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The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.
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1-Page Summary1-Page Book Summary of The One-Minute ManagerFast Summary of Shortform's Guide to The One-Minute Manager

The New One-Minute Manager is a guide that teaches managers how to get the most out of their employees. After all, the essence of management is getting results out of an organization’s most important asset: its people. One-minute managers are those who recognize that productivity is a function of both quality and quantity: you need to get good results, and quickly.

They do this by empowering employees and giving them the motivation to do well on their own. One-minute managers do not tell people what to do: they help them realize on their own what they need to do.

New one-minute managers get great results from people by using three simple, but effective management techniques:

  • Goal Setting: makes clear what is important to focus on, and provides a way to measure performance
  • Praising: gives employees confidence that they’re doing well and meeting goals
  • Redirects: holds employees accountable for lower performance and gets the employee back on track to meeting goals

One-Minute Goal Setting

This entails having employees set a 250-word goal for each new task. It puts managers and employees on the same page. The manager knows what the employee is supposed to achieve, while the employee knows what to do without needing constant direction and input.

How They Work

The manager and the employee sit down together to come up with task-specific goals, each readable in one minute or less. These are specific, measurable goals with deadlines, where success is clearly defined. The employee then emails the goals to the manager so they can always be checked for reference and follows up with regular progress reports.

Why They Work

These are effective because they define what constitutes success and promote accountability for achieving specific results. They work because employees are motivated when they have a clear idea of exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. In an ever-changing business world, managers don’t have the time to micromanage their employees. **One-minute goals empower employees to be self-starters and stewards of their own...

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The One-Minute Manager Summary The One-Minute Manager Guide Shortform Introduction

The book 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...

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The One-Minute Manager Summary The One-Minute Manager Guide Introduction: Getting Results

The New One-Minute Manager is all about how to use effective management to get the most out of the people in your organization. The people you manage are the organization’s most valuable asset: they’re the ones who do all of the day-to-day work that enables your organization’s prosperity and success.

Thus, good managers are those who know how to motivate people to produce positive results for the organization.

Most managers fall into one of two different categories of boss.

“Tough” Managers

Managers who care only about the organization. These are autocrats who treat their employees as mere cogs in a machine: they give orders, expect them to be followed, and don’t train their employees to make decisions on their own. For these bosses, you’re only as good as the numbers you produce.

“Nice” Managers

Managers who only care only about people. They are overly concerned about their employees’ feelings and insufficiently focused on achieving results. These managers don’t hold their people accountable for poor performance. This hurts the organization and deprives employees of the opportunity to learn and grow from mistakes.

One-Minute...

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The One-Minute Manager Summary The One-Minute Manager Guide One-Minute Goals

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.

Setting One-Minute Goals

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.

Goals should be clear and define what constitutes success or failure. Deadlines are an important part of this definition, putting everyone on the same page about when items are due. These written performance standards allow you as the one-minute manager to determine whether or not your employee has lived up to her goals.

Once agreed on, the employee follows up regularly regarding the goals:

  1. She emails the goals to you after the meeting.
  2. She checks her work...

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Shortform Exercise: Setting the Objective

Think about these questions to help you set goals and manage expectations.


Have you ever struggled in a job because you were unclear about what you were supposed to be doing? Describe the situation. How do you think you could have avoided this ambiguity?

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The One-Minute Manager Summary The One-Minute Manager Guide One-Minute Praisings

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.

Preparing for One-Minute Praisings

Before you get started with one-minute praisings, you need to do a few things beforehand.

1. Tell your employees right up front that you’ll be giving them immediate feedback. This sets the expectation right out of the gate and eliminates and chance of them being surprised or caught off-guard. You want them to internalize your praise: they might not do this if they’re caught off-guard.

2. Have your employees keep careful records of all their progress toward their goals and make sure they share that progress with you on a regular basis. **You want to catch them doing...

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Shortform Exercise: Praise in Action

Work through these exercises to think about how one-minute praising can improve your performance.


Think of someone you would like to praise for their work. Write down praise that’s specific that relates to exactly what they did, and why you appreciated it.

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The One-Minute Manager Summary The One-Minute Manager Guide One-Minute Redirects

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.

(In the old version of The One-Minute Manager, these were called “One-Minute Reprimands.”)

Prepare for One-Minute Redirects

For one-minute redirects to work, you need to do a few things first.

Set One-Minute Goals

You won’t be able to point out when an employee hasn’t performed up to standards if you never set those standards in the first place. It’s not fair (and it’s ineffective) to reprimand someone for not doing something they didn’t know they were supposed to be doing. Check that the goal is clear too. Sometimes, goals can be unclear, unrealistic, or poorly designed. That’s ok. Just make sure you take responsibility for that as the manager and clarify the goal with your employee.

Set Expectations

As with one-minute praisings, set expectations beforehand by telling employees that you’ll be giving immediate feedback. This matters even more with one-minute redirects: it’s hard...

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Shortform Exercise: Reviewing the Redirects

Work through these exercises to discover how you can use one-minute redirects in your life and career.


Think of someone in your professional or personal life whose performance needs some correction. Describe the situation.

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Table of Contents

  • 1-Page Summary
  • Shortform Introduction
  • Introduction: Getting Results
  • One-Minute Goals
  • Exercise: Setting the Objective
  • One-Minute Praisings
  • Exercise: Praise in Action
  • One-Minute Redirects
  • Exercise: Reviewing the Redirects