Management consultant and best-selling author Ken Blanchard inspired some 300 nonprofit sector leaders who heard him speak at Charlotte’s Booth Playhouse. Blanchard’s talk kicked off the Wake Forest University Annual Nonprofit Symposium at Wake Forest Charlotte Center Dec. 11.
Blanchard drew on decades of experience to deliver his message that a clear, inspiring vision, the ability to work with people, and an attitude of servant-leadership were essential not only for the success of individual organizations, but also communities and the country.
“To move to this philosophy you have to have a different definition [of] what your life is about,” he said. Instead of looking at status and recognition, Blanchard told the crowd, “We need to look at significance.”
After his talk at the Booth Playhouse, participants went back to Wake Forest Charlotte Center and broke up into small groups to discuss the topics Blanchard raised and the issues they face as nonprofit leaders.
Blanchard is the best-selling author of The One Minute Manager, a seminal management book that has sold more than 13 million copies. He’s also spent more than three decades as one of the country’s most sought after speakers and management consultants.
Blanchard said that vision and values were vital for organizations that want to be successful. For instance, he said, companies and nonprofit organizations both do better when they have a small number of values they focus on, and when they rank those values in order of importance.
“Walt Disney had four rank-ordered values,” Blanchard said, describing how the entertainment entrepreneur set up his hugely successful amusement parks. The No. 1 value, safety, took precedence over the No. 2 value, courtesy, so that Disney employees knew how to act when they encountered conflicts between those values.
Blanchard also talked about his involvement with Vision San Diego, a nonprofit group that aims to bring together government, business and the social sector to solve community problems, such as a lagging high school graduation rate. Key to that effort, Blanchard said, was the organization’s ability to bring people from different sectors — the media, business, education, government and businesses — together with a common aim.
“If you really want to try to solve a problem, don’t just focus on one sector of society,” Blanchard said. “How can you get all these sectors interested in what you’re trying to do?”
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