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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing the focus of performance reviews
In Helping People Win at Work, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge argue that that performance reviews should be used primarily to develop people--not evaluate them. It's a philosophy they call "Don't mark my paper--help me get an "A."

The book offers a nice combination of theory and practice describing how the concepts have been put to work at the WD-40 Company...
Published on May 29, 2009 by David Witt

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different work culture
I did not find that the recommendations in this book were very transferable, EXCEPT for the basic idea of involving staff in their goals and helping them to achieve objectives, instead of critiquing them when they fall short.
I found much humor in the concept of instead of firing sub-standard employees, the euphemism was that the WD-40 company "shares them with the...
Published on April 12, 2011 by DebM


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing the focus of performance reviews, May 29, 2009
By 
David Witt (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
In Helping People Win at Work, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge argue that that performance reviews should be used primarily to develop people--not evaluate them. It's a philosophy they call "Don't mark my paper--help me get an "A."

The book offers a nice combination of theory and practice describing how the concepts have been put to work at the WD-40 Company where Ridge is the President and CEO.

Ridge explains that "Don't mark my paper--help me get an "A" means having managers at WD-40 working together with their direct reports on Planning, Execution, Review and Learning.

* Planning is all about setting goals and establishing the report card for the employee's "final exam." It's making sure that every employee knows exactly what he or she is being asked to do.

* Execution is where the manager has to keep up his or her end of the partnership relationship on a day-to-day basis, helping and coaching the employee to get an "A."

* Review and Learning is a quarterly evaluation designed to answer the questions, "What did we set out to do? What actually happened? What should we do differently?"

Blanchard and Ridge also discuss the changes to corporate culture and managerial mindset that are necessary to make the concepts a reality. In chapter two for example, Ridge shares 8 ways to Build the Right Culture. In chapter 4, Blanchard shares 12 Simple Truths about Helping People Win at Work. It's a nice combination that shows how a people-focused strategy has been put to work in a real-life organization with great results.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-oiled approach to a thriving business culture, July 4, 2009
This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
Garry Ridge is one of a kind: yet his counsel on how to develop a thriving culture, based on his experience with global icon WD-40 Company, can be applied to any firm. The changes he undertook, outlined here, moved WD-40 beyond its historically narrow focus into a future of virtually unlimited opportunities.

He did this by simplifying, without getting caught up in ego or trying to prove his smarts. He's humble, out in front, cheering on his people, learning all the time, and never letting go of the organizational vision.

Given Garry's style, it's no surprise this book sidesteps lofty theories and niche opinions. Instead, he does what savvy business people do: frames his perspective with concrete examples, using the language he's gleaned from seminal thinkers who have influenced him ("Getting an A," Ben Zander... and frankly, anyone who has thought much about where school has gone wrong; Setting "Big Hairy Audacious Goals/BHAG" and making sure the "Right people are on the bus," Jim Collins).

From this book you'll get detail about WD-40's performance review system (including forms and specifics, "you don't want to save up feedback until somebody fails"), the difference between teams and tribes ("a tribe is a place you belong; a team is something you play on once in a while"), goal-setting and ensuring everyone excels ("we owe each other for something we've agreed upon"). And he shares one of my favorite lines from any CEO, "If our culture of candor, caring, accountability, and responsibility doesn't work for you, let's share you with a competitor."

This isn't a typical Ken Blanchard partnership book. There isn't a story of a leader or a management team in a bind. It's a 2-part book outlining how and why Garry leads WD-40 by example, takes his duty running the squeak, smell and dirt business seriously, with humor, and graciousness. Then Ken walks the reader through the simple truths that help put Garry's decisions and practices into context so you can make these ideas your own. This book moves WD-40 Company from under your sink to a trusted place on business bookshelves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Welch should read this book, March 16, 2010
By 
Robin (Bethesda, MD) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
At the heart of this, sometimes unnecessarily complicated book, is the idea that a manager should be working to help every single member of his or her team do outstanding work and receive an excellent performance evaluation. In other words performance should be supported, cheered and no supervisor should have to grade someone less than excellent just because the company thinks that its impossible to have a whole team of winners. What's interesting about the idea that a manager should help every person get an excellent job performance rating, is the way it very subtly undercuts what is often used to defend the idea of "Top Talent." Top talent are sometimes seen as being magically better than others and that nothing can be done to improve the situation. The top talent philosophy reflects the famous Jack Welsh approach where someone "objectively" rates everyone and the bottom 20% are soon looking for new jobs. Great idea if some people in the the top 20% were not hell bent to get rid of some other people in the top 20%. Ah, the joys of corporate life!.

Blanchard and Ridge don't buy into the idea that some people get to be "top talent" and others get to be the "dead wood," and that a good manager simply bribes the talent into staying. In their lexicon, a good manger helps everyone to become the top talent. Is this even remotely possible?

It is if you go along with that that soft sentimental institution...the United States Marines. Yep. Ask any Marine commander how he judges his squad leader. He, or she, will tell you that being a squad leader is all about training each person on the team to be the best--and that there is no sacrifice too great when a leader takes care of each and every member of his team. No one in a Marine squad gets to be the 2 (poor) in a job evaluation so that someone else can be rated an 8 (very good). That idea could, uh, get somebody killed.

There's more than a little too much jargon in this book. Simple ideas are sometimes made overly complicated by the use of diagrams. (Where is Saturday Night Live when we need them?) But the ideas are excellent and I hope that many managers take them to heart. A "2" might not get anyone killed, but life in business is always better with everyone pulling together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read for any manager, September 13, 2009
This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
A helping hand can go a long way further than harsh criticism. "Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called 'Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A'" speaks of a more progressive business philosophy that seeks to improve performance in the workplace by correcting errors instead of punishing them. With many helpful corporate examples of the philosophy in practice, "Helping People Win at Work" gives business leaders much to learn from about strengthening weaknesses in one's organization. "Helping People Win at Work" is a worthwhile read for any manager.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different work culture, April 12, 2011
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This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
I did not find that the recommendations in this book were very transferable, EXCEPT for the basic idea of involving staff in their goals and helping them to achieve objectives, instead of critiquing them when they fall short.
I found much humor in the concept of instead of firing sub-standard employees, the euphemism was that the WD-40 company "shares them with the competition." :}
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - great read!, May 29, 2009
This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
Ridge & Blanchard use a great technique that is much needed in today's workplace focusing on the employee, belonging, and winning together. Now more than ever these techniques are needed to keep employee morale in organizations and what a great correlation in linking employees to "tribe members." This is a book I will look to reference often in my leadership role. Another great addition to the Blanchard library!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, May 14, 2009
This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book with a well-written and interesting story... many good insights to learn and follow. A great addition to the Ken Blanchard library!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performance and Learning Development, July 17, 2009
This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
An excellent resource for my organization. We are modeling our performance management program and learning development process around the concepts presented in this book. The WD-40 corporate culture and the success Ridge has had in building it is exemplar - a true testament to inspiring employee engagement and building value for the long term.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone who manages people at work!, May 14, 2010
By 
L. Stone (Orange County, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
When we graduate from the classroom and move into the work world, mysteriously the relationship we have known all our lives of teacher and student vanishes. We look for mentors in the workplace, but all too often find instead supervisors, managers, and executives who would prefer to critic our performance and deliver a grade, than spend time helping us learn how to do our jobs better. This wonderful, easy to read book offers a new perspective for anyone who manages people - "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A." Isn't that what your very best teachers and professors did for you throughout your education? Maybe you were lucky enough to have parents do the same? Did they teach you life lessons and help you succeed? Success breeds success. If the people who work for you succeed, so too will you. Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge will make you want to become a tribal leader!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tool, August 31, 2009
By 
Justus (Napa, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A" (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book! There are many helpful ideas for improving employee morale and overall communication. Like many books of this type, there are parts that seem unrealistic for all work environments. However, unlike many books of this type, the overall theme and concept can be adapted to your business structure and existing culture. I am proof that even if this concept is not developed exactly as it is written - the benefits are still there!!! Enjoy the journey!
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Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A"
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