In Kenneth Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager, the author’s guidelines include one minute goal setting followed by one minute praisings and one minute reprimands. The ideas were clearly stated and simple. Simple is good. The 1992 book was wildly popular, and its proponents still swear by its usefulness.
Right after I read The One Minute Manager, the college where I was employed purchased a video of Blanchard discussing his book. Everyone loved it, and instructors soon learned to reserve it weeks ahead of time if they planned to use it in management, business, or human relations classes. I showed it a few times myself, and I can still remember how entertaining, informative, and convincing Blanchard was.
Lately I can’t seem to get this video out of my mind. At the end, Dr. Blanchard says something like, “Don’t go away from this presentation thinking, “Well, that was interesting. I wonder what else is out there.”
Chuckling, he continued, “Don’t be like the person who falls off the side of a cliff, catches on to a limb, and holds on for dear life. Terrified, the person looks up and asks, “Is there anyone up there who can help me?”
“Yes, I can help you,” says a booming voice. “I will save you. All you have to do is let go.”
The man glanced down at the thousands of feet below him, and then he looked up towards the source of the voice. After a moment, he asks, “Is there anyone else up there?”
I knew exactly what Dr. Blanchard was talking about when he said there were always people looking for some “new and improved” theory that will save their lives or at least make things easier.
Is anyone out there familiar with Crossing the Bridge: Succeeding in a Community College and Beyond? Written by a two-year college instructor with 38 years of experience (yours truly), the book focuses on topics such as self-assessment, choosing the right college, classroom behavior, time management, study skills, and a myriad of other topics.
The challenge is to get people to read it and to follow the suggestions.
When a couple of students asked me what they could do to improve their grades, I remembered Blanchard’s image of the man hanging on for dear life, seeking an alternative answer. I suggested reading the material before coming to class, using the SQ3R study method, and taking the pre- and post-tests in the text. Simple ideas, right?
“But I don’t have time to do all of that. I have a job,” one student said. “Is there anything else I can do?”
“No, nothing else. But if you listen to what I’m telling you and follow through, I can guarantee that you’ll make it.” I replied.
“But I just don’t have that kind of time. Do I really need to read the textbook, or can I just go by the power point?” he continued, his classmate listening in hopes of a magic formula for success.
“I don’t know what you want me to say,” I said, saddened and frustrated. “The truth is that are no formulas or shortcuts for succeeding in college.”
Not hearing what they wanted to hear, the students left the classroom. If only they and their classmates would read and follow the simple guidelines in Crossing the Bridge: Succeeding a Community College and Beyond, they’d know the secret (?) to improving their grades in all classes, not just psychology.
Like the booming voice in Blanchard’s scenario, “I can help you.”