3 Things I Learned Interning at My Family’s Leadership Training Company This Summer

Scott-Ken-Kurtis-ATD2016This guest post is by Blanchard family member Kurtis Blanchard. 

Growing up in a family that works in the leadership and management training business (The Ken Blanchard Companies), I heard the topic of leadership discussed incessantly—not just at the dinner table but also in the car, at sporting events, all day, every day.

But it was just background noise to me.

All I had cared about my whole life was sports. I spent most of my time from ages 5 to 18 focused on being the best possible athlete I could be. It wasn’t until I entered college—when athletics were no longer a priority—that I began to wonder how I could remain involved in sports even though I wasn’t playing anymore.

I became very interested in sports leadership. There are a million YouTube videos with great, inspiring examples of sports-themed motivational speakers.

I started to think that maybe I could be one of those guys.

All of a sudden the constant talk about leadership training went from being noise to being a fascinating opportunity. The timing was perfect for me to serve as an intern in my family’s business.

I’m just finishing my third month but I’ve already learned a lot. Here are three things I’ve discovered:

  1. Passion, Connection, and Relationships are Essential

It’s much easier to wake up and go to work every day when you feel that what you do has a meaningful impact on thousands of people around the world. One of my assignments this summer was to interview 20 people at the company as a part of a culture initiative. I found out people at The Ken Blanchard Companies love to come to work. They believe in what they are doing and they have deep respect and affection for the people they work with. As a result, complicated work gets done quickly through collaboration. Every person buys into getting the best possible result. People rely on their coworkers. I finally understand what my grandparents mean when they say “No one of us is as smart as all of us.”

  1. One-on-One Meetings Make All the Difference for Employees

Part of my weekly routine has included one-on-one meetings with my immediate manager. Each one is a structured conversation that confirms my manager and I are on the same page about what I am supposed to be doing. In these conversations I uncover good ideas, gain more clarity, and get re-energized. I come away more confident, more competent, and super focused on what needs to be done. I can’t imagine how managers and employees build solid working relationships in companies where they don’t do one-on-ones.

  1. Internships Open Up Possibilities

I never imagined that what I used to consider background noise would become something I wake up in the morning and go to bed thinking about. Through my internship, I’ve been inspired to see how much leadership training can improve the workplace—so inspired, in fact, that I have set a goal to follow a professional path that will allow me to make a difference in people’s lives inside and outside the workplace.

Who would have thought? No one is more surprised than I am to see leadership training and development go from being background noise to what I now consider a dream job.

About the Author

Kurtis BlanchardWhen he is not interning at The Ken Blanchard Companies, Kurtis Blanchard is a sophomore pursuing a degree in Psychology at Mesa College.

6 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned Interning at My Family’s Leadership Training Company This Summer

  1. Thanks Kurtis for blogging your real-world experience of leading and being lead, highlighting your transition from hearing leadership as whitenoise to getting the context and learning the positive impact. Your story conveys excellent reminders on leadership learnings for us all. Great pic of you, Scott and Ken, and all the best for your ongoing studies and leadership journey.

  2. Enjoyed your three learnings while you were interning Kurtis. It is inspirational and I plan to forward it to some young people who will benefit from what you learned as an intern in an area that was of interest to you.

  3. What a terrific blog post, Kurtis! Your perceptive insights are good reminders for us all about the power of relationships, one-on-one meetings, and immersion learning. Love your observation that Blanchard employees have “deep respect and affection for the people they work with.” Couldn’t have said it better myself! Now you know why I love my job so much.

  4. You easily got along because, you knew what you wanted. Do, it was so easily to identify it when you saw it. Cordial relationship in work is the responsibility of the superior officer to his subordinate to create while any employee that refuse yo play along is not fitted to such organisation.

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