Accomplished guru Ken Blanchard hosts campus lecture

Ken Blanchard comes to Armstrong.
Ken Blanchard comes to Armstrong.

By Zach Hallman, Staff Writer

On Oct. 29, Ken Blanchard came to Armstrong to speak to students and faculty. Blanchard is a management guru, bestselling author, and motivational speaker whom over a long career has redefined how to manage the work place and manage life in general.

He is universally renowned for recreating the internal order of businesses into a less conventional and more compassionate entity. As the Chief Spiritual Officer of his own consulting company, The Ken Blanchard Company, he has changed the way management is executed for multinational corporations such as Southwest Airlines.

The room was packed when Blanchard took the stage to give his lecture which was appropriately named “The power of love over the love of power”. His lecture not only delved into the finer point of how to manage a business, but also related the love and compassion that a manager must have for his or her employees to everyday life. Blanchard started the lecture by explaining how conventional management is based on a hierarchy that is flawed. In order to make a business successful, the people in positions of leadership have to put employees before themselves.

Blanchard phrased this technique as “turning the pyramid upside down.” In turning the pyramid upside down you amplify the importance of the people at the bottom who are dealing with the customer. His lecture explained how putting the people at the customer level before yourself and giving them a voice a company will work more as a partnership and not a hierarchy.

Blanchard termed this style of leadership as “servant leadership”. Meaning that, employees shouldn’t serve their manager. In order for workers to try their hardest and work together to achieve a common goal leaders need to serve them. Give them a reason to want to do better and give them a voice. The boss does not deal with the customer every day, and therefore can lose sight of what is being done wrong and what needs to be changed. Blanchard also argued that the vernacular of a workers title can play a huge role in empowering the employee.

He joked about employee titles saying, “How awful is the term ‘supervisor?’ What does that mean? So your telling me you have ‘super vision’ better that all the idiots working below you.” The quick joke held heavy weight. If a supervisor thinks it’s “my way or the highway” then any good ideas or suggestions from their subordinates will go unheard and belittle them. If you treat people like they don’t matter then they will start acting like they don’t matter. Blanchard explains how the most powerful addiction in the world is one’s ego.

In explaining how setting aside ego is a key component in management Blanchard said, “People admire you for your strengths, but they love you for your weaknesses”. It clarifies the fact that no one has all the answers. It’s okay for a leader to admit he doesn’t know something and to ask for help. This will show the employee that they are not thought of as useless drones, but they are respected and believed in.

Blanchard gave an incredibly insightful new way to look at how management works. If you put your workers before yourself and make your success their success it will give them a reason to strive to do better. This can only best be described as having… the power of love, and not the love of power.