The Secret 3rd Edition

What Great Leaders Know and Do

Ken Blanchard (Author) | Mark Miller (Author) | John C. Maxwell (Foreword by)

Publication date: 09/02/2014

Bestseller over 550,000+ copies sold

The Secret

At one time or another, everyone in a position of authority-whether in a multi-national corporation or a local volunteer group-wonders what the key to great leadership is. And who better to answer that question than the team of Ken Blanchard, whose books on leadership have sold over 20 million copies, and Mark Miller, who worked his way up from line worker to vice president of one of the largest fast-food chains in the country. In The Secret, Blanchard and Miller use the uniquely accessible "business fable" format that Blanchard pioneered to get at the heart of what makes a leader truly able to inspire and motivate people. Debbie Brewster, recently promoted and struggling, finds herself about to lose her job due to poor performance. In an attempt to save her career, she enrolls in a new mentoring program offered by her company. Much to her surprise, Debbie finds her mentor is none other than Jeff Brown, the president of the company. Debbie decides that she is going to ask her new mentor the one question she feels she desperately needs answered: "What is the secret of great leaders?" Jeff's immediate answer-that great leaders serve their followers-completely flummoxes Debbie. Over the next 18 months, Jeff helps Debbie discover and explore five fundamental ways that leaders lead through service.

The Secret puts what Blanchard and Miller have learned about leadership in a form that anyone can easily understand, embrace, and pursue. It is a book that will benefit not only those who read it, but also the organizations they work in and the people who look to them for guidance.

The second edition includes revised and updated content including:

•    A new foreword by John Maxwell
•    A new resource section in the back matter summarizing key learning points
•    A greater focus on the book's primary focus: servant leadership
•    A more humanized protagonist
•    Numerous other minor renovations throughout

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt

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Overview

At one time or another, everyone in a position of authority-whether in a multi-national corporation or a local volunteer group-wonders what the key to great leadership is. And who better to answer that question than the team of Ken Blanchard, whose books on leadership have sold over 20 million copies, and Mark Miller, who worked his way up from line worker to vice president of one of the largest fast-food chains in the country. In The Secret, Blanchard and Miller use the uniquely accessible "business fable" format that Blanchard pioneered to get at the heart of what makes a leader truly able to inspire and motivate people. Debbie Brewster, recently promoted and struggling, finds herself about to lose her job due to poor performance. In an attempt to save her career, she enrolls in a new mentoring program offered by her company. Much to her surprise, Debbie finds her mentor is none other than Jeff Brown, the president of the company. Debbie decides that she is going to ask her new mentor the one question she feels she desperately needs answered: "What is the secret of great leaders?" Jeff's immediate answer-that great leaders serve their followers-completely flummoxes Debbie. Over the next 18 months, Jeff helps Debbie discover and explore five fundamental ways that leaders lead through service.

The Secret puts what Blanchard and Miller have learned about leadership in a form that anyone can easily understand, embrace, and pursue. It is a book that will benefit not only those who read it, but also the organizations they work in and the people who look to them for guidance.

The second edition includes revised and updated content including:

•    A new foreword by John Maxwell
•    A new resource section in the back matter summarizing key learning points
•    A greater focus on the book's primary focus: servant leadership
•    A more humanized protagonist
•    Numerous other minor renovations throughout

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Meet the Authors & Other Product Contributors


Visit Author Page - Ken Blanchard
Ken Blanchard is the founder and chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is the coauthor of several best-selling books, including The One Minute Manager®_and The New One Minute Manager®, Raving Fans and Gung Ho! His books have combined sales of more than twenty million copies in forty-two languages. Ken is also cofounder of Lead Like Jesus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and equipping people to be servant leaders.

Visit Author Page - Mark Miller
Mark Miller is currently serving as vice president, organizational effectiveness, at Chick-fil-A, Inc. He is also the author of The Heart of Leadership, The Secret of Teams, and, with Ken Blanchard, Great Leaders Grow. His blog, GreatLeadersServe.org, is rated as one of the top leadership sites in the world.

Foreword by John C. Maxwell
John C. Maxwell is an author, speaker, and pastor who has written more than 60 books including The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

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Reviews

By Berrett-Koehler Staff , December 9, 2014
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Excerpt

The Secret

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The Opportunity

How can leadership be this hard? One year ago today was the happiest day of my life. I had arrived! Only four years out of college, and my company had moved me into a leadership position: director of corporate client services for the southeast sales region. I knew I could handle the job, because I’d started from our catalog call center, fielding customer requests and complaints. Then I was promoted to a project manager, working closely with sales and our corporate clients. Whatever the salespeople promised our customers, I delivered. And if I do say so myself, I was good at getting our corporate clients what they needed, when and where they needed it. I got all kinds of kudos for developing outstanding relationships with clients. I was sure I could make my staff do the same.

A year ago, I was on top of the world. Today, I’m holding on for dear life and might lose my job. What happened? What went wrong?

With those thoughts, Debbie Brewster pulled into the parking lot at the public library. She knew she could never have an uninterrupted day in the office. Besides, her boss had always encouraged her to take some time every month to step back and Assess what had happened, Affirm what was working, and make Adjustments as needed. She had always been too busy to actually try it, but today was different. Drastic times demand drastic measures.

As Debbie entered the library, her mind flashed back to long-forgotten memories from her less-than-stellar educational career. The musty smell of the old volumes was as strong as ever. The lighting was about the same—a bit too dark. That had never made much sense to her. Why aren’t libraries better lit?

Debbie approached the librarian and said, “Hi, I’m looking for a place to work. Somewhere with ample light, if that’s possible.”

“Certainly,” the woman said with a smile. “Are there any particular resources you’ll need today?”

“No, but thanks anyway. I just need a quiet place to work for a few hours. I have a few business issues that I need to resolve.”

“Let me know if you need any help,” the librarian offered. She escorted Debbie to a table in a quiet corner with two large windows on each side.

Debbie took a seat, pulled out her laptop and began. First, I need to get a firm grip on my current situation. Then I’ll try to determine how I got into this mess.

Current Situation

Feedback from

Worst among all

salespeople

7 sales regions

Customer

Worst among all

satisfaction

7 sales regions

Profit contribution

Below goal

Cost management

At goal

Employee

Significantly below

satisfaction

where it was when I took over the team.

Turnover

I’ve lost 4 out of 10 team members in less than a year. This feels like an issue.

Okay, that’s where we are today. How did things get so bad, so fast? She thought back over the previous twelve months. Which events might have contributed to her team’s current lackluster performance?

Key Events

June 1

I am appointed as team leader.

June 15

First team meeting; conflict over changes I wanted the team to implement.

July

Selected Bob—new to the company—poor decision.

August

Cut expenses to improve profitability.

September

Two new hires: Brenda—good fit; Charles—wait and see.

October

Lost one important client due to poor service from our people.

November

Bob terminated. Team seems very disengaged.

December

Year-end results reflect significant drop in team performance versus previous year.

January

Performance reviews with each member of the team. Every team member is challenged to “step up or step out.”

February

Lost two more clients—same reason as before.

May

Team meetings canceled until further notice. Focus on improving results.

Wow! No wonder it was a bad year. Look at all the stuff that happened. Unfortunately, I don’t think “stuff just happened” is the insight I need to turn things around.

Debbie’s somber thought was interrupted by the librarian. “How’s your work going? Getting everything done?”

“Not exactly. I’ve reviewed the current situation, but I don’t know where to go from here,” Debbie admitted.

“Maybe I can help,” the librarian said.

Debbie was amused by the comment but tried not to show it. “Well, thank you, but I’m not sure you could. It’s a complex problem.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that I could personally help you solve your problem,” the woman responded patiently. “However, we do have quite a few resources about business at our disposal. What is the problem you’re trying to solve?”

“In our company, we often refer to problems as opportunities,” Debbie explained.

“Okay, what’s the opportunity?” the woman said with a smile as she continued to probe.

“I think I could sum it up by saying that I have an opportunity to improve the performance of my team.”

“Do you know what’s causing the performance issues?”

Debbie paused. “I’m not sure. I listed all the key events from the last year and several things that could have contributed, but—”

“But what?” the woman asked.

“I get this sinking feeling that I may be a significant part of the problem. I’ve only been the team leader for about a year, and I have no prior training or experience.” Debbie thought, I can’t believe I’m baring my soul to the librarian.

“We’ve got quite a few resources on leadership development,” the librarian offered.

“Leadership development,” Debbie repeated.

“Yes,” said the librarian, “you said you might be part of the problem.”

“I think I said I might be a contributing factor, but the real issue is performance.” Debbie could feel herself getting defensive. It was one thing to admit she might be part of the problem. It had a different ring to it when she heard someone else say it.

The librarian stepped back. “Okay, I’ll leave you alone to work on it yourself.”

As the woman walked away, Debbie reconsidered. Maybe there are some new leadership tricks I can learn. What could she lose at this point? Only her job and her dream. “Wait!” she called out. “I’m sorry. I was a bit defensive. I’ve been under a lot of pressure.”

The woman turned back with an understanding smile. “It’s okay.”

“Where are those resources that you mentioned?” Debbie asked, relieved that the librarian was still willing to help.

“Follow me.” The librarian led Debbie to a nearby computer, and together they scrolled through the listings, which included titles such as these:

The Power of 360-Degree Feedback

Development Plans That Work

Leaders Mentoring Leaders

What Do Leaders Do?

Debbie began to see something as they scrolled from screen to screen. The word mentoring was repeated several times; in fact, it was repeated on almost every screen she viewed. Then it hit her!

“Excuse me,” she said.

She went back to her laptop and opened her e-mail. She was sure she had seen a message that had something to do with mentoring. It read:

Send to:

All Supervisors and Managers

From:

Melissa Arnold

Subject:

Mentoring Opportunities

Date:

May 23

As outlined in our annual plan, we indicated that assisting the current and next generation of leaders would be one of our top priorities for this year and for years to come. We believe that one way we can assist our emerging leaders is to establish a formal mentoring program within the organization. We want to be very clear that this program is optional. Any of you who wish to participate need to submit an application to me before June 1.

If you would like additional information about the program, there will be a “Lunch and Learn” on Friday, May 28, in the fourth floor conference room from 12:15 until 1 P.M. Bring your own lunch.

This could be the ticket, Debbie thought. I’m sure a mentor from within the company would help solve the issues in my area. My mentor will probably be able to diagnose the problem and tell me how to fix it in a meeting or two. Besides, it might even look good in my personnel file to say that I was mentored by an executive.

An alarm went off in Debbie’s mind: Today is the 28th! I’ve missed the informational meeting. But if I leave now, I can go by the office and pick up one of those applications, fill it out this weekend, and submit it Monday morning before the deadline.

Debbie gathered her things and headed for the library exit. “Thanks for your help,” she called to the librarian on her way out.

“Any time,” the woman replied with a smile. “Good luck!”

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