Blanchard Conley, The World is in Need of a New Model of Leadership

The world is in desperate need for a new model of leadership, say Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. We have seen the results of self-centered leadership, the kind that loves power and status. They make the case that it’s just not working for us.

The two are the authors of the new book, “Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust”, which features one simple truth for each week in a year. It’s an elegantly powerful approach to sharing some big ideas, many of which Ken and Randy highlight in this podcast.

The legendary Ken Blanchard is the co-author of more than 65 books; including “The One Minute Manager,” and is one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time. Randy Conley is Vice President of Global Professional Services and Trust Practice Leader at the Ken Blanchard Companies.

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Show Notes

The world is in desperate need for a new model of leadership, say Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. We have seen the results of self-centered leadership, the kind that loves power and status. They make the case that it’s just not working for us.

The two are the authors of the new book, “Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust”, which features one simple truth for each week in a year. It’s an elegantly powerful approach to sharing some big ideas, many of which Ken and Randy highlight in this podcast

In this podcast, Blanchard and Conley persuasively argue that money isn’t the root of all evil, but rather overly strong love of money creates the problems. They say that just as the best use of power is in service to others, the best use of wealth is in service to others. When you see leaders and organizations use wealth to foster the growth and wellbeing of all their stakeholders, that’s where the magic happens.

Ken and Randy believe that we would all be far better off—in today’s incredibly fast-paced, results-driven society—if more leaders, regardless of their field, dropped that win/lose attitude in their work. Top-down leadership has largely gone out of style, and side-by-side leadership has taken its place. In today’s world, servant leadership is the name of the game.

Every company’s number one customer is their own people. By doing what’s best for employees, employees will in turn go out of their way to do what’s best for actual customers. That leads to raving fans, which directly contributes to the bottom line. As Ken puts it, “Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your people, who take care of your customers.”

Ken and Randy then touch on the crisis of anxiety among the younger generation, saying that this crisis is largely driven by assaults on self-worth and other distractions propagated by social media. It is a tool that can do a lot of harm; but it can do a lot of good in the right hands. They make the case that social media and digital tools in general can even augment the process of building relationships, personally and professionally.

Ultimately, though, we must always remember to go back to simple truths; chiefly, that the art of leadership, cultivating great relationships, and helping each other grow is about those others-focused belly-to-belly interactions.

“Leadership is much more about who you are than what you do. If you get the beliefs, the attitudes, and the values right on the inside, the actions will follow.”

The legendary Ken Blanchard is the co-author of more than 65 books; including “The One Minute Manager,” and is one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time. Randy Conley is Vice President of Global Professional Services and Trust Practice Leader at the Ken Blanchard Companies.


Amanda Setili  (00:05):

We all want to do work that we love. And as leaders, entrepreneurs, and employees, wouldn’t it be great to create workplaces where work feels like play, where people are tuned in to the changes going on in the world, around them, where they’re constantly learning, spotting new opportunities and taking action to go after them. I’m Amanda Sati. And this is the fearless growth podcast where my guests and I will explore the mindsets and choices that lead you and your organization to outstanding performance

Amanda Setili  (00:37):

Today. My guests are Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. Ken is the co-author of more than 65 books, including the iconic one minute manager. And he is one of the Amazon’s top 25 best selling authors of all times. He’s co-founder with his wife, Marjorie of the Ken Blanchard companies. Randy works with Ken as vice president of global professional services and trust practice leader. He works globally to help organizations build trust and was named a top hundred leadership speaker by I just read their book, simple truths of leadership, which is a recent release, and I loved it. It was so simple and easy to understand, but it was also comprehensive and it was insightful. It wasn’t bland at all. So I really recommend that you get this book. It’s an easy read. I think I actually read it in one sitting, which I was very impressed with myself. So welcome, Randy and Ken. Thanks so much for joining me today.

Ken Blanchard (01:40):

Good to be with you. Yeah.

Randy Conley (01:41):

Thank you, Amanda, for that. Nice, welcome.

Amanda Setili  (01:44):

Thank you. So I’m just wondering, what was it about either the state of humanity or your own state of mind that led you to go into organizational development and leadership and Ken for you? That was way back in at least 1979, maybe even earlier in Randy, maybe more recently. But what, what was it that drew you to this field?

Ken Blanchard (02:07):

Well, my interest started with my father who retired as an Admiral in the Navy. And when I was in seventh grade, I won the president of seventh grade in nourish shell, New York. And and I came home, I was all pumped up. My father said, Ken, now that you’re president your leadership training begins, don’t ever use your position, because great leaders are great because people trust and respect them. Not because they have power. And so he was kind of my guide. And so I was interested all the way back then in leadership and what it made a tick. And how did you can you make a different and people, and then I’ve always been interested in simple truths. My mission statement starts with, I want to be a you know, a, a guide of simple truths and, and but I found I would talk to people and they’d say, I love your books and all, and I’d say, well, what have you used lately? And they’d go, blah, blah, blah. You know? And so I said, we’ve got to make it even simpler for these folks, you know? And so I’ve been into servant leadership in the last decade or so, and, and Randy and I talked and servant leadership and trust go hand in hand, don’t they? Randy?

Randy Conley (03:25):

Yeah, they sure do. And for me, Amanda, my interest in leadership, I think really sparked back in my teenage years, I was very involved in my church and I was courage to take on several leadership roles as a young adult. And that just started a lifelong interest in being able to positively influence others. And as I got started in my career I was fortunate enough to be led to the Kim Blanchard companies. I I’ve been with working with Ken for over 25 years. And it’s just become part of who I am. It’s a way for me to do good in the world and express my mission. And there’s no place else. I’d rather be

Amanda Setili  (04:13):

Fantastic. So if you look at the state of the world today and maybe think out for the next 30 years at what you anticipate might be happening in the world, is there anything that you’re adjusting in your mind about where your priorities lie with respect to enhancing leadership or trust or anything else that you’re working on?

Ken Blanchard (04:32):

Well, my big concern is that whether you can start with Washington or anywheres else is that you got so much win, lose attitude among leaders, you know, I’m right and you’re wrong and all that. And we’ve really moved in our own thinking from top down leadership to what we call side by side leadership. And we think that that leaders and, and their people ought to be working together and that whatever leaders do it ought to be in the best of their people, not in their, just their best interests cause that’s self-serving leadership. So that’s why we’ve kind of gotten excited about servant leadership, which is about you’re there to serve rather than to be

Randy Conley (05:13):

Served. Ken and I firmly believe that the world is in desperate need for a new model of leadership. You know, we have seen in the results clearly of self-centered leadership, you know, of leadership of power, love of power and love of status. And and it’s not working for us. You know, it’s simply not working the best leaders, the best organizations that we see and, and research’s supports this overwhelmingly their servant letter, servant leader, led organizations, they’re run by organizations where leaders view themselves as working side by side with their people, supporting their people to be the best versions of themselves. And so that’s, that’s what we’re all about. And we’re hoping that our book makes a little dent in that universe to help people be more serving rather than self-serving,

Amanda Setili  (06:14):

That’s all we can do. Right. Just try to make little where we can. I would imagine that many of your clients are already kind of bought into the servant leadership idea and you help them manifest it or make it true and train their folks. But what do we do about organizations who don’t get it yet, who are still in the command and control world, or who are still worried about their own profitability, their own incentive pay and all of those kinds of things. And, and haven’t really gotten to the point where they see it the way you do, how can we influence them?

Ken Blanchard (06:49):

A prayer helps, you know, but the other thing is to try to get somebody in the organization who gets it and can up to apply and use it with their people, because if they do, they’re going to get great results and people are going to start looking at them and saying, you know,  your group is really performing well, what’s the secret. And they can start to slowly share the word, but it’s, it’s going to take time because effective use of servant leadership is best when it starts at the top.

Randy Conley (07:22):

Yeah. And to build on what Ken said, I actually just wrote a blog article about this last week, Amanda, and sort of building off, you know, Gandhi’s famous quote, be the change you want to see in the world. I think you have to be the servant leader. You have to be the, that you want to see in the world because at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that each of us has control over is our own attitudes, beliefs, and actions. And if leaders can focus on creating a circle of influence within the team, the, that they lead, it grows outward from there. As Ken said, ideally, we would have leaders at the top of an organization, sort of make that proclamation and decision and filter it down. And it can also work from the bottom up if people just take a grassroots effort upon IBS principles in their own life. And if they’re successful, others will start to see that they’ll start to look and say, wow, look at Amanda’s team her. Team’s like really crushing it, what what’s going on there. Right. And then that allows you to then start spreading the good news within the organization.

Amanda Setili  (08:39):

Really good point. What do you think about the concentration of wealth? There is a dis big disparity, a big, much bigger disparity than there was before between the pay of CEOs and other executives and the average employee. And I got  to think that might erode trust, but what do we do about it? Like it’s, we’re already there. We’re can we, can you unwind that or, or do you even want to,

Ken Blanchard (09:04):

I think it only gets UNW if, if top managers realize it and start to really share the wealth more consistently, we’re constantly in our own company. How, how can we share with everybody? So if the company wins, everybody wins, not just the, the owners or the top management group, but it’s when you see companies, people ask me who applies and uses the concepts we teach. I said only the leading companies like Southwest airlines in the airline business Wegmans in the grocery business, Nordstroms and retail, Disney and entertainment, you know Synovis and the financial services business you know, I mean, they all have had leaders over time that realize that it’s we, not me when we want to be leaders.

Randy Conley (09:56):

You know, if you think back to E even the famous principle from the Bible about the love of money being the root of all evil, it’s not that money itself is the issue. It’s the love of it and, and sort of the value that people place on it. And one of the simple truth and our book is related to power, but I think it applies to wealth as well. And that is the best use of power is in service to others. I think the best use of wealth is in service to others. And when you see leaders and organizations, the wealth in a way to foster the growth and wellbeing of all their stakeholders, that’s, that’s where the magic happens, right? That’s where good things happen. Versus the, you know, the controlling of wealth, just like power, you know, hoarding, power, wanting power to serve your own self-interest, that’s where we go off track. So I, I think if we can shift our mindsets as leaders to, and, and this is very servant leader, like how can I be of service to others? How can I use my wealth, my power, my position, my title, my influence and service of others. That’s the key mental shift I think we have to make.

Amanda Setili  (11:24):

I think that’s really powerful. I, I like your idea that it’s the love of money. That’s the problem. I see that in my own life, you know, you start chasing money too much. You’re not happy. And, and that can go on for years and suddenly you realize, oh, that wasn’t so smart. I didn’t end up where I wanted to be.

Randy Conley (11:41):

Right, right. It’s it’s not the fulfilling the, the ultimate fulfillment that we hope it will be. You know, we all have probably seen that bumper sticker, you know, he, who has the most toys winds, you know, or, or he who dies with the most toys winds, well, you’re still dead. And those toys aren’t going anywhere with you. Right. So it’s like, it’s more about the journey, the pursuit of the good work you’re doing, you know, the wealth, the status, the, the fame, all of that is sort of just the applause for doing good work. You know, that’s, that’s not what we should be chasing though.

Amanda Setili  (12:23):

Well, I’m sure you all are aware of the 2019 business round table policy that came out saying that instead of you know, the purpose of a corporation being to the shareholders that they were shifting to say, all stakeholders, because you just mentioned Randy all stakeholders. But it seems to me that maybe in these COVID times that tension between the good of the community and the good of the employees sometimes comes into a hard conflict. I’m not sure if I’m seeing it right. But just simple example might be you know, do you require all employees to wear masks even though their customers aren’t because you believe that that’s going to prevent the spread of disease or something. Have you, have you had to wrestle with any of those issues with your clients or is those kind of getting sorted out on their own?

Ken Blanchard (13:14):

Well, it’s interesting, you know, we, we say that the great companies, their number one customers, their people, and so you need to try to get your people to do what’s best for them. And in the process they’ll go out a way to take care of your customers or your clients you know, and those people have become raving fans of your organization that takes care of the bottom line that, you know, profit is the applause you get for taking care of your people. So they’ll take care of your customers. And I, I think that as you look at the use of mass and all it’s, it’s really what’s best for the Mo for the most people. And this whole thing of demanding that you do, this is, you know, let’s, let’s talk, what’s what’s best for us and what’s best for our customers. And can we come to some kind of agreement? So it’s not, I’m saying everybody’s got  to do this. You know, that’s what that, I think that’s what really of sets people. If we’re, if we would argue about, you know, we’re not going to force you, but here’s the data, you know, on what’s good for others.

Amanda Setili  (14:25):

Right. so I’m curious about China and I don’t know if you all have clients that you serve in China, I’m sure that you have companies that have major ties to China, either through supplier relationships or many other ways, but do you think there’s any new management techniques emerging out of China that we can learn from? Are they doing stuff differently than us that maybe might be worth looking at?

Randy Conley (14:49):

Well, we have we have partners in China who represent us in country there. And what we’ve seen is there is a thirst, there’s a hunger for Western ideas on management and leadership, you know, really valuing the, the contributions that people make. So I’m encouraged by that. You know, that’s a good thing. So I, I think there’s a, a real openness to those Western ideas. I was just chatting with one of our colleagues. Andre is he’s one of our founding associates with Ken who helped found the company. Andre has been one of our leading researchers and he was sharing with me that much of the cutting edge academic research is coming from not just China, but other Asian countries that there’s just this real appetite for pushing into new frontiers of, of leadership research and, you know, human dynamics. So I, I think it’s a very, you know, active area that that is you know, really ripe for

Ken Blanchard (16:03):

Growth. And I think Amanda, one of our exciting things about this book, the simple truths of leadership is that it really kind of summarizes what we have found and over the years to be most effective and it’s already starting to be translated in a number of countries. And we really feel that will have a impact in the far east, but the people who get the books say, wow, it’s really powerful because this, you know, it’s easy to read because on one page is a concept like the key you know, creating a great organization is to catch people doing something right. And accent the positive. Then the other page talks about why people aren’t doing that initially. And then in the bottom it says how to make common sense common practice and is, you know, 26 on servant leadership and 26 on, on trust.

Ken Blanchard (16:51):

And so we were really feel that we’re hoping for dialogue around the world on these concepts because people can take ’em one at a time, few at a time and talk with their people. And so but the more we, we kind of try to help each other rather than attack each other. You know, I mean a lot of people say, why do we even go to China for the Olympics and all, I mean, I wish that we had that Olympic attitude where you see those athletes, all hugging each other, no matter what country they’re ever from and congratulating each other and high fiving each other, you know, rather than sort of saying, you know, you’re the enemy, this is that

Amanda Setili  (17:33):

Right. I love to see that too. And even if you look back, you know, decades ago when Dr. Deming helped Japan and then we learned so much from Japan and then, you know, you got  to keep that iterative process of learning from each other, bringing stuff back from other places and flying it here and sending them your stuff and seeing how it flies there. It’s really, really good to see. So I was wondering if you all have any point of view on what some people are calling the crisis of anxiety among young people, you know, from a young person’s perspective, maybe it just see a lot of stressful things in the world. And you know, now that I’ve lived a long time, I’ve realized the world has always been kind of stressful. It’s just different stressors, but, but there’s no doubt that there is more anxiety among young people now than there used to be. How do you advise clients to deal with that? Or do you, do you touch on it at all?

Randy Conley (18:28):

One of, of the things I’ve seen Amanda, and it goes back to one of the reasons we design the book, the way it is, is getting people focused back on simple truths, simple principles, right? There is so much noise in society. We have so many distractions, right? Our cell phones are built in distraction machines that keep us occupied 24 hours a day, if we would let it. And mental health has been sort of one of my areas of interest based on personal life experiences and family experiences. And so I’ve, I’ve volunteered with a, a local mental health organization and it you’re you’re spot on. There are so many challenges in today’s culture. There’s so much noise that I think the best thing we can do is leaders is keep redirecting people back to common sense principles. Let’s go back to the foundation. What are the few guiding principles that really can focus our attention, eliminate the distractions and the noise and keep us moving forward in a, you know, a positive, productive, healthy manner. Cause there there’s no shortage stuff out there to stress us out and get us confused and off track.

Ken Blanchard (19:56):

Yeah. One of the things we’ve also done, Amanda, we developed a student self leadership program because a lot of young people feel victims, you know, and we want to teach them that they can be in charge of their own lives. Like the first thing that we deal with is what are the assume constraints that people have put on ’em that, that, that darn, and then what are their PO points of power? How can they really influence other people? And how do they build a, a, a core of relationship and, and support and all, and, and they, they really get excited about this because to give them some tools, rather than saying, ain’t it awful with them, you know, and saying, you know, it doesn’t have to be awful if you’re in charge of, of who you are and what you want to be in the world.

Amanda Setili  (20:47):

That’s fantastic thinking, how do you push that out cost effectively because I’m sure you don’t have time among your limited number of employees to go out and personally train these young people. How do you, how do you get it into their heads?

Ken Blanchard (20:59):

Well, we’re, we’re training a lot of people and, and we’ve put it into our foundation kind of the Blanchard Institute. So we’re not interested in making money. We’re looking at, this is one of our ways you were talking about giving back to the community. And so we’re really trying to get out there and, and help people because, you know, I think there’s four areas you got  to focus on it’s your people, your customers, you know, the bottom line, but also community. What are you doing to make a difference in your community? And this is one of the ways that we’re really trying to make a difference in the community.

Amanda Setili  (21:35):

If if there’s someone listening to the podcast who would like to access that material for some reason, either first, a family member or for a school they’re working with, or a, a youth group they’re working with, how would they do that? Yeah,

Randy Conley (21:47):

They could go to our company website, Kim and then look up the Blanchard Institute you know, about us check out the about us section and they’ll be able to find information about the Blanchard Institute and our student self leadership program.

Amanda Setili  (22:04):

And is it a train, the trainer thing where you all train educators or

Randy Conley (22:10):

Yeah, yeah. Educators, community members can learn how to deliver the program themselves and, and train students or youth group members or, you know, whatever communities they’re a part of. This

Amanda Setili  (22:25):

Brings me to another aspect of trying to be more are cost efficient as you’re trying to push out new or not new, but just sound management thinking companies are starting to use apps for performance management and things like that. And they say, oh, this is so much better because it’s more up to the minute and different people can comment on different people and it’s all very interactive. And do those things work, or should we just go back to just walking up to somebody or catching ’em on a zoom for 10 minutes and giving it to them face to face?

Randy Conley (22:58):

I would say the answer is yes to all the above. Yes, they do work. We leverage those tools ourselves in our organization. In fact, we just two weeks ago released a virtual reality simulation on building trust. How can you build and restore trust? And, and the user can wear the goggles and go through a whole virtual reality simulation with, with a character on trust, being eroded in a relationship and how they can repair it. And we’ve got apps that, that are companions to our, our virtual training or face to face training that sort of gives real time tips and info and suggestions. And Ken’s been preaching it for 40 plus years, managed by walking around, right? Whether you’re physically doing that or doing it virtually through zoom or any other method, there’s nothing that will ever replace, you know, the human connection leader is all about people at the end of the day. It’s all about relationships and people, the technology, everything else, those are just methods. They’re the beans to the end. The end is how are you cultivating that relationship with your people?

Ken Blanchard (24:20):

We did an interesting thing today. Man, that we’ve broke all over our people in our company who have you know, leadership positions into small groups and, and we’re going to have them be a kind of a, kind of a coaching support group for each other and, and have them, you know, meet a minimum once a month for a couple of hours and saying, how you doing? Is there any way, you know, we can help you and all, so that people have four or five people that, that, that you know, don’t have responsibility over them or to them that can be there just to listen to them and give them thoughts and, and and coaching. So we’re, we’re because it’s a, it’s a tough out there trying to manage people today in this crazy world.

Amanda Setili  (25:06):

It is, it is. I tell you, I’ve been in part of mastermind groups for 10 or 20 years, and I just think it’s the most valuable thing to have a small group of people that knows you well, that has your best interest in mind and can just say at any juncture in your life, Hey, how about do do this? Or it sounds like you’re thinking this, what do you think so helpful? So I think that social media either is, or has been blamed for some of the extra anxiety and divisiveness that we have in the world right now, if you were the king of the world or if you had a magic wand and could change something about the way social media is structured or run or anything, is there anything that you would recommend that we could do to make things better?

Randy Conley (25:53):

Wow, that’s a great question.

Ken Blanchard (25:55):


Randy Conley (25:56):

Yeah. King of the world with social media.

Ken Blanchard (25:59):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, I would constantly share with people the importance of kindness, the importance of being supportive to others and, and, and say, how can you use social media? You know, not just to go and jab people and all, but how can you encourage them and, and support people and then also teach people, you know, I, I remember when I first started teaching, you know, you’d get the evaluations and God you’d have a high hundred people that loved you. And two people thought you were a real jerk and you spent all your time thinking about those two people, rather than saying I’ve learned that that people who are really negative, it’s more about them than it’s about you really.

Amanda Setili  (26:42):

Right. Such a good point.

Randy Conley (26:45):

That’s I, I don’t have an answer for you, Amanda. I, I struggle personally with social media, you know, as a thought leader in representing our company, engaging in social media is necessary for me, right. It’s, it’s a key way that I share our message about trust and servant leadership. And so I’m very active on social media have large followings and engage actively. And, and yet I don’t like I stopped using Facebook personally several years back just because it, it wasn’t benefiting me in my mental state and, and the way it caused me to react. And so, I don’t know, that’s, it’s a, it’s a challenge, you know, it’s, it’s going to be really interesting to see how the role of social media evolves over the next 10, 20 plus years, you know, and it’s crazy to think it’s really only been in our lives for what, you know, maybe the past 10 years,

Amanda Setili  (27:56):


Randy Conley (27:56):

Very long, not very long at all. And it’s dramatically impacted the social landscape of how we interact with each

Amanda Setili  (28:03):

Other. Definitely. It’s a power powerful tool that has been unleashed on the world and has not, not been figured out that’s for sure. It was like, we let the cat out of the bag and we didn’t didn’t know where its way it was headed.

Ken you have several family members working with you and you and your wife founded this company together? Has there been any, anything, any points at which being a family business has been difficult or has risen challenges that you might have advice for other people who are in family businesses?

Ken Blanchard (28:38):

Well Peter Drucker was kind of a mentor of mine and he said years ago, nothing good happens by accident, put some structure on it. So when our son and our daughter and Margie’s brother who was born when she was a freshman at Cornell, joined our company all around the same time, about 25 years ago we decided to form a family council and hired an outside consultant. And we meet for one day, once a quarter as a family and to cause we don’t want the business to goop up our family and we don’t want the family to goof up our business. And so put some structure on it. So many people just don’t talk enough. And so we, we say you need to communicate, communicate, communicate, and, and and that’s why I think we’re constantly thinking of ways to do that with, with the people in our, in our company too, how do we let them feel comfortable to, you know, give feedback up the hierarchy and to help each other. And, and, and also I just love that nothing good happens by accident. Put some, put some structure on it, you know, and, and you know, like as a couple, you know, having date night, you know, once every two weeks in a minimum where you go out for dinner and you can’t talk about the job or the family, you talk about your relationship, boy, you did that 26 a year. What a difference would make in your relationship.

Amanda Setili  (30:03):

Great point. I think that some family businesses, they try to treat family members just as coworkers. Yeah. And that’s not all it is. Yeah, no, there’s a lot more than that. Yeah. There’s so many expectations and perceived judgments come with being a son or a daughter or a father or a mother or a brother or sister that it’s it’s needs to be brought out in the open. Just like what you described.

Ken Blanchard (30:30):

Our son now has taken over the presidency of our company and our daughter heads up the marketing department and Margie’s brother is, is now the CEO. And so I’m the chief spiritual officer, I’m the head cheerleader. And, and, and Margie’s the kinda the head of innovation, you know, she’s always got new ideas, but but the, the leadership of the company is in the family. Yeah.

Randy Conley (30:55):

And, and Blanchard is a very family oriented culture, as you would imagine, there’s, you know, my spouse works for the company has worked for the company for 10 plus years. And we have lots of family members, you know, spouses, brothers, sisters, kids, you know, that all work in the organization. And one of the things like just a funny example, my wife, we’ve had to say, okay, this is a husband, wife conversation, not a work conversation. Right. So that’s our code word, husband, wife. And that’s when it’s my wife tells me, Randy, don’t be a manager and don’t tell me what to do from a work perspective. Just listen to me. Just, just, just empathize. And I’m like, okay, husband, wife, we got  to get in that mode. So for anyone who’s working in a family run business, what Ken said is so wise put some structure around, it just, don’t let it take over your whole life. And, you know, your family becomes your business and your business becomes your family that that’s not good for anyone.

Amanda Setili  (32:03):

Right. Right. Good. In one of your videos Ken, you said that each person needs to develop their own leadership point of view. And you talked about how self insight factored into someone’s becoming a strong leader. How much diversity do you see in good points of view? Like, I’m sure there’s bad points of view or optimal, but among the, the ones that you think are highly effective, do you see a lot of differences?

Ken Blanchard (32:30):

Well, we have a format where, where we ask people who impacted your life the most in the past, what did you learn from them? And then off of that, what values came out of that? And then based on that what are your expectations of people that work for you and what are should they expect from you? And so we have all of our leaders, you know, developing their leadership point of view, my wife, Margie trained some mall. And there people that work for, ’em say, wow, this is really helpful to kind of know where you’re coming from and where, where it came from and, and all that. So we can start to understand each other and, and all, and, and because we’re all products of, of models and people that were, have, have impacted our lives, but you need to be clear with people what, what your values are and what, what you expect of them and what they should expect of, of, of you.

Ken Blanchard (33:29):

And so it’s a, it’s a very powerful thing. We have a master’s degree program at the university of San Diego that goes from self leadership to one on one leadership where you’re building trust team leadership, where you’re building a sense of community and organizational leadership when you’re building a culture and all, but my wife and I teach the leadership point of view course in that a lot of people say it’s the most powerful course, you know, because they really get to find out who they are part of the requirement is that they share it with their people.

Randy Conley (34:04):

Yeah. Leadership is an inside out proposition. What I’ve learned over my career is leadership is much more about who you are than what you do. If you get the beliefs, the attitudes, the values, right on the inside, the actions will follow and you’ll, you know, lead in a positive, helpful way. But it really starts on the inside and you can’t get that right until you go through an intentional process of really crystallizing. What is your point of view of as a leader? You know, most of us get into leadership just by virtue of a promotion. You know, it’s just the next sort of natural step in our career is to move into a management or a leadership role. And we don’t give any reflective thought as to why we want to be a leader. And what we found is the best leaders really do go through that reflective process in their crystal clear on their leadership point of view.

Amanda Setili  (35:04):

That sounds like a great way to just get your head straight around why you’re even there in the workplace and what you want to be and what you want to create. And I think that second step of communicating to others, here’s, what’s important to me. And here’s what you can expect from me. And here’s what I, I hope to get from you because many people you can’t expect everything from everyone. I mean, I’ve been in groups where it, we had a really helpful process at the beginning where people would say things like I’m a great creator. I can think of ideas, I’m an ideator, but don’t expect me to finish things. I just don’t tend to do that. And if you know that, then you, you tap into the person’s best and highest form of contributing.

Randy Conley (35:51):

That’s right. That’s right. One of the simple truths that our book touch on that, and, and the truth is those who plan the battle, rarely battle the plan. And what we mean by that is when you are forming a team and you’re tackling some sort of project, whether it’s an organizational change effort or designing a new product or whatever it may be when you solicit the input of everyone and you take into account they’re unique gifts, abilities, and talents, and then you weave those all together as a whole. That’s when things really start to, to work, you know, you get everyone involved in creating plan and they’re much more on board and they own it. And you’re really leveraging the diverse talents of everyone rather than, you know, hitting on some cylinders and not on the others.

Ken Blanchard (36:50):

Another simple truth that goes along with that is don’t assume that, you know, what motivates people, you know, talk with them, you know, meet with them. One, one of the things around that trucker quote about nothing good happens by accidents. We, we have a process that we use and then we have our clients use called one-on-one where you schedule a one-on-one meeting once every two weeks at a minimum for 15 to 30 minutes. And the manager schedules a meeting and the direct report sets the agenda. They can talk about anything they want. They can talk about a six sick kid. Who’s hurting them coming to the, the office, or they can talk about a goal. They’re concerned about it again, if you met with your people, you know, like that, when, on one-on-ones periodically, what a, what a difference. So and I think now with zoom you can even meet more easily with your people. We don’t have to even work, worry them. They won, come in face to face. You want to do some of that, but, but you know, zooming really helps you, you stay in touch.

Amanda Setili  (37:55):

It definitely does. I have to say that I really miss live real live people. I am really just like, I think next time I get in a group, I’m just going to go hug everyone. Because I just really miss the personal interaction. But I have to say I’ve met more people, but more relationships connected with people from all over the world, more in the last two years during the pandemic than I ever before in my life. And that’s been an its own rewarding thing. So is there anything I should have asked you that I did not ask you all?

Ken Blanchard (38:30):

What do we love most about this new book? Yeah.

Amanda Setili  (38:33):

Yeah. There you go. What do you love most?

Randy Conley (38:35):

There you go. That’s a good one. Ken, what do you love most?

Ken Blanchard (38:38):

Well, I think it, it really is about simple truths and, and it’s easy for people to access them and it’s easy for people to share with others and, and all. And so I’m, I’m really excited about this being a book that you can do with people rather than two people.

Randy Conley (38:57):

Yeah. And I would say Amanda, one of the things that I really like is there’s 52 truths and we’ve had people say 52, okay. What’s up with that number is there’s something magical there? And we’re like, well, the only magical thing is that there’s one for each week of the year, right? And we really intentionally designed the book to be user friendly. And it’s written as, as you know, you’ve read it in bite size, simple truths where you can take one truth per week and really noodle on that. A and we give you common sense suggestions for each truth, how to put them into practice. So the subtitle is making common sense, common practice. These are common sense, simple truths that most of us have either learned and forgot or we just learned. And haven’t really intentionally appli. We give you some step by step instructions on how can you apply this? And we include a discussion guide in the back that leaders can use with their team and say, Hey folks, let’s talk about this particular simple truth. What are your thoughts? How, how are we all applying this? How are we not? What could we do differently? So it’s a super user friendly book that, that we’re hoping will just be a sort of a constant companion for leaders to, to help them be a better servant leader.

Amanda Setili  (40:28):

I totally agree. I love the book. Hey, speaking of that, there’s one thing I really want to know, because I’ve written a couple books and I found it to be pretty darn hard and I think I didn’t make them simple enough. I just so admire the simplicity, not only of this one, but of one minute manager, which was just such an incredible breakthrough and simplicity. Can you make it look easy? Was it actually hard to, to distill things into this level of simple? What was your writing process like? How did you get there?

Ken Blanchard (41:03):

We met Spencer Johnson, who I wrote the one manager was at a cocktail party and he was a children’s book writer. His, he and his wife wrote a whole series of book called value tales. You know, the value curves, the story of Jackie Robbins and the value of determination of Helen Keller and, and all. And so Margie hand carried him over to me and she said, you guys ought to write a children’s book for managers. They won’t read anything else. And since he was a children’s book writer and I’m a storyteller we decided to write a parable because nobody had written a parable in, in the management field. They had Jonathan Livingston Siegal and the littlest prince and all. And so it just kind of became a style to how do you create a story around what you want to teach people? Because people learn from stories, you know, not from thick academic books.

Ken Blanchard (41:58):

And so that’s that’s really, so this, our present book has really got 52 little stories, but that’s when I started to, to try to write simply there and Spencer went on to write who moved my cheese and the things like that. So it’s it’s been a lot of fun to, to to see that. And my mother said, why don’t you write a book by yourself because of the 65 or plus books I’ve written, I’ve only written two by myself, one by on golf. So many people helped by game. I didn’t who to write it and then my spiritual journey, but I’m a learner. I love to work with other people. And so, you know, writing a book with Colleen BARR who took over the president of Southwest, you know, and herb sent down and TruD Cathy who founded Chick-fil-A and you know just Gary Ridge from WD 40 and Norman Vincent peel. I mean what, what fun things to write fun books with people with creative ideas and then people in our company like Randy it’s, it’s just been a ball.

Randy Conley (43:09):

I have a blog, Amanda leading with that I’ve been writing weekly blog articles for nearly 12 years. I’ve got over 400 blog articles that I’ve written on trust and leadership and all sorts of management topics. So I was I’ve sort of trained myself over the years, you know, to write in 500, 700 word, 1000 word art. So that was a great head start for this book. But even as we were writing it, our publisher towards the end of the process, they said, okay, Ken and Randy, we love it. See if you can get it down to 300 words on your explanation of the simple truth and anyone who who’s done, any writing knows it’s challenging. It’s easier to write lengthy pros, right? You, it’s easier to write a whole bunch of stuff on something. You know, it’s really difficult to distill that down into the bare bones essence. What’s the all of Wende homes quote about simplicity. It’s the, I’m sure I’ll get it wrong, but it’s something to the effect of, I wouldn’t give a F for complic for complexity, this side of simplicity, but I would give everything for simplicity on this side of complexity, something like that. Right.

Amanda Setili  (44:38):

I thought you were going to say the mark Twain one, which is sorry. I wrote you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.

Randy Conley (44:45):

Oh, well that, that, that’s much easier to say than the one that I totally, Everyone gets the idea simple and, and, and that applies to the truths in the book. Don’t mistake simple for easy don’t mistake. Simple for easy, simple is actually really hard in, in practicality. So we tried to distill the complex topic of leadership, servant leadership and trust into some bite-sized simple truths. You’ll spend a lifetime applying these principles in your leadership. Right?

Amanda Setili  (45:27):

Well, the show notes will include a link to your book, a link to your website and a link to your blog, Randy, I’m sure there’s lots of great nuggets there. Is there anything else we should direct people toward?

Randy Conley (45:38):

I think those are the two things. If they want to learn more about the Kim Blanchard companies, of course, they could go to Ken If they want more info about the book, they can go to simple truths of And from there jump to any other, you know, book seller that they’d like to go to.

Ken Blanchard (45:57):

And I also have also have Ken Blanchard,

Randy Conley (46:01):

Ken Blanchard, Yeah. Look

Ken Blanchard (46:03):

At all the, all the books. I’ve just had a ball writing books with other people and having fun. So

Amanda Setili  (46:11):

Do you inspire me?

Ken Blanchard (46:13):

You know, I recently celebrated the 59th anniversary of my, you know, my 21st birthday or more. And I people say, when are you going to retire? I’m not going to retire. I’m refiring

Amanda Setili  (46:28):

Yeah. What does that mean? Actually, I saw that I saw that name refire don’t reach tire refiring means stoking the fire.

Ken Blanchard (46:36):

No, it’s it’s I did a bunch of stuff with Zig Ziegler a number of years ago and he invited Margie and I to his 80th birthday and I called him, I was 65. Then I said, Zi, you’re going to retire. He said, there’s no mention of it in the Bible, except for Jesus and Mary and David, nobody under 80 made an impact I’m refiring not retiring. And so when I picked that up and dedicated that book to him, because he had passed away. And so refire means take a look at what you can do to re excite yourself intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.

Amanda Setili  (47:14):

I love that. All right. Well thank you so much for joining me, Ken and Randy, it’s been a real pleasure and we covered so much territory today. I just feel like I could talk to you for three more hours, but we need to wrap it up. So thank you so much for being here today. Thank

Ken Blanchard (47:29):

You, Amanda. Well, good to be with you.

Amanda Setili  (47:32):

All right. Bye bye. Thank you for listening to fearless growth. You can find out more about the show at and you can listen on apple podcasts and Spotify. If you like what you’ve heard, please take a moment to write overview and give us a star rating. Review matters so much in helping others find us. Thanks for your support.

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We all want to do work we love, and as leaders, entrepreneurs and employees, wouldn’t it be great to create workplaces where work feels like play? Where people are tuned in to changes going on in the world around them? Where they’re constantly learning, spotting new opportunities, and taking action to go after them? These traits are essential to an organization’s agility and success. In the Fearless Growth podcast, Amanda Setili and her guests explore the mindsets and choices that lead individuals, leaders and their organizations to outstanding performance.

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