Book Summary 13: Putting the One Minute Manager to work

Last week I reviewed the “One Minute Manager”. This week I thought of going deeper into the same series of books – this one covers how to practically apply the principles of the previous book.

First here is a quick overview of the previous book:

People, like animals, need to know the ultimate goal (as well as acceptable standard, and behaviours) before they can try to achieve it. Once the person knows what the goal is they will try to make it happen. However, they will make mistakes. It is important for managers to praise when they do something right instead of reprimand when they do something wrong in their initial training phase. And if you know they have the ability to reach that goal and they intentionally fell short, it may be time for a reprimand.


This book starts with the ABC idea – Activators, Behaviours, and Consequences.
Activators are those things which need to be accomplished. Thus goal-setting is an activation activity. Behaviours are the things a person says or does. Consequences are things the manager does after someone accomplishes a goal (or attempts to accomplish it).

Activator tasks include:
– one minute goal setting
– setting the areas of accountability
– describing measurable performance standards
– instructions on how to go about it

Behaviours would include things like:
– writing reports
– selling products
– being on time
– missing a deadline
– making mistakes
(Note: behaviours do not include feelings, which are complicated and hard to measure or observe.)

Consequences would include:
– one minute praising (immediate, specific and sharing feelings)
– one minute reprimand (immediate, specific, share feelings, reaffirm your faith in the person)
– no response

Here’s a good rule of thumb:
If a person CAN’T do something, go back to goal-setting or training.
If a person WON’T do something, give a reprimand as that is a behaviour/attitude issue.

If managers get the As and Cs of different projects right, it becomes easier to get the best Bs.
The author recommends using the KISS method (Keep it Short & Simple) in setting each of these A, B and Cs.

It is very easy for some people to only reprimand and not praise. It is very easy for some people to only praise and avoid the uncomfortable moment of a reprimand. This one-minute management method is simple, but it is not easy.

The authors also remind us that great managers have much more free time than mediocre managers.

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