A Book For Everyone

Gung Ho! By Ken Blanchard

Reading business books is something I’ve always done. Each one has usually offered some unique insight into better ways of conducting my business, but if I had to single out one book which influenced the most change in my life it would clearly be Gung Ho! By Ken Blanchard.

Blanchard has written many great books about running business, but Gung Ho! is amazing because it helps to explain how leadership can be a natural process instead of something forced upon others. Most business leaders struggle with delegation and team building, but Blanchard uses his book to create a story about how leading others can be a very natural process.

In the story, he shares that motivation for humans is much like the natural motivation found in animals. He uses three examples beginning with what he calls the “spirit of the squirrel,” explaining that squirrels stay busy and work hard because they perceive their tasks as “worthwhile.” Blanchard’s message is that if workers perceive their work to have a higher value than just a paycheck, they will be properly motivated.

Next, he describes why micro-management is counterproductive by illustrating that beavers never have to be told exactly where to place the logs when building a dam, because as long as the dam holds back water, they have reached their objective. Leaders who understand this give their teams the freedom to make choices as long as the end result matches company goals.

Finally, Blanchard describes the “gift of the goose,” or the honking sound geese make as noise of celebration. He parallels this to posting and sharing of team goals which allow team members constant feedback on their efforts and also allows the leaders a chance to celebrate everyday success. He points out that this leads to “catching workers doing something right” instead of focusing on the things that go wrong.

Gung Ho! Also supplies a lot of great lessons for our personal lives and how we interact with others. It opened my eyes about 20 years ago to a much better way of leading and interacting with others. It’s a very easy read (big print and not many pages), so I encourage you to pick up a copy and get a new perspective on leadership before starting 2017. Every time I re-read it I’m glad I did. Check it out on Amazon.

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