Gung ho! How to motivate people in any organisation

Reviewed by: 
Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles
Harper Collins
Alistair Schofield, Managing Director, Extensor Limited

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Another excellent short story from the co-author of “The One Minute Manager” and “Who Moved My Cheese”.

The book tells the story of Peggy Sinclair, a manager assigned to run a failing manufacturing plant, seemingly as part of a scheme by the general manager to get rid of both her and the failing plant.  Fortunately for Peggy, one of her employees was Andy Longclaw, a wily Native American whose father had tutored him in how to motivate and engage people.

In this captivating book you will learn about  the Spirit of the Squirrel, the Way of the Beaver and the Gift of the Goose.  While these may seem improbable metaphors for a management philosophy, the book makes a number of key points that are key to having an enthusiastic and engaged workforce.

To provide any more details of the story would be to give the plot away and, since the book only takes a couple of hours to read, it is better that you read it for yourselves.  However, what I will pass on is that the book gives clear messages on the need to share a compelling vision with staff, to empower staff and to provide support and encouragement along the way.
My only criticism is that the story has a tendency to distract the reader from the key messages.  For example, early on in the story when Peggy is establishing herself a the new plant manager, she receives the advice “…values are more management’s unique responsibility than goal setting.  With goals, you will have a couple of critical ones.  With values, every one is critical.”  There are many such pearls of wisdom that are easily missed when your interest is focused on whether Peggy will manage to save the plant, and whether the villain of the story, Old Man Morris, gets his way.

Despite this one criticism, Gung ho! is a book I would readily recommend to anyone in a position of management.  Being short, easy to read and to the point, it is also the sort of book that a manager could buy for all members of a team as a precursor to a team discussion or as the basis of a do-it-yourself training course.

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