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Inspirational leader celebrates milestone

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 12, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Few people have reached the pinnacle of publishing as a New York Times best selling author with 22 million books sold.

Fewer still founded a company that teaches leadership to Fortune 500 companies around the world, from Blue Cross, Bayer and Burger King to Exxon Mobile, Hilton, L’Oreal, Nabisco, Toyota and Victoria Secret just to name a few.

Author, speaker, and business coach Ken Blanchard is celebrating his 80th birthday this month.

His techniques, or values for effective management have guided millions since his blockbuster book The One Minute Manager in 1982.

Blanchard tells 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt all good performance starts with clear goals.

“If people don't know what you want them to do, what's the chance of them doing it?”

Then he advises managers to wander around and see if they can catch people doing something right, then take the time for a one minute praising.

Because Blanchard says people today prefer to work side by side with management, instead of the old top-down approach…he and his co-author revised the third tenet to re-direct.

With a smile on his face he says, “ I think that's what made the book so popular, because, if you have goals, find them doing something good and praise them, and redirect them...duh.”

Blanchard calls this philosophy of turning the business pyramid on its head with workers at the top and the boss at the bottom, Servant Leadership.

His global headquarters in Escondido has a sculpture depicting this viewpoint showing Jesus washing the feet of Peter.

“People who are servant leaders are good listeners, they ask questions more than tell, and they're really there for you, because they want you to win…and then they know that if you win, they win.”

Garry Ridge, the CEO of San Diego based WD-40, took Blanchard’s Leadership class at University of San Diego in 1999. He says it confirmed what he believed and taught him what he didn’t know.

“If you can imagine a place where people, are involved in something bigger than themselves, you learn something new, feel safe, are protected by values, and go home happy...that's what we strive for, because it's all about the people!”

The people, all the people, from the top down are called members of the tribe at WD-40.

“Leadership is not about being in charge... leadership is about taking care of the people in your charge.”

Ridge does that by creating comfortable spaces, stocking the kitchen, providing a gym available to employees 24 hours a day and providing bicycles to make it easy to get some fresh air.

“So here we don't have managers we have coaches. I'm a coach. My job as a coach is to help people play their best game every day. It’s not about me. It’s about how to do we get people to enjoy what they do every day?”

It’s a formula for success at WD-40. The company has a market cap of just over $2 billion, annual revenue of more than $400 million, and staggering employee engagement surveys showing 99 percent of employees love to tell people they work at WD-40.

Results in line with Blanchard’s model.

“Profit is the applause you get for creating a great environment for your people, so they'll take care of your customers," Ken Blanchard writes.

The two men collaborated on a book, Helping People Win at Work, espousing their credo…Don’t mark my paper, help me get an A.