Ken Blanchard on Leading at a Higher Level

January 8, 2019 David Witt

Ken Blanchard Quote Leadership with PeopleThe new, completely updated, third edition of Ken Blanchard’s perennial bestseller, Leading at a Higher Level, was released just last month.

The first edition came out in 2006 and featured the best thinking from 18 different authors, summarizing the key concepts from all the Blanchard programs at the time.  The new edition continues that tradition. Now featuring the work of 25 authors, this edition includes four new chapters: Building Trust, Mentoring, Collaboration, and Organizational Leadership.

Leading at a Higher Level book cover“The umbrella concept,” says lead author Ken Blanchard, “is servant leadership—the idea that people lead best when they serve first.

“There are the two parts of servant leadership,” explains Blanchard.  “First, the strategic or leadership part of servant leadership is identifying the target: the purpose of your business, your picture of the future, and the values that will guide your decisions.

“Once a target and vision are set, how do leaders execute or accomplish that vision? They must turn the traditional hierarchical pyramid upside-down to begin the operational or servant aspect of servant leadership. This is when you diagnose the individual or team in terms of their skills and motivation to get the job done. You identify the competencies and commitment that need to be developed.  Now your role as a leader is to provide the direction and support people can’t provide for themselves.

“Using a situational approach to leadership through SLII®, leaders must diagnose development levels, says Blanchard. “If individuals or teams are new to a task, the leader needs to provide direction.  If individuals or teams are lacking confidence or commitment, the leader needs to provide support.”

Blanchard points to the new chapter on Organizational Leadership, where the same concept can be applied to an organization as a whole.

“Organizations, like people, can be at different levels of development.  As a new C-level leader, you need to identify the organization’s development level, so you can apply the right leadership style.  We’ve seen too many situations where new CEOs—wanting to make a quick impact—enter organizations and immediately go to their favorite leadership style rather than to the one that is needed. We include two well-known case studies in the new chapter that show the benefits of a good match and the negative consequences of a misdiagnosis and bad match.

“We’ve all seen the negative consequences of poor leadership. Our goal with this book is to provide the next generation of leaders with a road map and curriculum for great leadership.

“This involves focusing on both people and results,” says Blanchard. “You cannot sustain performance over the long term with an either/or approach. The market demands innovative, agile solutions. This requires a both/and approach to management that places equal emphasis on results and the needs of people.  That’s the success formula today’s top companies are using to attract the best and brightest.

“When you lead at a higher level, people work together in a way that excites customers and gets results. Leadership is something you do with people—not to people,” Blanchard continues.  “And profit is the applause you get for creating a motivating environment for people so they will take good care of your customers.

“We hope to inspire leaders to go beyond short-term thinking and zero in on the right target. We want to teach leaders to empower people to unleash their incredible potential. Finally, we want to encourage leaders to ground their leadership in humility and focus on the greater good. It’s a tall order, but we think this book provides everything a leader needs to get started.”


Would you like to learn more about creating a higher level of leadership in your organization?  Join Ken Blanchard for a free webinar on January 23!

Ken Blanchard on 4 Keys to Leading at a Higher Level

January 23, 2019

9:00 a.m. Pacific / 12:00 p.m. Eastern / 5:00 p.m. UK Time / 5:00 p.m. GMT

In this webinar, best-selling business author Ken Blanchard shares key concepts from the newly released third edition of his book, Leading at a Higher Level. Ken will share a four-step approach to building an organizational culture that leads to engaged people and improves long-term business results.

Participants will explore:

How to set your sights on the right target and vision. A compelling vision tells your organization who you are (purpose), where you’re going (picture of the future), and what guides your behavior and decisions (values). Ken will share how a compelling vision creates a strong organizational culture where everyone’s interests and energy are aligned. This results in trust, customer satisfaction, an energized and committed workforce, and profitability.

How to treat your people right. Without committed and empowered employees, you can never provide good service. You can’t treat your people poorly and then expect them to treat your customers well. Ken will explain how treating your people right begins with good performance planning to get things going. It continues with managers who provide the right amount of direction and support that each individual employee needs to achieve those goals and performance standards.

How to treat your customers right. To keep your customers coming back today, you can’t be content with simply satisfying them. Instead, you must create raving fans–customers who are so excited about the way you treat them that they want to tell everyone about you. Ken will share how companies that create raving fans routinely do the unexpected on behalf of their customers, and then enjoy the growth generated by customers bragging about them to prospective clients.

How to have the right kind of leadership. The most effective leaders realize that leadership is not about them and that they are only as good as the people they lead. These leaders seek to be serving leaders, not self-serving leaders. Ken will explain how once a vision has been set, leaders move themselves to the bottom of the hierarchy, acting as a cheerleader, supporter, and encourager for the people who report to them.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to create a culture where leaders who are grounded in humility and focused on the greater good can create organizations where both people and profits grow and thrive. This both/and philosophy, Blanchard contends, is the essence of leading at a higher level.

Use this link to register for 4 Keys to Leading at a Higher Level.  The event is free, courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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