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The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2004

    Terrific Inspiration

    Great Leaders are great service people- the idea of the leadership through service is hard for many managers to understand. Once people realize the goal is to lead not to manage people. Once again Blanchard stirs the mind and touches the heart of the matter and the reader.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Inspirational treatise on leadership

    With more than 20 million copies of his books in print, One-Minute Manager author Ken Blanchard is one of the world's most popular business authors. You will immediately understand why after you read this inspirational business novel that he wrote with Mark Miller, training and development vice president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain. They tell the fictional, motivational story of Debbie Brewster, a newly appointed manager of corporate client services for a division of her company. As the narrative opens, Brewster is down for the count and sprawled out on the canvas. Her business unit is the company's worst and she's failing miserably as a leader. She worries that she will lose her job, but the firm's president becomes her mentor and gives her a crash course on leadership. He's a savvy leader and she is an apt pupil. He walks her through the "SERVE" leadership model and brings the reader along. You'll feel the uplift as the book closes with Brewster's staff cheering her as she moves up to a new executive position. getAbstract warmly recommends this short, nicely written parable on the meaning of leadership.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2014

    I like a good story, with realistic characters, a logical plot,

    I like a good story, with realistic characters, a logical plot, and a thoughtful message … which is why I really enjoyed reading the 10th Anniversary edition of “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller . . . 

    Now, let’s be clear … this title will never become a Hollywood blockbuster.  On the other hand, this would make a GREAT training film as part of an effective leadership development program in any organization.

    If you are familiar with Blanchard and Miller’s other works, both individually and as co-authors, you know their style leans to short, easy-to-read, narrative style books which are deceptively simple-appearing.  However, their work is always engaging and useful … if you are serious about considering your own leadership and how you might become a better leader.

    Here’s my interpretation of the secret of “The Secret”:    Leaders Serve …

    The book provides a reality-based scenario of Debbie Brewster’s learning journey as she slowly learns that basic fact about leading others.  I suspect many of us started out more like Debbie in our perception of leadership than we might like to admit.   She goes from a leadership perspective that involves a focus on herself to where her focus is on others … those she serves … her team.

    Debbie learns, as we do along with her, that leadership is about serving others.  Five core components create the focus for servant leadership: 

    1)   See the Future

    2)  People:  Engage and Develop Others

    3)  Improvement:  Reinvent Continuously

    4)  Success:  Value Results and Relationships

    5) Credibility:  Embody the Values  

    These are not unique or new concepts.  If you are a student and practitioner of leadership, you have seen this all before.

    However, this book provides insight into them in a very down-to-earth and easily understandable fashion.  Other authors take hundreds and hundreds of pages loaded with technical terms and convoluted illustrations, often at a mega-level beyond the reality of many of us, to say what Blanchard and Miller do simply, quickly, and effectively.

    One quibble:  I am not a big fan of titles like “The Secret”, simply because they imply something mysterious  and difficult to learn … this book is anything but mysterious or difficult.

    That said, here are three quick observations about some value-added features in this book:

    1)  Debbie has to learn about servant leadership in small doses and take notes along the way … Lucky for you that her notes, neatly organized and including only the essentials are available in the back of the book.  She did the work and you get the benefit.  These are “Debbie’s Secret Notes”, so you know they are extra special and valuable.

    2)  Debbie’s leadership journey takes months, but you can read this book the first time in one rainy afternoon … Everything is in easily understood language.

    3) A Self-Assessment is also included for your use and continued consideration … You probably already know where you are with becoming a servant leader, but this simple assessment based on the five core components walks you through the details of how they are lived out.  It serves as both an excellent reinforcement of the concepts in the book and as a measure of where you are at a point.  You will want to revisit this section from time to time, both as a quick refresher and to see how you are growing.

    You DO want to become a better leader who serves, right? …

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  • Posted September 4, 2014

    Here┬┐s one thing I loved immediately about this book. It is busi

    Here’s one thing I loved immediately about this book. It is business wisdom told through a story. I read a lot of books, 95% of them being non-fiction. The Secret book promo I rarely read novels, but opening up a book by co-authors Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard provides the substance of a factual learning tool, presented with the appeal of a story we can all relate to. Meet Debbie Brewster, an executive in search of becoming a great leader. As a participant in a mentoring program Debbie quickly learns that there’s a huge disparity between her interpretation of ‘great leadership’ and the secret of ‘great leadership’ as revealed through her experiences.

    Debbie had a burning question: What is the secret of great leaders? Her mentor didn’t answer directly, but instead coached her through a series of learning exercises, the first one structured around seeking ways that she, as a manager, could serve her team. That caught Debbie by surprise, but she followed the advice of her mentor and learned that leaders must continuously as themselves: Am I a self-serving leader or a serving leader? The secret of great leaders is that they serve others; they listen well, they look for opportunities to act and serve. A good point to instill in the minds of leaders is this: “A person can serve without leading, but a leader can’t lead well without serving”.

    One of the cool things about this book is that it takes real life situations, things we all encounter in the workplace, then using a narrative storyline we learn along Debbie as she is guided to solutions for issues we can identify with; things like decision making and team dynamics. When Debbie first assumed her leadership position she came to it with the idea that leadership was all about a level on the org chart. To illustrate how leadership is not positional, her mentor used a picture of an iceberg. The tip above water represented skills (doing) while the part underneath that was unseen stood for character (being). It wasn’t really an ‘aha’ moment for Debbie but she began to grasp the concept of how important it was to operate from a foundation of sound character, solid values, and have the mindset of serving. You may have guessed the secret sauce of great leadership by now, but let’s take this a step further. A one point Debbie was struggling with how to serve. The recommendation from her mentor? Keep a list of all the ways she served those she lead – big ways and small ways. This way she was able to piece together how actions are related to service, or maybe self-service, which Debbie and her mentor discussed during coaching sessions.

    This book is one of those books that was hard to put down, rare for a business book; a treasure trove of best practices that will transform your idea of leadership and in the process reinforce even the most tenuous of relationships with those you lead and even those who lead you. You can read the book in a weekend and trust me on this – you can start to apply it on Monday. At the end of the story, the authors provide a short review chapter and, for the brave who want to start their transformation, a self-assessment questionnaire. In case you’re the type who always wants to know more there is a Frequently Asked Questions chapter as well.

    You can’t really go wrong with this book. It’s non-fiction, it's a novel, it’s a leadership manual, it’s a field guide for leaders of all caliber. 

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  • Posted December 20, 2013

    Highly recommended for all leaders

    This book was suggested to me by a well-respected female leader at my company who I have come to really admire. She stated that it would be a quick and easy read and that it was. I now know The Secret and will recommend this book as well as the SERVE philosophy to anyone else aspiring to be a great leader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    Great information!


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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2010

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    Posted March 1, 2009

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    Posted January 20, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

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    Posted April 10, 2009

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