Today, I’m thrilled to share a conversation with Dr. Ken Blanchard. Dr. Blanchard is a leadership expert, speaker, and author. His New York Times best-selling book, The One Minute Manager, has sold over 13 million copies. Dr. Ken Blanchard will also be a speaker at our National Leadership Forum this summer in Atlanta. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
Tim Elmore: You have been on a great journey equipping leaders for decades. Millions of us have benefitted from not only The One Minute Manager, but all you’ve written on situational leadership. What are some of your findings today as you continue to equip leaders in so many arenas in your company?
Ken Blanchard: Well Tim, one of the things we are finding now is that leadership is much more of a side-by-side relationship rather than top down. In fact we even rewrote The One Minute Manager for the first time in over 30 years to make it more collaborative. If you want young people to win, you have to stand side-by-side and set goals to keep them accountable. You are just as much accountable for their goal as they are.
Tim: Let’s look at the other side of this coin for just a moment. What would be some of your greatest concerns for leaders in general today, in our high speed, high volume, 21st century world?
Ken: I think the biggest concern is the speed of change. You have to manage the present and create the future at the same time. You don’t want to send people with present-time responsibilities to create your future because they are overwhelmed. You constantly have to learn. You’ve got to constantly challenge yourself emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.
Tim: Ken, you’ve had a special heart for education and the next generation, since the start of your career. Would you talk about that for a minute?
Ken: I think that is so important. With our Blanchard Institute and Foundation, we wanted to put our focus into student self-leadership programs to help students realize they have to lead themselves. They can’t operate on assumed constraints others have put in their heads. We teach them how to collaborate for success with people and ask for the help they need.
Tim: We need voices like yours that are timely and timeless. So let’s discuss what you’re going to be talking about at our National Leadership Forum in June 2016, with our theme being “Leading at Every Level.”
Ken: One of the thoughts that we have is that being an effective leader and creating a great culture, starts with you. We really think that self-knowledge is very important. Once you are comfortable with yourself, the next concern is one-on-one leadership. Then you move on to becoming a team leader, which is more complicated. Now you are trying to build a sense of community. The last one is organizational leadership, where your major focus is creating culture with high results and high satisfaction.
There are two parts to servant leadership, vision and direction. Once you have established yourself as a leader, your job now is to help people win. I look forward to expanding upon this topic at the 2016 National Leadership Forum.