Human resources legend Ken Blanchard loses home in California blaze

Legendary One Minute Manager co-author Ken Blanchard lost his home of 30 years to the fires that raged in California last week. His house, in Rancho Bernardo, midway between San Diego and the Ken Blanchard Companies HQ in Escondido, was completely destroyed while he was on a golfing holiday in Florida and his wife, Margie, attended a conference.

“The first news I had was when I got a voicemail message from our son, Scott, saying that his house was a big ball of flames and ours must have gone too,” says Blanchard.

A quarter of Blanchard’s Escondido employees were evacuated from their homes and the office itself was threatened with destruction.

As soon as news came that it was in the path of the flames, the office closed and contingency plans put into operation to keep staff in touch with developments.

Crucially, Sharepoint, Blanchard’s online portal connecting the company’s international network of staff worldwide, to enable remote working, was adapted to house a dedicated ‘Fire Hub’ site. This allowed the company to post everything from information about healthcare prescriptions and housing to listings of contact numbers and details on how to donate to fire storm relief.

It provided information about road and local school closures and listed offers of help from colleagues. At the height of the fires, information was posted on what to do when wildfires threatened, alongside health and safety advice.

The Blanchard office escaped serious damage, closing for only two and a half days. The Blanchard house was not so lucky and was reduced to ashes.

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