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Whale Done-Book Review

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"The one thing competition can never steal from you is the relationship you have with your people and the relationship they have with your customers"

Innovation is the key in business. However any new strategy, be it on price or service is immediately known by competitors and replicated. Copying is inevitable. This means that the only real competitive edge is the relationship you have with your employees and your customers. If your employees trust you, respect you and believe in your goals then all the other factors like good customer service, product quality, pricing, marketing and delivery comes automatically.

This book is all about how to create a positive environment at home and at work. This can be attained by catching people doing things right and praising them when they make progress. At work, building positive relationships helps you become more productive, achieve greater results and create an ambience where everyone starts enjoying their work and find it challenging. At home, it helps remove communication gaps and strained relationships and helps in creating a joyful atmosphere.

About a year back, my dad had asked me to give this book a read. Now that I have finally done it, the challenge is to see whether I can make these principles work for me too.

About the Authors

Ken Blanchard's books have helped more than 20 million worldwide discover effective leadership.

Kenneth Blanchard is an American businessman, as well as a consultant, speaker, trainer, and author on management and leadership.He owns the Ken Blanchard Companies, a family-owned business in San Diego, California and is well-known for developing the Blanchard and Hersey Model of situational leadership theory together with Paul Hersey. With Spencer Johnson, he developed the One Minute Manager concept, and co-authored a series of books on it. His One Minute Manager Library has collectively sold more than 7 million copies and has been translated into more than 20 languages. He has also tied in Situational Leadership with team development, which he calls Highly Performing Teams.

Dr. Blanchard received his B.A. from Cornell University in government and philosophy, an M.A. from Colgate University in sociology and counselling, and a Ph.D. from Cornell in educational administration and leadership. He maintains a faculty position as Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a visiting lectureship at Cornell University, where he is also an elected member of the Board of Trustees.

He has been a guest on a number of national television programs, and has been featured in Time, People, US News & World Report.

Thad Lacinak is Vice President and nationwide director of animal training for Busch Entertainment Corporation, with more than 28 years of experience in marine mammal training. He lives in Windermere, Florida.

Chuck Tompkins is Vice president and head of animal training at Sea World in Orlando, Florida.

Jim Ballard is an educator, corporate trainer, and writer and has worked closely on three books with Ken Blanchard-Mission Possible, Everyone's a coach, and Managing by Values. He lives in Amherst, Massachussets.


The term "WHALE DONE" is actually a pun on the phrase "WELL DONE." It is the act of catching people doing things right. How this phrase came about is explained below.

The book is based on the life of Wes Kinsley, a gruff sales manager who is facing a lot of management problems, both at work and at home. He is bothered about the poor productivity and the low morale at his work place, constantly trying to figure out how to get his employees to perform. On top of this, he is facing problems at home where there is a complete lack of communication resulting in very strained relationships with his wife and kids. Right from the beginning, he appears a very troubled man.

Wes Kinsley definitely needed some time off. So when on a business conference at Orlando, he decides to visit Sea world, a world famous marine zoological park so that he could leave his troubles behind; at least for some time. The show totally puts him in awe. More than the amazing performances, he is thrilled and left wondering at how the trainers are able to control 10,000 pound killer whales, probably the most feared predators in the ocean. And above all, both the trainer and the whales seemed to be having a good time. Wes stayed back after the show and met up with the man behind the show. He wanted to know how they were able to get such a tremendous performance from these animals.

Dave Yardley, the head of the killer whale program at Sea World then goes on to explain how these killer whales taught them a lot. He explains that the whales were their teachers and not the other way around.

The first step is all about building trust with the whale and this process is cumbersome. But the gains are totally worth the effort. Trust and friendship were the reason behind the splendid performance. Trust is the foundation of positive relationship. This removes fear. Here the patience of the trainer is the biggest virtue. This scenario is very applicable for a businessman too where the whole game is about the satisfying the customer. The key ingredient is about satisfying our own people. When our employees lose their fear of us, the positive vibes between them and us are transferred to the customers.

Build trust...Accentuate the positive. Focus should be on the positives, not the negatives. The trainers pay a lot of attention to what the animal does correctly. And when they do something wrong, their behaviour is ignored. "The more attention you pay to a behaviour, the more it will be repeated." If you give lots of attention to the things they do right, then they do the right thing more often. Each employee should be treated as a separate individual. Being very informal with them, calling by their first name and paying attention to their small details help. Each individual has unlimited capacities for development and accomplishment. Make maximum effort to let them know you are their friends. Then everything becomes a game for them; a new challenge.

Never give your employees the feeling that a 'superior' is compelling an 'inferior' to do what he wants. They can 'live down' to your expectations. Never be surprised when they carry out your task, even if you have asked them only once.

It is very important what you focus on. Such a thoughtful philosophy can be applied, be it at



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