on March 4, 2004
Gung Ho! is another typical Ken Blanchard book. It is a quick read and contains some very useful information, but falls short in giving managers the full picture. Some readers will find the format cheesy, but I didn't take it that way.
The book is broken down into three areas:
1. The Spirit of the Squirrel (which discusses the importance of making employees feel that their work is important)
2. The Way of the Beaver (which talks about how managers should tell employees what they want and define the boundaries, but within those boundaries allow employees to figure out solutions in their own way)
3. The Gift of the Goose (which goes over the importance of using positive reinforcement when employees do a good job)
These are three very powerful ideas that every manager should embrace. However, there are numerous issues that the book doesn't cover. To give just one example, what should a manager do is one of her employees comes to work every day late and is totally unproductive while he is there? Obviously, The Gift of the Goose (i.e. praising employees) isn't the answer since that will just reinforce the negative behavior.
Despite the book's shortcomings, I think it's worth reading if you like management books since it does contain some useful information. But if you want one book that going to cover the subject more dynamically from many more angles, then you should probably look elsewhere.
Author, The Ten Commandments for Managers
on March 8, 2004
Gung Ho! is a book related to management. Although the concepts in the book are simple, it is important to everyone, especially those are in the management field. The three underlying principles are The Spirit of the Squirrel, The Way of the Beaver and The Gift of the Goose. They are parables of the importance of making employees understand their roles, the conflict between directing the tasks to employees and empowerment by management, and the importance of appreciation to employees respectively.
In my view of point, I think Gung Ho! is a revolutionary technique to boost enthusiasm and performance and usher in astonishing results for any organization. The principles are the tips to increase productivity by fostering excellent morale in the workplace. For example, employees will be loyal to the company if they gain job satisfaction from their worthwhile work. Positive reinforcements such as appreciation (i.e. say ¡§well done¡¨ when those have good performance) and empowerment can motivate employees to improve and have a better performance.
To conclude, Gung Ho! is easy to read but useful for everyone. The writers convey the important management strategies to the readers by using simple story and parables. I think it is a good time for the company, the management team and the employees to refresh and understand their roles so that they can have a good relationship which can benefit as a whole.
on December 17, 2002
The book is good. Great for anyone interested in business, economics and/or management. I had to read it for an economics class. Thanks to its simplicity and clear message I was able to get through the book in no time flat.
There are already reviews here which outline the messages conveyed within and I don't intend to. The main character Peggy is put in charge of a plant and has to figure out ways to bring back revenue as well as employee confidence. In the end she is able to alter the way in which her factory workers or "team members", as the book reinforces, do their work and more importantly their effeciency and happiness. She did so with a system which is more human and less sterile than those of the old business practices. To sum up the system gave greater respect and knowledge to the employees concerning their purpose, goals and attainable aspirations.
Well let my tell you something I've been a "team member" of a large entertainment company. I was a drone though they made me feel like I was vital to the place. They babbled on about values and goals, well you know what I was still parking goddamn cars. However through knowing exactly my purpose, and the possible effects I could have on the company and therefore myself I was motivated. This system which Peggy invented is very worthwhile and should be applied to modern day business practice. Let me tell you something though, I would never go back to that job. I will never work a routine job like that again. It takes no brain power and drains all your energy for measley wages. I'd rather sit homeless on the streets then be sucked into thinking I was working for the greater good in exchange for minimum wage. Only you can decide what a greater good is and for me it's not working in a parking lot or working in a factory. Honestly I don't believe these jobs are suitable for semi-intelligent human beings and that's my biggest outrage over the message.
on October 30, 2002
This book is a simple parable about what it takes to get people motivated to be productive. This quick read is a story about Peggy Sinclair and Andy Longclaw, two managers at a company ready to go out of business. They attempt to bring about change that will save the company and the town they live in.
They follow three steps:
1) The Spirit of the Squirrel. This principle says that people need to know they are making a difference in the world. We have to see how our work relates to making the world a better place. Secondly we all need to work toward a shared goal. Our goals must be made together and must be driven by shared values. Leaders bring essential organizational goals to the table, but allow all to participate in goal making.
2)The Way of the Beaver. This principle gives managers the responcibility of creating an environment where workers can succeed, but then letting the workers work in their own way. Managers define the boundaries, but workers have control within those boundaries. The book's examples show how powerful this principle can be.
3) The Gift of the Goose. This principle states that people do better when they are congratulated for success. It talks about active and passive congratulations. Active is saying "good job." Passive is relaxing when a worker is doing a difficult task. It is trusting them to do it right.
The context Gung Ho is written in is a large manufacturing business. These principles would be even more potent for small businesses. I recommend this book to leaders of businesses and organizations of all types.
on August 12, 2002
Simple stories with powerful messages help us guide our way through the tough patches in life. This book is the narration of such simple stories in natural settings involving squirrels, beavers and geese. It is amazing that we, the most intelligent creatures on earth have so much to learn from such simple creatures.
The book also goes beyond drawing inferences from the moral of the stories. There is also a perfect setting to put them in action - Walton Works # 2, about to be closed down due to low productivity and accumulating losses. This would not be what a thousand and five hundred families who depend on this facility for a living be looking for.
Peggy Sinclair, is brought in from head office as the new General Manager to set things right or probably to preside over the liquidation of Walton Works # 2. Her first impression is that head office was right in its assessment to close down the plant and it is unfortunate that she would be at its helm when it would actually happen. She is assisted by a group of eighteen Divisional Managers whose lack of managerial capability is evident from day one and one of them gets promptly fired. She sees no hope to revive the morale and productivity of a bunch of lethargic and de-motivated team. Then comes our hero from the finishing department - Andy Longclaw. The motor bike riding Indian, who has the most productive department with an excellent team bubbling with enthusiasm - Gung-ho. Peggy and Andy meet each other by accident and the rest of the book is about their joint efforts to Gung-ho Walton Works #2.
A simple and powerful message for managers at all levels, I read this book whenever I feel a little low. Thanks Andy for handing down the wisdom of your Grandpa. Thanks Peggy for putting it in action and telling us this wonderful story. Gung-ho friends.
on November 22, 2001
In 1848 Marx and Engels wrote, "The workers have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win." For over 150 years, capitalists have ignored those somber words of warning, preferring to goad, threaten, punish and bully employees into performing to externally determined standards.
Now, finally, a couple of unapologetic capitalists have taken into consideration the socialist critique, and expounded an appropriate leadership philosophy. Blanchard, Bowles, and Sinclair urge us to treat employees with all of the respect due to any human being, not because it is the decent thing to do, but because it is the road to success. Happy, motivated, informed, involved, empowered, and encouraged team members simply produce better than over-controlled, whipped serfs.
This is not another management text. It is a leadership manual. ...and because this is about leadership, rather than management, it won't fit those managers too petty or frightened to lead. However, for those with the courage to lead, this will prove to be an extraordinary book to which they will return over and over again.
on April 3, 2001
Gung Ho! is one of the best management books that I have read. Anyone that supervises others should read this book and practice using the techniques on a daily basis. The co-authors, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles tell a story that is basically common sense and easy to understand. The principles could be used in your personal life as well as your professional life. In the prologue, Peggy Sinclair was faced with the task of telling the Gung Ho story, a promise she made to her friend Andy Longclaw, before he passed away. As she was walking away from the hospital, Peggy was wondering how she was going to keep her promise. After hearing a conversation that two men were having, something one man said to the other came through loud and clear. "The Buddhists say when the student is ready the teacher would appear." Gung Ho! is a tale of a new general manager challenged with turning a failing business at Walton Works #2 into a success. Old man Morris thought for sure he would use Peggy Sinclair for a scapegoat. After figuring this out, she was out to prove him wrong. This book teaches management personnel how to motivate and improve performance of those they direct. The three simple techniques, "The Spirit of the Squirrel," "The Way of the Beaver" and "The Gift of the Goose" stand for worthwhile work, in control of achieving a goal, and cheer each other on respectively, are excellent tools to motivate others, though a lot of people do not utilize these tools or feel that a word of praise is necessary. I have presented my manager with these same ideas, before I ever read this book; only to be told "They get a paycheck, don't they? That should be all they need." I tried to reason with him and make him understand that a simple "Thank you" or "Good job" would go a long way in a positive direction. This will create good morale from the associates and they would be more apt to "buy into" the company goals. This is the same manager that gave me the Gung Ho! book to read. For me, the book was a refresher course in my style of management. As for my manager, I don't think he read the book, if he has, he evidently doesn't understand it. People want to be treated with respect. They want clearly defined and attainable goals to achieve. Recognition needs to be given to let others know that you appreciate their efforts. Others, myself included, will perform at maximum efficiency when someone else, especially their superiors, displays gratitude and appreciation. Any praise must be sincere, truly mean what you say; others can tell if you are being phony. What you say, and how you say it, could have a positive or a negative impact on your goals. The term Gung Ho is Chinese for "working together." Gung Ho, friend!
on March 11, 2001
Authors Blanchard and Bowles have written a plesantly readable account of some ideas that managers can use to motivate their employees. Rather than giving a detailed how-to plan for implementing a workplace motivation program, Gung Ho! Is more of an outline that presents a possible approach to increasing the enthusiasm, cohesiveness, and productivity of the personnel in an organization. The dialog between the main characters in the book explores some of the underlying psychological factors connecting people's emotions and how they view and perform their work. Additionally, the authors show how this motivational approach fits into the larger picture of moving an organization toward increased productivity, higher profits, and greater value to the community. An obvious crucial element to the success of any such motivational program is the total commitment of top management, and this requirement is emphasized throughout the book. Another important aspect to the scenario in Gung Ho! is the immanent shutdown of the manufacturing plant the main characters are involved in. I wonder if the solution they describe would be as readily accepted without such a clear and present threat to survival. Businesses continually face challenges to their survival, but many times the threats are subtle and not so easily harnessed for firing up the workforce. Overall, Gung Ho! Is an entertaining, touching, informative, and valuable read. The company I work for is using it as the basis for a management training class on motivating workers.
on March 8, 2001
I just finished reading this book today and overall I like it. However, like reviewer firstname.lastname@example.org, I have extreme misgivings about what was suggested on page 144. The book is trying to make the point that people need encouragement and public praise when they do a good job. The book emphasizes this point by describing the various medals, badges, etc. that a soldier can get for doing his job. The statement, in my opinion, is brutally harsh, but basically it is true. I'm disappointed that the author (I guess out of respect to Andy) was not humble enough to point out the same thing Native American's gave their braves for courage and bravery. I'm sure, from the way that Andy was portrayed, he would have been more that willing to say such a thing. However, what I'm most disappointed about is that the author failed to point out just like email@example.com says that many men may have gone to war for their country and family. Similarly, many people have an ingrained attitude toward work where they daily give 110% regardless of their environment. The goal of this book is simple. It is all about fixing people's attitude towards work. The book shows you how to get a worker's attitude to contribute to his success and eventually the company's success. Those who already give 110%, push for change everyday and drive themselves to constantly improve themselves, may not get a lot out of it. The book in a nutshell is: 1) company and management values and sticking to them through the worst of times (company mission statement, personal mission statement, and finding common ground between the two); 2) BHAG (Big Hairy A__ Goal to challenge competent, prepared employees); 3) Giving people the space they need to do their jobs in their own way (Delegation of authority, work teams, suggestion boxes and quality circles); 4) Knowing how to party and dish out genuine praise (compensation, company awards and parties). These are concepts well spelled out in other books and well-known (of course) to many world-class Japanese and American companies. My point? I thought I would learn something new. Instead, I got an entertaining story of a turnaround using well-known and established techniques. But that is not the real beauty of this book. You often read articles of companies using certain techniques to succeed. Rarely, do you find a story that pulls all these techniques together and shows you why each component is important and their interdependence. Go for it, it is a real quick read, but the reference to the military stuff is unacceptable.
on February 5, 2000
Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles have created another classic. In a highly effective parable, they provide a blueprint any leader can use to create organizational excitement in just about any type of organization. The most positive characteristics of this book, like all Blanchard books, are the underlying values and wholesome philosophies that drive the message home at each juncture along the way. Whether a person is leading a small work group, a department, a division, or an entire company, he or she will find many useful ideas in this easy-to-read book.
Another book, with a foreword by Ken Blanchard, that I have just finished is also destined to be a classic alongside GUNG HO! I highly recommend everyone - not just people in leadership positions - read WINNING WAYS: FOUR SECRETS FOR GETTING GREAT RESULTS BY WORKING WELL WITH PEOPLE, by Dick Lyles. Dr. Lyles is a protégé of Blanchard and Bowles and this book proves that he, also, has mastered the art of parable writing. This book contains tips that will help anyone be more powerful and charismatic in their dealings with other people.