Ken Blanchard - renowned industry leader, author of the
best-selling One-Minute Manager and Legend Speaker at ASTD
International Conference and Exhibition in 2003 - talks candidly
with us about his visions and philosophies. Check out an excerpt of
this interview below.
K. B. Of all the things I've taught over the
years, I think the most important is to accentuate the positive and
to catch people doing things right. I'm working with Dave Novak,
chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell, A&W
Root Beer, and Long John Silver's. If David catches anyone doing
anything right, he gives them a floppy chicken. He writes the
person's name and what they have done on the floppy chicken. When
David flew to Japan to attend the funeral of the top franchisee
there, the franchisee's widow said to him, "David, do you mind if
we bury his floppy chicken with him?" People love to be recognized.
Unfortunately, people focus on the negative because they think when
things are going well they can relax. This starts with our parents.
If the kids are playing well, they relax. But, when one kid hits
the other, suddenly parenting begins. If you want to encourage
people to keep up good behavior, notice the good behavior.
Most organizations have the attitude that people are supposed to be
They have this normal distribution mentality that essentially says
that some people are supposed to lose. I find that so offensive and
ridiculous. You hire people who are either winners - or potential
winners - people who you think will do well if you train them and
work with them.
So why would you ever want to rate people down? The only reason to
get rid of an employee is if it's mutually agreed that he or she is
in the wrong job. If you do a good job of coaching and working with
people, people ought to be able to win. We could build trust in
organizations if we weren't arbitrarily deciding that some people
are going to lose.
When I was a college professor, I was investigated by the faculty
committees because on the first day of class I always gave out the
final exam. They said "What are you doing? Don't give them the
questions of the final exam." I said, "I thought I was supposed to
teach these kids. Not only am I going to give them the questions of
the final exam, I'm going to teach them the answers so that when
they get the final exam, they'll get an A." Life is all about
getting As, not some normal distribution curve. That's why I think
trust is hard in so many organizations.
Along those same lines, Margaret McBride and I decided to create a
National Apology Day. Why? Because we all make mistakes; we all
fall short of perfection. We all do things that we wish we hadn't
done. The main concept is that the longer you wait to admit a
wrong-doing and to apologize for it, the quicker a weakness is
perceived as wickedness. An apology ends with integrity, where you
try to make amends for what you did wrong, and most importantly,
you commit to not do it again. Without a commitment to change a
behavior, the apology would be hollow.