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Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships

Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships is written by Ken Blanchard (of One-Minute Manager fame), Thad Lacinak, Chuck Tompkins, and Jim Ballard. Blanchard Companies, Inc. is a ringleader in the positive management movement and this book continues that legacy with another great idea that you can learn and start using in mere minutes.

Whale Done! is based on the techniques used in training killer whales at SeaWorld. The initial message that grabbed my attention and interest was this: “You don’t punish a killer whale and then ask a trainer to get in the water with him.”

Talk about illuminating the pitfalls of negative reinforcement! Imagine that for a second.

From this initial precept and experience in working with killer whales, the authors build and demonstrate a system you can use for managing the relationships in your life—both business and personal relationships.

Much of what is here can be found in other management resources in different formats and styles. One of the signature elements in the Blanchard books I have read is that they take ideas and information and simplify them.

Occasionally, it may seem a bit over-simplified, especially when you are used to reading weightier tomes. But, it is a mistake to assume that simplicity means inferiority. Learning the skills and techniques in this book alone can have a hugely positive impact on your relationships.

Praising positive performance is not a new idea. We all know it and we’ve heard it before. We believe in it and we encourage it. But, we backslide and give up and fall back to our old patterns of negative reinforcement. It is hard to change our habitual responses.

This book can help change those habits, though, with its easy-to-remember tips and examples for accentuating the positive and for how to “redirect” when someone makes a mistake. Redirection is a key element of this book, too. It’s not all Pollyanna Positive Praising. People do screw up. Screw-ups cost time and money and praising screw-ups is as counterproductive as it is counterintuitive. So, we redirect -- essentially, with more communication and training.

In working with people of the Gen X and Millennial generations, it is imperative that we learn to manage in a more cooperative, team-oriented and positive manner. Baby Boomers might initially have a difficult time with this style, since most of their experiences are with more authoritative, negative-consequences-based systems. But, regardless of one’s generation, most of us can agree that a positive environment is far better than a negative one.

Whale Done! is not just a business book. It has several chapters on using the same principles in your personal relationships, too, including with your spouse and with your children. So, you might find it in the psychology section of your library or bookstore if not in the Business Section.

Highly recommended for anyone wanting to improve their leadership skills and their relationship skills. A Kindle version is also available. You might find you want to buy multiple copies to share--I'm on my fourth book now!


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