Is Your Team Gung Ho?

By: Jan Bolick

If it’s not as Gung Ho! as you’d like it to be, go outside and observe nature for a while – in particular – the squirrels scampering non-stop, beavers building dams and geese honking overhead.  Or if it’s cold with a dreary drizzle where you are, like it is where I am, just imagine them at work.  Or pick up a copy of Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.

It’s a story about a business that’s about to close.    A new manager comes in and finds one (and only one) department that’s high on morale and productivity.  She digs in and learns their secrets to success which includes: “The Spirit of the Squirrel“, “The Way of the Beaver” and “The Gift of the Goose”.    After applying these secrets to all parts of the business,  instead of closing, it makes record profits and productivity.

It’s a good, quick book to read. One that can have lasting value for you as a leader.   I re-visit my well-used, pink post-it note studded copy quite often – whenever I’m a bit stumped about a particular team or leadership issue.   Just recently, I was re-visiting “The Way of the Beaver”.

Way of the beaver

In particular:

1. “Each beaver has a large measure of control over its own destiny.  They decide how the work is going to be done.”  (page 76)

2.  “Beavers don’t achieve engineering marvels because some other beaver is ordering them around.  It’s up to each of them how the dam gets repaired.  If they want to work at one end, fine.  If they want to bring small branches, that’s great.  They exercise their own best judgment.”  (page 77)

3.  “Nothing kills Gung Ho faster than narrow-minded and likely mean-spirited management, chipping away at workers’ self-esteem by insisting things be done the bosses’ way.” (page 77)

4.  “Beavers do what they do because they decide to.  Not because they’ve been ordered to.  The Way of the Beaver means team members must control achieving their goal.”  (page 78

5.  “You have to let the people who really do the work do the work.  It’s your job as leader to know where the plant is going.  It’s the team members’ job to get you there.” (page 79)

6.  “By setting the key goals and values, you define the playing field and the rules of the game.  You decide who plays what position.  Then you have to get off the field and let the players move the ball.”  (page 79)

7.  “The goals and values are like sidelines.  The players have to know…they can go anywhere within the lines.  And they have to know that when the ball is in play you’ll keep off the field.” (page 80)

8.  “If you want your people to take charge, they have to be free to do it, and freedom comes from knowing exactly what territory is yours.  Knowing how far you can go before you’re out of bounds has to be matched with knowing the boss isn’t about to step in a take over.”  (page 80)

10.  “When I set limits on how far people can go, I also give them the freedom to move.”  (page 80)

The Way of the Beaver:  in control of achieving the goal.

As a reminder , we will be posting this week’s quote on our computer screens.

You can do the same with just three clicks.

1. Click on the image above.

2. Right click on the image that appears.

3. On the pull down menu that appears, click on “set as background”. Voila!

There’s still plenty of room on the left side of the screen for all your shortcut icons.

When you’re ready to change it:

Go to your control panel. Select “Display”. Select “Desktop”. And then choose from the designs offered.”

Or print the PDF versions below. Just click on the printer icon in lower right corner of the image.

Problems with link? Try this.

Meanwhile if you haven’t already done so, sign up here for a Monday morning BOOST for you and your team – the Leadership Quote of the Week delivered to your email box each Monday morning.

One last note: In addition to bite-size bits for daily learning and reinforcement, we also offer on-site workshops and individual coaching, all tailored to the needs of the individual or organization. Contact Jan to discuss your needs:



PrintFriendly and PDF

Post to Twitter

Barnes & Noble


Leave a Reply