It is said that Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 Company, once fire a manager for not helping one of his employees improve performance. Take note he did not terminate the underperforming employee. The person terminated was the manager. Personally, I believe that shows higher level leadership. Too often in today’s world, we have bought into the concept of “look out for number 1” – take care of yourself at the expense of others.

I would venture to say that Ridge’s actions spoke volumes to all levels of employees at WD-40. The company had implemented one of Ken Blanchard’s concepts titled, “Don’t Mark my paper, Help Me Get an A”. In the incident mentioned above, Ridge terminated the manager rather than the poor performer when he realized the manager did nothing to help the employee improve performance (get an A).

What if more businesses, churches, and other organizations operated with a similar philosophy? Help the people under your direction, your direct reports improve their skillsets, or you will be looking for another job. Sounds rough does it not? Yet, if I as a leader am not improving myself and not assisting everyone around me in improving, am I not hurting the organization – keeping it from its full potential?

Hang with me here, I realize some leaders/managers have already turned me off. Others who may not like their leader want to read on to find ways to get their leader dismissed. That is not what this is about. It is about growing as individuals, as a team, and effectively affecting the organization’s bottom line – be it money, people, or another bottom line.

I believe what CEO Ridge understands is that as people increase their skillsets, they become not only more beneficial to the organization, they also become more endeared to the organizational cause. Whether that is water displacement products (WD-40), better pancakes, or engaged church members. Passion is increased in people growing in their skillset and that passion is revealed through organizational action. It is hard to beat against passion. When my passion level is being raised, it is not likely that I will slow progress down.

In the church, I have often said, “People will serve out of their passion.” The leadership role in the church should be to assist all members and attenders in discovering their God-given passion and match that to a passion-driven, gift-oriented ministry. There are resources available to help any church or organization in the endeavor.

The most popular leadership style practiced today is Top-down leadership. Believe it or not, most top-down leadership organizations operate as fault-finding, critical models. Moving your organization away from a fault-finding rebuking manner of leadership requires commitment and some hard work. Breaking an old habit is never easy.

For more information on Blanchard’s philosophy, “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A”, contact The Blanchard group, or contact me and I will help you find the right resources for your church or organization. Don’t procrastinate, set your mind and heart to begin today to help every member of your organization or church to get an A!


Blanchard Group | Master Plan Architecture

Leading at a Higher Level – Pearson Education, Inc.

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