This year marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of The One Minute Manager. With over 13 million copies sold in 37 languages, it’s one of the bestselling business books of all-time and continues to inspire leaders around the world with its practical wisdom on managing people. The elegantly simple techniques of One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands have enabled leaders and managers to be more productive, satisfied, and prosperous in their jobs.
I recently had the chance to interview the One Minute Manager (OMM) to get his thoughts on what today’s leaders should be doing to build trust. Here’s what we discussed:
Randy: Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of your story being published. You must feel very proud.
OMM: I’m humbled that Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson felt my story was worth sharing and took the time to write a book about it. I’m gratified that it’s helped so many people.
Randy: I’m interested to know what you think leaders should be doing to build trust with their followers and stakeholders.
OMM: Well, I think having trustworthy relationships is the number one priority for leaders, and the three secrets support a leader in achieving that goal.
Randy: I thought the three secrets were techniques for managing people more effectively. Explain to me how they help leaders build trust.
OMM: One aspect of building trust is being competent in your role as a leader, and certainly practicing the three secrets displays your competence. Specifically, the first secret, One Minute Goals, allows leaders to build trust by setting clear performance expectations. People are more apt to trust you as a leader if you’re clear with them on what you expect them to do. Unclear expectations result in miscommunication, wasted energy, and ambiguity, which ultimately leads to mistrust of the leader.
Randy: So tell me how your second secret, One Minute Praisings, helps leaders build trust.
OMM: One of the easiest ways to build trust with others is to catch them doing something right! Recognizing and rewarding good work are key trust-building behaviors. When you take time to praise others, it shows that you value their contributions and you want them to succeed. If you fail to recognize the good work of your people, or even worse, hog the limelight and take credit for their work, you severely damage trust in the relationship. One Minute Praisings communicate care and concern, and when your people see that you care about them as individuals, they trust that you have good intentions toward them.
Randy: It’s amazing to see how One Minute Goals and One Minute Praisings support building trust. The third secret, One Minute Reprimands, seems a little counter-intuitive in regards to building trust. Help me understand.
OMM: On the surface it may seem counter-intuitive, but in reality, a One Minute Reprimand is another way of showing that you care about people and you want to help them succeed. When you give a One Minute Reprimand, you are reprimanding the behavior, not the person, and you’re giving the reprimand because you want to prevent that person from suffering the same mistake again in the future. People trust and respect leaders who give them honest, yet caring feedback about their performance. Leaders that hold themselves and others accountable create a culture of safety, security, and clear boundaries, which acts as a breeding ground for trust. A One Minute Reprimand is honest and caring feedback which is essential to have in a high-trust relationship.
Randy: Thank you for spending time with me. Your One Minute Secrets have helped me in my career as a leader and now I see how they’ve also helped me build trust with others.
OMM: It’s been my pleasure and I ask you to do just one thing: share it with others.
This is one in a series of LeaderChat articles on the topic of trust by Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies. For more insights on trust and leadership, visit the Leading with Trust blog or follow Randy on Twitter @RandyConley.
Earlier this week Ken Blanchard appeared on Dave Ramsey’s business talk show to discuss the enduring impact of Ken’s classic book, The One Minute Manager, which he co-authored with Spencer Johnson. Ramsey wanted to know Ken’s thoughts on why The One Minute Manager remained so popular today–18 million copies later. Ken’s response? The book remains relevant because it identifies simple human truths about working together. See if you agree. Here are the three secrets of one minute management:
- Set One-Minute Goals— All good performance starts with clear goals. Without clear goals your leadership doesn’t really matter. If people don’t know where you’re going, how can you help them get there? Goal setting gets everything started. It is creating a clear picture of what good performance looks like and what are the expected behaviors to get there.
- One Minute Praising. The second secret is to look for opportunities to catch people doing things right. People love to be acknowledged for their work. It’s unique and rewarding when a manager comes around and is looking for things that are going right instead of wrong. You don’t want to be a seagull manager who only flies in, makes a lot of noise and dumps on people when there are problems.
- The One Minute Reprimand. This is how you deal with people when they’re not performing up to expectations. The key here is to focus on the behavior and not the person. It’s also important to distinguish between “can’t do” behavior versus “won’t do” behavior. A One Minute Reprimand is for people who have the skills and talent to do better. If the problem is a lack of skills or training, then it is more appropriate to use redirection instead of a reprimand. This means taking a second look at goals, identifying needed resources and support, etc.
How do these three principles sound to you? Are they still relevant in today’s business environment? Share your thoughts and comments below.