The Secret What Great Leaders Know and Do

Format: Programme including facilitator guide, PowerPoint visuals and DVD
Price £140 + VAT. Extra participant kits £31.50 + VAT to include copy of the management fable The Secret and a workbook.
From The Ken Blanchard Companies
Contact 020 8540 5404 or e-mail

Ken Blanchard, of The One Minute Manager fame, is a colossus in business training. He is held in great regard by readers of this magazine, but I wonder how this latest venture will be received.

Blanchard has put together a pack on great leadership based around the concept of the SERVE Model and its management fable The Secret – a wholesome tale of Debbie who learns to serve others.

SERVE stands for: See the future Engage and develop others Reinvent continuously Value results and relationships and Embody the values.

The pack is for leaders at all levels who wish to inspire managers to increase employee engagement. There are plenty of honourable intentions about “living the values” and understanding that “leadership is born out of a servant’s heart”.

The DVD features a series of conversations between Blanchard and Mark Miller. Miller is vice-president of training and development at US restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, a billion dollar US fast food business specialising in the type of chicken sandwiches and milkshakes that would give Jamie Oliver apoplexies.

Chick-fil-A also adheres to Christian values – its corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” – and these values come across in everything that Miller says.

Blanchard co-founded the Faith Walk Leadership, which is dedicated to equipping people to “lead like Jesus”. He smiles benignly as Miller talks about linking serving and leadership. Would a senior UK manager feel as warm and friendly if they were expected to watch this? Can the UK buy into the idea of leadership as willing, ennobling servitude? Perhaps not.

Even though the workbook contains some great techniques and exercises on creative thinking and core values, it is not specific on how to embody them. Simply telling a participant that “true leadership is based on trust and one of the best ways to build trust is to walk the talk” leaves them washed up on cliché beach.

All of the package elements weave together well: sections of the business fable The Secret are referred to in the DVD, but the tone and purpose of the package are more in tune with US evangelism. Its religious overtones may alienate a diverse UK audience.

Useful? 2 out of 5

Well-written? 4 out of 5

Relevance? 3 out of 5


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