Blue field like crop rows and burgundy border, saying "Don't Just Survive - Thrive
The Leadership Pill by Ken Blanchard on a stripey rug

The Leadership Pill

By Ken Blanchard + Marc Muchinick

I really detest the “fake story” books that take time and pages and have very little to them, which is why this blog actually exists. This book has some nice wisdom in it for someone looking to understand how to improve as a leader (I read it, thinking to myself, “Maybe I should try a little harder when I see leadership breaking down.”) but I really don’t like paging through fluff to get it.

Here’s the meat:

The premise is that everyone does something a certain way because they say it works. I wanted to add my own spin to this because I am finding that “the way it works” is largely dominated by ideas about how management should be done from an industrial, male-dominated workplace. Leadership has changed over time with women entering the workforce while desiring to “have it all” in terms of work-life balance. I grew up with a father that didn’t understand the concept and as things continue to progress, companies that don’t improve their perspective will have trouble keeping pace.

  • Leadership is not just what happens when you’re there, it’s what happens when you’re not there – consider the Triple Bottom Line: great companies are the provider of choice, the employer of choice, and the investment of choice.
  • Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for people
    • Integrity: foundation for trust and respect
      • Start meetings on time because we don’t reward slacking
      • Be the person you want others to be
      • Trust happens when values and behavior align
    • Partnership: harvests the potential of the team
      • Take time on the relationship building (show up early, stay late)
      • Share the big picture so everyone understands where you’re coming from (I go over our full company financials each month with our team and have a transparent “Fix This Next” process all employees can see)
    • Affirmation: lets people know what they do is important
      • Praise is the easiest way (but in private, not always public, that can be embarrassing) – we have a company wide “Sparkle Train” where we can tag cool stuff when we see it and people can see what others say in a private setting but EVERYONE can also see praise being modeled and received
      • Work-life balance lets people know you trust them to do the work
        • Flex time, job sharing, telecommuting, compressed work weeks
        • We even have $100/month stipends for employee wellness that can be used to treat yo’self. People use it for fancy nights out, massages, ammo for shooting sessions, and hair care. No limits, just a treat.
      • Encouraging vacations and mental health days will allow people do more when recovered
  • Leadership is not something you do to people, it’s what you do with them (they have to agree)
  • People will think for themselves when you quit doing it for them – don’t burn yourself out with leading, give it to others