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The Secret: What Great Leaders Know -- And Do [Hardcover]

Ken Blanchard , Mark Miller
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2009
Thoroughly updated for today's leaders in tough economic times, The Secret (with over 250,000 copies sold) answers the question that most leaders ask themselves at some point in their career, "What do I need to do to be a great leader?" This revised and expanded edition features a completely new section on teaching the SERVE model outlined in the book in your organization, a new introduction by John Maxwell, and additional material clarifying and expanding upon the concept of servant leadership, the idea at the heart of the book.

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From Publishers Weekly

Debbie, the heroine of this insipid business novella, is an archetypal customer relations executive who fails to wring improved performance from her micro-managed and dispirited subordinates. CEO Jeff takes her under his wing to impart the wisdom of "servant leadership" as exemplified by such figures as Jimmy Carter, Spartacus and, most of all, Jesus of Nazareth. Under his mentor, Debbie realizes that a leader’s role is to inspire and empower underlings both in the workplace and in their personal lives. She learns to delegate so that she can focus on "vision" and "values." She commits herself to a project of "Reinventing Continuously" and she comes to understand that, since people are essences, not constructs, it’s better to leverage employees’ strengths rather than trying to fix their shortcomings; hiring decisions are therefore all-important and should involve no less than four exhaustive interviews. Armed with these principles, Debbie makes a spectacular new hire, gets her team to come up with the slogan "From Worst to First" and enlists them in continuous improvement of the work process. Soon performance skyrockets (exactly how remains somewhat mysterious), garnering Debbie a standing ovation and promotion to head of Leadership Development. Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, and Miller, an executive at the Chick-fil-A fast food chain, construct a rickety fictional matrix to support their high-minded but rather familiar leadership nostrums. Written in stilted business-school lingo ("‘Hi Deb! Looks like you’re managing by walking around today!’"), the narrative and dialogue elements come off as awkward filler that only accentuates the staleness of the truisms on offer.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ken Blanchard is a prominent author, speaker, and business consultant. His phenomenal bestselling book, The One Minute Manager has sold more than ten million copies worldwide, is still on bestseller lists, has been translated into more than 25 languages and is regarded as one of the most successful business books of all time. Ken lives in San Diego, CA.

Mark Miller began his Chick-fil-A career working as an hourly team member at the company's Southlake Mall location in 1977. Today, he is the Vice President, Training & Development. He is also a member of the Operations Council, and the Strategic Planning Team for Chick-fil-A, Inc. When not working to sell more chicken, Mark teaches on a wide array of topics including: Leadership, Creativity, Team Building, and Evangelism. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
In this second edition of a book first published in 2004, Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller make skillful use of the business narrative when sharing what they have learned about what "great leaders know and do." However, in fact, their focus is on an aspiring, struggling executive, Debbie Brewster, who confides, "I'm holding on for dear life and might lose my job." Her motivations remind us of Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy needs": first survival, then security, and eventually, perhaps, self-actualization. To date, her performance as a team leader has been poor. She knows she needs help and finds it in a relationship with a mentor within her company, its president, Jeff Brown. Thus begins what becomes her journey of discovery of the "secret" to which the book's title refers, for both Debbie and the book's reader. The details are best revealed in context, within the narrative, as Debbie's performance as a team leader gradually - and predictably -- improves.

Does she become a great leader? No, at least not by the book's conclusion, but that is not Blanchard and Miller's ultimate objective. Rather, their purpose (in my opinion) is to examine a process by which almost any executive can become a more effective supervisor. Specifically, they focus on specific skills that include situation analysis, setting priorities, making decisions, getting associates engaged and in alignment, avoiding or removing barriers, and meanwhile demonstrating the values of what Robert Greenleaf once characterized as "the servant leader" in an essay published in 1970.

In a second essay, "The Institution as Servant," Greenleaf observes: "This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book of uncommon wisdom June 8 2004
By A Customer
I must admit that I don't usually purchase or enjoy very many "leadership" books, but this one is truly different. This book is written in a quick-read style and is very easy to understand. The principles are easy to remember and hard to apply, but have had a transformational impact on my life. I believe readers will find that if they have the guts and discipline to consistently think about ways to apply these principles, they will see a major shift in how people respond to them in their family life, business life, or church life. I have already shared my copy of the book with others, and they have each pointed out specific aspects of the book that they say completely changed their way of looking at the world.
I think this book makes great gifts for people you work with or family members. Don't be surprised if some folks don't "get it"...it's the people that do "get it" that are going to find amazing ways to apply these principles and impact the lives of others!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership June 1 2004
By A Customer
I recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position. I found the book to be an easy read, yet strong in content. I look forward to implementing the "SERVE" model at work and in everyday life. Thank you Mr. Blanchard and Mr. Miller for your insight into leadership.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Leadership Lessons May 31 2004
This is the story of Debbie, a struggling and a failing leader, who learns the lessons of management from her Boss. Miserable with her poor performance, the character of Ken's Book, joins the Mentor Program offered by her company and incidentally, Jeff, the president of the company happens to be the trainer. She thoroughly undergoes the training sessions where she realise her mistakes. She is taught to be a 'Serving Leader' rathar than a 'self-serving Leader'. She learns the secrets of success with the five steps :
* Seeing and shaping the future
* Engaging and developing others
* Continuously Reinvent
* Value results and relationships
* Embody the values
Debbie learns whatever is needed to be a good leader, analyze her progress with examples, excercises and tips. In process with Debbie's example, Ken Blanchard has made successful attempt to teach the Leadership Lessons to all successful as well as troubled and failed Leaders. The Book provides a guide to solve problems that seem complex and make it easier with the concepts clear - A choice to Serve. Not always I guess, because while Serving too without being self-served, the Leader becomes a struggler if the Company policies and the Boss Attitude and vision is not focused. Sometimes wavelengths do not meet. However, based on the author's experience and drawn from examples of best leaders, this book gives an insight to improve upon one's own abilities and in serving others, tackle the situations with ease without struggling lamely. Ken Blanchard's experience speaks in volumes. A good Pick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You can be a leader May 28 2004
By A Customer
This book really inspired me. I always thought great leaders were born, not made. This book demonstrates that by following five enlightened principles, anyone can become a positive influence in the home, workplace, community or world, and thus become a leader. The Secret has changed the way I interact with others for the better.
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