Book Review: One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, by Kenneth Blanchard

Title: The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey

Author: Kenneth Blanchard with William Oncken, Jr. and Hal Burrows

End Rating: Purchase and Add to your Business Book Library (Rating Scale: Purchase and Add to your Business Book Library, Borrow from a friend or the library, Don’t waste your time)

Total Number of Pages: 137

Time Investment: Quick Read (Can be read in one to two dedicated sittings)

I first read The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey as a requirement for my Marketing Management class in college about 10 years ago.  I had already read the One Minute Manager, which I enjoyed, but found this to be a book that every manager and every business owner needs to read.  Furthermore, I think the principles in this book need to be understood at every level in the organization.

I don’t want to give away every detail of this book, because I’d like you to read it for yourself and then pass it along to others in your company to read and then return to you.  This could be a great topic of conversation for your next one-on-one with the managers in your organization (even if there are only two if you).  I do, however, want to share two key principles with you that will help you understand why I enjoyed it so much:

First, what is a “monkey”? According to Blanchard, “A monkey is the next move.” Have you ever been in a meeting where you left with a lot of to do items, and you wonder if they really belong to you?  Have you ever been assigned a task and wondered if that task is really what needs to be done?  Then you could be dealing with a monkey.  Once I read this book, I learned that certain tasks don’t have to be done well, if they just need to be finished quickly.  Now this sounds bad, but think about it.  Aren’t there tasks in your life that you don’t need to treat like a gold plated proposal to a customer?  Monkeys are tasks that take up our time that SHOULD be spent in other places.  Are you the creator of your product?  Delegate other tasks like bookkeeping, shipping, etc that can be done by other people.

Second, and to me the most important, Blanchard talks about the concept that “All monkeys, must be handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare.”  This single principle has guided my professional life for the last 10 years.   When working for others, I got lots of points for taking Monkeys off my boss’ backs.  I was a valued employee because I freed up their time to do what only they can do.  I pushed to have every other task handed to me, and they loved me for it.  Wouldn’t you love it if those working for you would take Monkeys off YOUR back? Now that I own my own business, and often I’m the only employee, I still find ways to have others help take Monkeys off my back.  Yes, I can spend 3 hours packing and shipping quarterly catalogs, but I can pay a neighbor kid to do it for me for $15 and my three hours are better spent on my marketing plan and execution, something I currently cannot pay anyone to do for $15.

I welcome your review! Have you read the One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey? What principles have made a difference for you?  If you haven’t read the book, did this make you think of a Monkey you can give to someone else?  Tell us what it is, and what you’re going to do about it.

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