Gung Ho, by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles was a wonderful book that discussed many important factors involved in making a company truly successful. It had a good storyline to help to tell the story of Gung Ho. When I first picked up the book to read it I really had no idea what to expect to learn from the book. The points that were made in this book were very simple and common sense principles. I say that these principles are simple, but many companies do not think of these little things when running a large business. They try to go “by the book” and get too caught up in sticking to their rules and regulations. Sometimes you just have to use a little common sense when running a business.
Gung Ho is a great idea to help a business become as successful as possible by looking at the internal workings of the company. The idea of Gung Ho starts with the most basic part of a company, the employees. If your employees are happy and excited about working at your company, then productivity will increase. Everyone will work harder for something they think is worthwhile. Take my classes and myself for example. I will be tempted to work harder and study more in a class that I think is worth my time and a class that I enjoy. Professors at Methodist College could learn a lot from this book. If they would try to make classes more enjoyable, instead of standing up and lecturing and reading straight from the book, then perhaps students would be more interested. Some of my favorite classes are with Mr. Hogge. Not because they are easy classes, because its not, but because he makes class fun with the stories and the way he teaches the material.
One of the three main principles of the book Gung Ho is the principal of “The Spirit of the Squirrel”. Two words that are very important in a business are “worthwhile work”. People will work harder at something that they think is worthwhile. The last two summers that I was in High School I was a manager in a Bar and Grille at a local golf course. I enjoyed my job and worked closely with my employees to help the Bar and Grille is successful. I attribute this very method of Gung Ho. We all worked very hard at what we did because we had a worthwhile goal. The Grille had gone through some very rough spots and had changed owners many times in the past few years. I wanted the members of the course to enjoy their experience with us and to keep coming back to us. I felt like I was making a worthwhile difference to the members by providing them with good service.
It is amazing what you can do as a team when you all have a shared goal in mind. The owner set the goals for us to go by, but was always willing to listen to ideas from his employees. This allowed everyone to feel as if they were having a hand in making the Grille a better place. The spirit of the squirrel reminds me of the people I worked with and how they all pulled together to help. As Andy Longclaw said in the book, “worthwhile doesn’t mean more than important, it just covers more territory than important”. All of the Grille workers knew the work they did was important, and that led to a common goal between all of us. We used values to guide all of our work and didn’t take shortcuts because we had values. We knew that every little thing was worthwhile and part of a larger plan. In the book, Andy says that everyone should work toward a shared goal and that goals are marker posts you drive into the future landscape between where you are and where you want to be. We all decided to make a goal of making the Grille the best it had been in years and to keep it under one owner for more than two years. Andy also reported about there being two types of goals. One is result goals set out where we want to be. The other is value goals set out the impact we want to make on the lives of team members, customers, and the community.
The second of the principles in Gung Ho is “The Way of the Beaver”. In control of achieving the goal. I like the way Andy used the way of the beaver to demonstrate that you should give each employee room to do things their own way. Andy said “If everybody had the Spirit of the Squirrel, but management makes the workers do everything by the management’s book, that organization won’t be Gung Ho. Chances are the managements way won’t be the workers way, and so the workers won’t be able to produce as well”. I could not agree more. I had an experience that relates to this in my first internship job. I was working mostly on the outside staff of a large resort. Our Director of Golf was always trying to tell us how to do our job and what way worked best. It never entered his mind that we knew what we were doing and that maybe we knew the best possible way to do things. After all, we were the ones that did the job every day, not him. One of the best quotes in the book that many managers could learn from is “leaders decide what position team members play but then have to get off the field and let the players move the ball”.
Another great point of The Way of the Beaver is the Golden rule of Management: Value Individuals as persons. “People who are truly in control work for organizations that value them as persons. Their thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams are respected, listened to, and acted upon.” If employees know that the people they work for care for them and respect them, then they will be more motivated to do their work and do it correctly. The Way of the Beaver covers the relationship of an individual and an organization from both sides. The first being the individual taking charge, and the second was an organization that allowed and encouraged individuals to do so, which leads to thoughts, feelings and dreams being respected and acted upon. The analogy of the beavers to an organization fits perfectly in the Gung Ho plan.
The third principal is the “Gift of the Goose” and cheering each other on. This is an extremely important part of Gung Ho. Everyone loves to be told congratulations and that they did a great job. It makes them feel that they are worthwhile, that what they do does matter and they are a very valuable part. The book discusses the two different types of congratulations, active and passive. In my thoughts the passive congratulations are just as important as the active congratulations. I like to have a lot of responsibility and being depended on by management. This tells me that they are congratulating me for the work I have done and have every bit of trust in me. A great point that Andy made about the Gift of the Goose is the comparison he made to the football game. Football fans don’t sit silently until a team scores. Instead, they cheer their team on while they are moving down the field. Just as the geese cheered each other on their trip south, we need to cheer each other on everyday in everything we do. “Congratulations feeds the spirit and boosts enthusiasm,” which in turn will boosts productivity.
True congratulations are also very important to give. True, meaning genuine, and also Timely, Responsive, Unconditional, and Enthusiastic. We are congratulated all the time, sometimes I feel like it is too often. I feel like many people are congratulating you, just to congratulate you. They don’t really mean what they are saying. Many employers will tell their employees good job, but not with any sincerity. If you want the employee to feel like they have done something good then show some feeling and mean it when you tell them that have done a good job.
Enthusiasm = mission times cash and congratulations (E=Mc2). Andy Longclaw really like this formula and thought is was very important. He thought that cash always had to come first in the formula for it to work properly. Andy says “you have to feed a person’s material needs before you can feed their spirit with congratulations.” Most people I believe get more enthused about a job if they are paid better. In a persons mind, if they are paid enough, they will feel demeaned and like they aren’t thought of as a real asset.
The finishing department at Walton Works #2 helped to set itself apart from the rest of the plant by implementing a Gung Ho approach. This took a long time for them to develop, but was well worth it in the end. When the Division Managers took a tour of the finishing department they were surprised at what they saw. There were carpeted floors, plants hanging up, and people were actually happy and enjoying their job. The workers of the Finishing Department truly cared about their department. The workers were taking great pride in their work. Something else that set them apart was their mission. They had a five-point constitution. The very first point was to protect the health, safety, and well being of every person in the department. Every other department in the factory was putting profit first in their missions.
Any business can highly benefit from the Gung Ho approach. If a business utilizes all of the methods used in the Gung Ho approach they greatly increase their chances for success. Busy golf facilities can also benefit greatly from the Gung Ho approach. This approach can help maximize productivity in what can be a hectic business. It also helps bring the different departments of a golf facility closer towards their goals.
Gung Ho was an excellent book with excellent theories on how to make a business more productive. Many of the points are already know by many businesses, however they are not know in great detail as this book describes them. This book has taught me many things in the business world and I know that I will continue to read this book and have my employees in the future read this book.