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The On-Time, On-Target Manager: How a

The On-Time, On-Target Manager: How a "Last-Minute Manager" Conquered Procrastination

3.4 9
by Ken Blanchard, Steve Gottry

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Ken Blanchard's phenomenal bestsellers, such as The One Minute Manager and Raving Fans, have made him a globally recognized business legend. Millions look to Blanchard for innovative approaches to management, leadership, customer service, and much more. Now, he has joined with noted business author Steve Gottry to explore one of the most common


Ken Blanchard's phenomenal bestsellers, such as The One Minute Manager and Raving Fans, have made him a globally recognized business legend. Millions look to Blanchard for innovative approaches to management, leadership, customer service, and much more. Now, he has joined with noted business author Steve Gottry to explore one of the most common and insidious problems plaguing the workplace—procrastination.

The On-Time, On-Target Manager is the story of Bob, a typical middle manager who puts things off to the last minute. As a result, he misses deadlines because his lack of focus causes him to accomplish meaningless tasks before getting to the important things. Like many professionals, Bob rationalizes, justifies, and tries to explain. Luckily, Bob is sent to his company's CEO—which stands for "Chief Effectiveness Officer"—who helps him deal with the three negative side effects of procrastination: lateness, poor work quality, and stress to himself and others. Bob learns how to transform himself from a crisis-prone Last-Minute manager into a productive On-Time, On-Target manager.

With this engaging parable, Blanchard and Gottry offer practical strategies any professional can put into practice to improve his or her performance.

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The On-Time, On-Target Manager
How a "Last-Minute Manager" Conquered Procrastination

Chapter One

Late for a Very Important Date

Bob the Manager woke up earlier than usual one Monday morning. He always set his alarm for 6:00 A.M. so he had time for a half-hour walk around the small lake that was two short blocks from his house. This day, though, his alarm went off at 5:30 A.M. That's because he had a 7:30 A.M. breakfast meeting with his boss, Dave.

Bob was a little apprehensive about the meeting. He wasn't sure his longtime dream of being promoted from Team Manager to Group Manager was coming true, or if the meeting would spiral downward into an unwelcome discussion of a few minor "performance issues" in his past.

In any event, by rolling out of bed a half hour earlier, he'd have time for his walk and would still be able to make the meeting on time.

Bob completed his brisk walk, took a quick shower, sprayed on his favorite cologne, got dressed, and tied a perfect knot in his most "corporate" tie. He hadn't worn a tie for several years -- what with the advent of relaxed dress codes in the business world -- so he struggled a bit with that stupid knot.

Then he strapped on his very expensive, highly accurate Swiss watch and noted the time. Oops! He was running a tad behind. Getting dressed "Just right" had taken more time than he'd anticipated.

Not to worry, Bob the Manager thought. I can make up some time on the road, he assured himself. He threw his PDA -- his palmtop computer -- and his sleek aluminum-clad laptop into his computer bag and got into his car.

He glanced at his watch again. He compared it with the clock in the car. Yep. Still running behind. Better call Dave.

When he reached the next red light, Bob the Manager dug through his computer bag, found his PDA, looked up the number, and called his boss.

"Dave here," said the voice on the other end.

"Dave, this is Bob. I'm running a little behind. Are you at the restaurant yet?"

"Yes," said the voice. "And so far, you're fifteen minutes late."

"I know. I've run into traffic," Bob said, even though he knew that traffic this day was no worse than usual. He could easily have allowed for it if he had thought things through ahead of time. "I'll get there as soon as possible."

"Good," said Dave. "I've got a full day going here."

When Bob arrived, he parked his car and practically ran to the door. He was out of breath when he walked inside and scanned the restaurant for Dave.

"About time," Dave said when Bob approached the table.

"Sorry, Dave. I hate to keep you waiting," Bob huffed and puffed, still gasping for oxygen. He took his seat and looked at Dave with considerable embarrassment.

Dave hesitated for an uncomfortable length of time before he finally responded. "Bob, how long have you been with Algalon Micro?"

"Six ... no, seven years, I think."

"Seven is about it," Dave agreed. "And what concerns me is that in all that time, you still don't seem to have grasped what's really important to us."

Bob the Manager began to tense up. "I'm really sorry, but what have I missed exactly?"

"This is a fast-moving business, Bob. Technology advances not by the year, or month, or even week. We are on the fast track. My view is that things change daily. As the saying goes, 'The cheese has moved.' And it keeps moving at lightning speed."

"I do know that," Bob reassured his boss.

"If we're going to compete," Dave continued, "we have to remain keenly aware of what the competition is doing, and leap ahead of them."

"I know that, too, Dave."

"If that's the case, Bob, why are many of the forecasts you prepare delivered to my office late? Why is every budget turned in at the last possible moment? Why is 'Just in time' inventory management such an ongoing struggle for your team? As Team Manager, you have the responsibility to make certain that essential events take place on time."

"Yes, I know, Dave. I assure you, I'm doing my best."

"Bob, last month you got two days behind in the delivery of motherboards to one of our biggest customers because you failed to order one little capacitor on time. That means our customer lost an entire day of production."

"I remember what happened exactly," Bob the Manager protested. "I was buried in paperwork at the time. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day."

Dave wasn't buying Bob's excuse. "We just got word that we lost that account to Dyad Technologies. Seems they claim that they can deliver the boards on time. Apparently, their other customers are willing to back up that claim."

Bob the Manager turned red-faced. "I can't believe we lost that customer. I thought we were in solid with them. It was just one little slipup."

"This is business in today's world. According to the people in sales, your little slipup is going to cost our company almost $200,000 a year."

"I had no idea ... "

"Well, now you do."

"In all my years here, I believe that's the only time I've blown a deadline, Dave. And it's certainly the first time we've ever lost any business because of me."

"It's not just the lost business, Bob. It's your whole pattern of just barely making deadlines. That pattern not only has impact on the quality of your work, but it causes delays in other departments. You always seem to come in right under the wire, and quite a bit of that shows in your work. You rush to get things done when time is running out, and you make mistakes. Some of them have been costly, whether you know it or not. We just can't tolerate that kind of sloppiness at Algalon. Your work habits are creating stress for your coworkers, and I'm almost certain you have to be feeling the stress yourself."

The On-Time, On-Target Manager
How a "Last-Minute Manager" Conquered Procrastination
. Copyright © by Ken Blanchard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Ken Blanchard, PhD, is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He has co-authored 60 books, including Raving Fans and Gung Ho! (with Sheldon Bowles). His groundbreaking works have been translated into over 40 languages and their combined sales total more than 21 million copies. In 2005 he was inducted into Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time. The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honors, he is cofounder with his wife, Margie, of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, a leading international training and consulting firm.

Steve Gottry is the owner of Priority Multimedia Group, Inc., a content creation company that develops films, videos, books, and marketing materials. Gottry and his firm have won a number of awards, including three Silver Microphones for radio and awards from the International Advertising Festival for direct mail and film. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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On-Time, On-Target Manager 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blanchard and his co-writers present the business world as short stories. A nice approach as far the often clinical business books. Unfortunately, several, and especially The On-Time, On-Target Manager, just are not realistic. In this tale, ahrried, over worked manager finds himself on probabtion for performance issues. Lucky Manager, the firm has ahired a new CEO. Not the CEO we usually expect in a company, but a Chief Efficiency Officer. The Chief Efficiency Officer is to guide the manager, and other employees, to efficiency with cutesy homework assignments that will instruct them to put family first, the company second and to ignore all those little tasks that roll in each day. Seriously, at least in my neck of the woods, such a thing will nto happen. Instead of feeling empowered, the book leaves me feeling more beat up and disappointed.
bgj More than 1 year ago
While reading the first few chapters I was very uncomfortable as I clearly saw myself in the character "Bob". The folowing chapters were very enlighting and useful as a guide to "pull myself together" and be more effective and gain peace of mind in my personal and professional life. I found that these steps are not complicated, but very simple. As a manager, I get to "walk the talk" as well as teach the principles. I am very encouraged and excited about the results. I highly recommend this book for your personal life and professional life. It will asist in "getting a life"! I intend to share it with my co-workers.
Timur37 More than 1 year ago
I have read "The One Minute Manager" and found it very use full and have the same opinion of this book as well. It is a easy and insightful read.
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