The One-Minute Manager: Quotes by Ken Blanchard

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The One-Minute Manager" by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Looking for The One-Minute Manager quotes? What passages best highlight the lessons from the book?

The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard is a business fable for managers. The story teaches three core principles: one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute re-directs.

Here are the best quotes from Ken Blanchard’s book.

The One-Minute Manager Quotes

The One-Minute Manager is written in the form of a narrative fable. In this story, a young man visits the new one-minute manager and learns from him the three secrets of successful one-minute management. We later learn that he applies these principles in his own life and career to great effect, becoming a one-minute manager himself.

Here are the best The One-Minute Manager quotes that discuss the lessons of the fable:

“After all, how can you be an effective manager unless you and your team are clear about goals and what good performance looks like?”

One-minute goals are the foundation of the one-minute manager philosophy. They set the tone for all subsequent interactions between the manager and the employee, because they are the gold standard against which all of the employee’s subsequent feedback (both positive and negative) will be held. Anything that is measurable, has a clear standard of success or failure, and that has a deadline, can be defined as a goal. 

“Help people reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right.”

Once they’ve set goals, one-minute managers use one-minute praisings to motivate their employees. One-minute praisings are quick bursts of positive affirmation delivered by the manager to the employee when the employee has done something that helps the organization. 

In many organizations, people are only given feedback when they’re doing something wrong. This is demotivating and puts employees on edge. Consistently and immediately praising people for their work lets people know how they’re doing and encourages them to work even harder to earn even more praise.

“Praising people doesn’t always work if it isn’t combined with re-directs to correct mistakes when they occur.”

You can’t praise employees’ good work without also holding them accountable them when they don’t perform up to expectations. The two balance out to keep workers on track to achieving their goals. As a one-minute manager, you need to master the one-minute redirect technique. 

“Instead of setting our goals for us, he listens to our input and works side-by-side with us to develop them. After we agree on our most important goals, each is described on one page.”

At the beginning of a new task or responsibility, you sit down with your employee to come up with specific goals related to that task. Each goal and its performance standard should be defined in no more than 250 words, making it readable in one minute or less.

The One-Minute Manager: Quotes by Ken Blanchard

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Here's what you'll find in our full The One-Minute Manager summary :

  • How to empower your employees and teach them to succeed
  • Why immediate and direct feedback is the most effective
  • How to offer constructive criticism to correct behavior

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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