Book Notes: The One Minute Manager

I’m almost certain that the first time I heard of The One Minute Manager by Blanchard and Johnson, it was in deriding the notion that came to mind based on the book’s title.

Having read it, an allegory about a particular management technique which is inspired by a fair amount of behavioral psychology, I can’t say I think it’s universally applicable, but it’s a good set of ideas to apply in many situations.

In essence, what it’s suggesting is:

  • “One Minute Goals” – Set concise goals (which fit on one page and can be read in one minute) that people understand.
  • “One Minute Praisings” – Honestly praise people when thy do well and do it in a timely manner. Encourage them to keep doing great stuff.
  • “One Minute Reprimands” – Honestly and fairly reprimand people when they do something bad, also in a timely manner, expressing your true feelings about that specific matter and then encouraging them to do better.

What the authors are specifically proscribing is either letting your displeasure with someone’s actions building up to a point that expressing this backlog can no longer constructively remedy the situation, or piling on negative feelings you have about something unrelated to that person’s actions. It seems to me that this “say something about it when it happens” philosophy is quite clearly based in a lot of the experimentally-verified ideas about operant conditioning.

Worth a read at only a hundred pages (and used copies widely available for cheap.)

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