Ken Blanchard pounds home message about setting goals

January 30, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

By Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau

Ken Blanchard

Dr. Ken Blanchard

Goal-setting became a weighty subject at Wednesday night’s first installment of a new series, “The Power of Self-Leadership,” at the Ken Blanchard College of Business on the Grand Canyon University campus.

Dr. Ken Blanchard, the servant leadership guru himself, got personal with a packed lecture hall in the Williams Building, telling the audience about his efforts to get in shape at the age of 73. The odyssey, documented in his new book, “Fit at Last,” written with trainer Tim Kearin, resulted in the loss of more than 30 pounds in a year.

With characteristic humor, Blanchard, who will turn 75 in May and has had two hip replacements, said a motivating factor was that he didn’t want to miss out on senior activities by being dead. His fitness program demanded that he put his own Situational Leadership principles into practice, and the book talks about how he did so.

He said his Key Responsibility Areas, or KRAs, numbered six: aerobics, strength, balance, flexibility, nutrition and weight control, and sleep. He said sleep was the only one he didn’t need any help with.

“I sleep so well that I might be sleeping right now,” he joked.

After setting a goal of dropping 40-plus pounds, he joined Weight Watchers and then devised a strategy the same way he would for an unhealthy organization.

“All good performance starts with clear goals,” Blanchard said, adding that goals need to be SMART (specific and measurable, motivating, attainable, relevant, and trackable and timebound). “I hope you can understand the power of setting goals.”

Planning, coaching and evaluation are necessary in helping others accomplish their goals, he said, adding that the San Diego-based WD-40 Co. is particularly strong in tracking the objectives of employees.

“Managers meet with their direct reports every two weeks for 15 to 30 minutes,” Blanchard said, “and the person reporting sets the agenda.”

He said GCU provides another example of how goal-setting should work.

“One of the reasons Grand Canyon has grown is that it has set observable, measurable goals,” he said. “Most educational institutions aren’t run like businesses, and that’s why their tuition keeps going up.”

Blanchard said America has become good at discussion without any direction, as evidenced by the gridlock involving elected officials in Washington, D.C. The remedy: setting goals.

“In Washington, we don’t have problem solvers, just people who want to get re-elected,” he said.

Blanchard will return to campus on Tuesday, Feb. 11, and on Wednesday, March 26, as part of the series. He also will serve as a judge at the finals of the Canyon Challenge entrepreneurial competition on March 27. Next Tuesday’s speaker will be Howard Farfel, the president of Blanchard’s organization, at 5:30 p.m. in the Williams lecture hall.

Admission is free. For more information about the leadership series, contact Helen Hammond at 639.9703 or [email protected]. For more about the Ken Blanchard Companies, go to

Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].


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