The On-Time On-Target Manager, Ken Blanchard & Steve Gottry (2004)

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The On-Time, On-Target Manager: How a “Last-Minute Manager” Conquered Procrastination

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By (author): Ken Blanchard, Steve Gottry

Ken Blanchard’s phenomenal bestsellers, such as The One Minute Manager and Raving Fans, have made him a globally recognized business legend. Millions look to Blanchard for innovative approaches to management, leadership, customer service, and much more. Now, he has joined with noted business author Steve Gottry to explore one of the most common and insidious problems plaguing the workplace—procrastination.

The On-Time, On-Target Manager is the story of Bob, a typical middle manager who puts things off to the last minute. As a result, he misses deadlines because his lack of focus causes him to accomplish meaningless tasks before getting to the important things. Like many professionals, Bob rationalizes, justifies, and tries to explain. Luckily, Bob is sent to his company’s CEO—which stands for “Chief Effectiveness Officer”—who helps him deal with the three negative side effects of procrastination: lateness, poor work quality, and stress to himself and others. Bob learns how to transform himself from a crisis-prone Last-Minute manager into a productive On-Time, On-Target manager.

With this engaging parable, Blanchard and Gottry offer practical strategies any professional can put into practice to improve his or her performance.

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Procrastination damages everything it touches. Leaders, clients, kids, business and families. It must be admitted to and dealt with. In this fable, Bob, the always late and disorganized manager, meets with a “CEO – Chief Effectiveness Officer,” and hears about the three P’s of being an on-time, on-target manager.
  • Prioritize – Just as an emergency room triage’s its priorities, so should any manager. Decide what is most important and focus on it. Make time each week to do this. This is nothing that Stephen Covey has not stressed. It’s a key to any effective leader. Bob learns to “triage everything!”  And, it is critical to be able to say, NO! If you don’t say no, then you always say yes, and you don’t get the right things done.
  • Propriety – Do the right thing, with the right person, at the right time, in the right order, for the right reasons for the right results. And do it all with intensity. I loved the intensity part. Sometimes we educators can feel sorry for ourselves. There are too many demands on us. People (and we ourselves) expect the impossible. And sometimes we feel like we deserve a little break. If we have a job to do – educating our students – then we should do it by the code above, and above all, we should do it with intensity. Do it as if every second of class time matters. If we really have a sense of urgency about the fact that a child’s failure is a terrible thing, then every moment is precious. We often lose sight of that sense of urgency, and the intensity is often missing. If our unions were as intense about every child learning as there were about every process being followed before a teacher can be urged to improve, we would have better schools. If our administrators focused with intensity on instruction, instead of getting bogged down in bureaucratic nonsense, we would have better schools. Do the right thing, for the right reasons, with intensity.
  • Commitment – Ha ha, it doesn’t begin with P. Bob learns about the custodian who wrote “ya gotta wanna” on the white board every day after he cleaned a classroom. It made a difference with kids. There is a big difference between being interested in something and being committed. How committed are you?

A very good fable, and a way to live every day. I like it.