To my mother, Dorothy Blanchard,
who taught me how to take control of my own life
before someone else did.
To my wonderful parents, Phyllis and Dick,
who helped me realize the magic of self leadership
by encouraging my curiosity, independence,
and love of learning.
To my three daughters, Genevieve, Ashley, and Juliet,
with the fondest hope that they may be beneﬁciaries
of these self leadership concepts and tools
and immerse themselves in the good life.
Introduction by Ken Blanchard
Do You Believe in Magic?
People Are Not Mind Readers
Cycles of Power
Getting What You Need
One Minute Magic
Appendix: The Business Card Trick
About the Authors
Other Books by Ken Blanchard and Susan Fowler
About the Publisher
In the last decade or so, the old deal in business has
changed. In the past, the workforce traded loyalty for
job security. If you showed up to work, made a good
effort, and stayed out of trouble, you were usually
secure in your job. When I graduated from college in
the early 1960s, one of my friends got a job with AT&T
and called home. His mother cried with joy. “You’re set
for life,” she said.
Are you set for life today with any organization?
No! Lifetime employment is a thing of the past. Over
the last number of years, I’ve been trying to ﬁnd out
what the new deal is. Talking to top managers around
the world, I’ve asked, “If it’s not loyalty you want from your workforce today, what do you want?” The answers have been pretty universal: “I want people who are problem solvers and are willing to take initiative.
I want people working for me who act like they own
In other words, top managers, given a choice,
would like empowered people—individuals they can
respect and trust to make good business decisions,
whether top managers are around or not.
Does the workforce object to that? No! In fact,
I’ve asked people, “What do you want from an organi-
vi / Introduction
zation if job security is no longer available?” Again, the answers have been pretty universal. People today want
two things. First, they want honesty. “Don’t lie to us.
Don’t tell us at one point there will be no layoffs and
then turn around a few months later and lead a major
Second, people want opportunities to constantly
learn new skills. “At some point, if I have to look
for a new job—either inside or outside my present
organization—I want to have better skills and be more
valuable than I was before.” What better way to become
more valuable than to be able to take initiative, become
a problem solver, and act and think like an owner.
Bingo! We have agreement. Then what’s the problem? Most people will argue that most managers are not willing to let go, that they still want to maintain
control. These managers talk a good game but they still
want to be in charge and prefer good subordinates who
follow the lead of their superiors. Today’s reality in
the world of work suggests that managers today, if they
are to be effective, must think and act in different
ways. In the 1980s, a manager typically supervised ﬁve
people—the span of control was one manager to ﬁve
direct reports. To be competitive, organizations today
must be customer driven, cost effective, fast, ﬂexible,
and continuously improving. This has led to more
mean-and-lean organizational structures where spans
Introduction / vii
of control have increased considerably. It is not uncommon today to ﬁnd one manager for twenty-ﬁve to seventy-ﬁve direct reports. Add to that the emergence of virtual organizations—where managers are being asked to supervise people they never meet...
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