attitudinal problems
    • Redirection is for people who “can’t do” or who are experiencing problems.
      • Do they know that they have made a mistake or that the problem exists
    • One minute apology
  • Situational Leadership
    • Directing, Coaching, Supporting, Delegating
    • Developmental level varies from Goal to Goal or Task to Task for the same individual
    • “Different strokes for the same folks”
    • Leaders need to do what the people they supervise cannot do for themselves at the present moment
    • It is much easier to loosen up than to tighten up
    • Leverage people’s strengths
  • Situational Leadership: Partnering for Performance
    • Treat people the right way by providing the direction, support, and encouragement they need to be their best
    • With disagreement between leader and direct report on developmental level, the direct report should win
    • Directing
      • How would it be if I set a task goal that I believe will stretch you but that is attainable, and then develop an action plan for you that will enable you to reach the goal?
      • Then, I would like to meet with you on a regular basis to discuss your progress and provide any help that you need as you get started
    • Delegating
      • The ball is in your court. But, keep me in the information loop. If you have any concerns, give me a call.
      • Unless I hear from you, or the information I receive tells me otherwise, I will assume everything is fine.
      • If it is not, call early. Do not wait until the monkey is a gorilla.
    • Management By Wandering Around captures the essence of performance coaching
    • Declining Performance
      • Rarely occurs from a decline in competence
      • Occurs either because the job and the necessary skills to perform it have changed, or because people have lost their commitment
      • Primary reason for loss of commitment is the behavior of the leader and/or the organization
  • Situational Team Leadership
    • “No one of us is as smart as all of us.”
    • People have a right to be involved in decisions that affect them
    • To be a team member, you must become proficient in the skill of participating and observing
  • Organizational Leadership
    • Effective organizational leadership is more about managing the journey of change than announcing the destination
    • Whatever you do, make sure people have some success experiences to build on before implementing more change
    • People often resent change when they have no involvement in how it should be implemented. So, contrary to popular belief, people don’t resist change – they resist being controlled
  • Strategies for Managing a Change
    • The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping old ones
    • People who are left out of shaping change have a way of reminding us that they are really important
      • Those who plan the battle rarely battle the plan
    • Avoid death by 1,000 initiatives
      • Consciously decide what not to do
    • Over-communicate the changes and the reason behind them
      • People in organizations are so bombarded with information that one of the best ways to sort out what requires action versus what does not is to listen for the messages that are communicated repeatedly over time.
      • Communicate your key messages ten times in ten different ways
    • Organizations should spend ten times more energy reinforcing the change they just made than looking for the next great change to try
  • Servant Leadership
    • When it comes to vision and values, you have to say it over and over and over again until people get it right, right, right
    • Profit is the applause you get from taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people
    • Do the people around the servant leader become wiser, freer, more autonomous, healthier, and better able themselves to become servant leadership
    • From Good to Great, servant leadership requires will and humility
      • Humility is the capacity to realize that leadership is not about the leader
      • People with humility do not think less of themselves; they just think about themselves less
      • People with humility do not deny their power; they just recognize that it passes through them, not from them
      • Will is the determination to follow through on a vision / mission / goal
    • SERVE
      • S – See the future
      • E – Engage and develop people
      • R – Reinvent continuously (learn)
      • V – Value both results and relationships
      • E – Embody the values
  • Determine your leadership point of view
    • Ken Blanchard
      • Leaders have to make sure that everyone is aiming at the right target and vision
      • Leaders have to make sure that everyone is treating both their customers and people right
      • As leaders, they need to focus on serving, not being served
    • Ken Blanchard’s Father
      • Leadership is both/and – both people and results are important
    • The most important thing in life is to decide what is important
    • Let people know your leadership point of view so that they know what they can expect from you

About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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1 Response to Leading at a Higher Level

  1. David,

    Well done – thanks for keeping us focused.


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