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Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships Hardcover – February 19, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (February 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074323538X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743235389
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Ballard has written a number of inspirational books, including Mind Like Water and What's the Rush? He has coauthored several popular books along with bestselling business guru Ken Blanchard. Teachings of the worldrenown author and yogi Paramahansa Yogananda inspired Jim to write this wave fable. Jim is a business consultant, hospice volunteer, and Big Brother. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Please visit Jim's website at www.littlewave.org.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

How do they do that?

A collective gasp rose from a crowd of over three thousand spectators as they thrilled to the amazing performances of leaping killer whales. It was another show in Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld. All eyes in the grandstand were glued to the huge animals and their trainers, so no one noticed the wide range of emotions reflected in the face of a man in khakis and a blue shirt who sat in their midst. Each time the crowd exploded in applause and cheers as the animals performed one of their spectacular feats, the man's eyes would sparkle with surprise and delight. At other times his face would cloud over and his eyes assume a faraway look.

Wes Kingsley had come to Orlando to attend a business conference. Since the schedule left room for conferees to relax, play golf, or visit one of the area's attractions, he had decided that a visit to the world-famous marine zoological park would help him forget his troubles for a time.

He was glad he had made that decision. Earlier, along with throngs of other people eagerly crowding the huge stadium, he had taken his seat above the blue waters of the large main pool. Following a welcome and a review of safety rules by an animal trainer, a mysterious fog had begun to shroud the surface of the pool. From behind and above them, the crowd heard the scream of a fish eagle. The mighty bird suddenly swooped over their heads, dove toward the pool, and took a lure from the misty waters. As it flew away, huge black dorsal fins broke the surface, and onlookers caught their breath when they saw monstrous black shapes circling deep in the pool. A wet-suit-clad trainer came through the mists paddling a kayak, to be instantly surrounded by the fins of enormous killer whales.

Following this dramatic opening, the crowd witnessed a series of astonishing acrobatic leaps and dives by a trio of whales -- a 10,000-pound male and two 5,000-pound females. These marine mammals, among the most feared predators in the ocean, waved their pectoral fins to the audience, allowed trainers to "surf" the pool by balancing on their back, and with sweeps of their great tails splashed the first ten rows of spectators with cold water. The roars of laughter, the oohs and aahs, and the thunderous applause attested to the crowd's enjoyment.

Wes Kingsley also found himself entranced by the spectacle unfolding before him. By the finale, when the three finny costars hiked their gleaming black-backed and white-bellied bodies up onto a raised section of the pool to take some well-deserved bows, he had scribbled several entries in a small notebook.

As people exited the stadium, scores of them were still dripping from the soaking they'd happily received sitting in the "splash zone" of the first ten rows. Despite this -- or perhaps because of it -- their faces sparkled with smiles. Still in his seat in an upper row of the emptying stands, Wes Kingsley remained staring down into the pool. Its blue depths, recently awash with great waves but now still, seemed to echo his mood.

After the crowd had left and the place was quiet, an underwater gate opened and a giant black form moved into the pool and began circling it. A trainer came through a door and strolled out onto the lip of the pool, and the huge killer whale immediately swam over to him. "Nice going, big guy," he said, stroking its head. "Enjoy your playtime. You earned it." As the trainer rose and walked along the pool's edge, the whale moved with him. It seemed to be trying to stay as close to him as possible.

The blue-shirted man in the stands shook his head and thought to himself, You'd think that after doing a whole show that whale would hoard its free time. But what does it want to do? Play with the trainer! A question was forming in the man's mind, a need to know that had been building up in him ever since the start of the show. He had an impulse to go down there and ask the trainer that question, but fear of embarrassment held him back. Then suddenly he got up off the bench and quickly descended the stairs.

"Excuse me," Wes called as he reached the deck of the pool and started toward the trainer.

The trainer looked up in surprise. Then he gestured toward a door. "Sir, the exit is over there."

"I know. But I need to ask you something." As Wes approached, it was evident that he was not ready to take no for an answer.

"Sure," the trainer said. "What do you want to know?"

Pulling a wallet from his pocket, Wes offered two fifty-dollar bills to the trainer. "I'm willing to pay you for the information. What I want to know is probably what everyone who sees the show wonders: What's your secret? How do you trick these animals into performing for you? Do you starve them?"

The man in the wet suit controlled an impulse to react angrily to his visitor's impertinent attitude.

Patiently and quietly he said, "We don't trick them, and we don't starve them. And you can keep your money."

"Well then, what is it? What do you do?" Wes

demanded. But after a long silence from the other, Wes's manner softened. Realizing he had given offense, he put his money away. "Sorry," he said, holding out his hand. "I'm Wes Kingsley. I don't mean to bother you with this, but I really have to know how you get such a tremendous performance from these animals."

"Dave Yardley," said the trainer as they shook hands. "I'm in charge of the animal training here, so I guess you might say you've come to the right place. The answer to your question is that we have teachers. Would you like to meet one of them?"

Kingsley looked around to see if they were being joined by someone else. When he looked back, Yardley was pointing to the whale. "This is one of our teachers. His name's Shamu. He and all the other whales here at SeaWorld taught us all we know about working with these wonderful animals."

Wes squinted warily. "Come on. You mean to say you've been trained by an animal? I thought it was the other way around."

Dave shook his head. "Shamu is one of the world's largest killer whales living in a zoological park. As far as who trains whom, let me put it this way. When you're dealing with an eleven-thousand-pound animal who doesn't speak English, you do a lot of learning."

Wes glanced down at the rows of enormous, two-inch-long teeth in Shamu's enormous mouth. "I think the only thing he would teach me is to stay on his good side."

"There's plenty of data to back that up," Dave said. "Killer whales are the most feared predators in the ocean. They can kill and eat anything in sight."

"I guess if he's not learning his lessons, you don't make him go and stand in the corner," Wes ventured.

"That's exactly right. One thing we learned quickly was that it doesn't make much sense to punish a killer whale and then ask a trainer to get in the water with him."

"Not unless you want your career shortened!" Wes exclaimed. Then, recalling the prodigious leaps Shamu had performed in the show, he added, "It's hard to

believe a creature that size could get ten feet out of the water on its own. How do you get him to perform so well?"

"Let's just say it didn't happen overnight," said Dave. "Shamu taught us patience."

"How so?"

"Shamu wasn't about to do anything for me or any other trainer until he trusted us. As I worked with him, it became clear that I couldn't train him until he was convinced of my intentions. Whenever we get a new whale, we don't attempt to do any training for some time. All we do is make sure they're not hungry; then we jump in the water and play with them, until we convince them."

"Convince them of what?"

"That we mean them no harm."

Wes said, "You mean you want them to trust you."

"You're right. That's the key principle we use in working with all our animals."

Wes took out his notebook and pen and began to write.

"Are you writing an article?" Dave asked. "Or doing research?"

Wes Kingsley smiled grimly. "I guess you'd call it research of a personal nature. I've got to learn some new things myself or else..."

Dave Yardley waited and watched. It's hard for this guy to trust anybody, he thought. That's what his bluster act is about.

After a long pause, Wes spoke, avoiding eye contact with the trainer. "I live near Atlanta and work for a big industrial-supply outfit. I came to Florida to get away for a few days, using a business conference as the excuse. But over there at the hotel with my manager buddies, all I could think of was how I don't want to go back home to face the same old problems."

Dave was listening with evident interest.

"For a long time I've been having a hard time getting my people at work to perform well," Wes continued, then grinned. "Not to mention getting my kids at home to pitch in around the house and do better at school. When I was complaining to a friend of mine about it, he had a nice way of suggesting that since I was having management problems both at work and at home, we might look for the common denominator."

"What was that?" Dave asked.

"My friend said, 'Did you ever notice, when your life isn't working, who's always around?'"

Both men chuckled. "I know I'm not managing effectively," Wes went on, "and I might be about to lose my job. Frankly, I'm getting a little desperate."

Dave was aware of Wes's anxious, almost pleading tone of voice and said, "Let me take you on a little backstage tour. Then we can talk more about this."

Dave led Wes through a gate and over to a training pool where a few feet away the huge black backs and fins of two killer whales were gliding through the clear blue water. Their beautiful bodies exuded an air of calmness, and at the same time the promise of explosive power. As the two men walked from one holding pool to another, the trainer identified each whale by name and supplied interesting anecdotes about them.

"It takes a long time to build trust and friendship with each of...

More About the Author

Few people have influenced the day-to-day management of people and companies more than Ken Blanchard. A prominent, sought-after author, speaker, and business consultant, Dr. Blanchard is universally characterized by his friends, colleagues, and clients as one of the most insightful, powerful, and compassionate individuals in business today. Ken is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world and is respected for his years of groundbreaking work in the fields of leadership and management.

Dr. Ken Blanchard is the cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, an international management training and consulting firm that he and his wife, Margie Blanchard, began in 1979 in San Diego, California. In addition to being a renowned speaker and consultant, Ken also spends time as a visiting lecturer at his alma mater, Cornell University, where he is a trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees.

Ken has received many awards and honors for his contributions in the fields of management, leadership, and speaking. The National Speakers Association awarded him its highest honor, the "Council of Peers Award of Excellence." He was inducted into the HRD Hall of Fame by Training magazine and Lakewood Conferences, and he received the Golden Gavel Award from Toastmasters International. Ken also received The Thought Leadership Award for continued support of work-related learning and performance by ISA--The Association of Learning Providers. Ken has been inducted into Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 best-selling authors of all time. The business school at Grand Canyon University bears his name. In addition, Ken teaches students in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership Program at the University of San Diego.

Born in New Jersey and raised in New York, Ken received a master's degree from Colgate University, and a bachelor's and PhD from Cornell University. An avid golfer, Ken belongs to the Loch Lomond Golf Club in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

Easy read and a great book with a great message.
I have only had this book for three days and have already begun to apply the principles that are the foundation for bringing positive behavior out of Shamu!
Dennis Gilbert
I highly recommend this book to anyone in a managerial position or anyone with children.
jenna mcmanus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Blaine Greenfield on June 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Whenever Ken Blanchard (one of my favorite authors) comes
out with a new book, I usually rush to read it . . . so when I
RELATIONSHIPS had just been released, I got hold of
a copy and devoured it in one sitting.
You'll be able to do so, too, in that it is real short . . . but
don't be fooled into thinking that there's not a lot of "meat"
contained in its 128 pages . . . Blanchard, along with
coauthors Thad Lacinak, Chuck Tompkins and Jim
Ballard, takes a simple tale and uses it to get you
thinking about how both whales and people perform
better when you accentuate the positive . . . that information
may sound basic, but it is far too often never used.

The story revolves around a gruff manager who visits
SeaWorld and is impressed with how animal trainers
of killer whales can get them to perform amazing
acrobatic leaps and dives . . . he begins to see how
these same techniques could be applied to his
business life, as well as his situation at home . . . in
addition, he learns the difference between "GOTcha"
(catching people doing things wrong) and "Whale
Done!" (catching people doing things right).
I particularly liked the many examples that were used,
and the fact that these could be applied to countless
work and home situations.
There were many memorable passages; among them:
"The point here is that progress--doing something better--is
constantly being noticed, acknowledged, and rewarded.
We need to do the same thing with people--catch them
doing things better, if not exactly right, and praise
progress. That way, you set them up for success and
build from there.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Dan E. Ross on June 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Whale Done is another parable style (story telling) book that has (1) a singular theme, (2) is very easy to read and (3) is overpriced. If you buy this book you will find yourself delighted by the easy read and may think you have found a gem but most parables are simply overpriced information. Let me elaborate further.
This book, like other parables, are a great read for the following reasons.
* It is a quick read. I read it in about 2 - 3 hours and I am a fairly slow reader.
* The book is able to illustrate one point extremely effectively. For example, in this book they show how we tend to associate negative or positive feelings to individuals or situations and it affects our quality of life due to the way that we interact with people.
* These are the kinds of books that employees will read (great for training programs) as they are 100-200 pages in length and easy to read so a massive investment of time and energy isn't required by employees.
The simple theme illustrated in this book is that both whales and people perform better when you accentuate the positive. It is tougher to actually implement such behavior but it can be done and it can have a substantial impact on your life if you learn the tools and key behaviors to look for and modify in your life. The problem with this parable is that they give the reader very few tools to work with and actual exercises to implement. As a result, it is difficult for 95% of the people who read this to actually integrate this into their lives for the long-term.
Psychologists have been talking about this for decades in what they term "neurolinguistic programming." People are attracted to what they have positive experiences with and try to avoid painful or uncomfortable situations. Pain=bad, pleasure = good.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "4mannings" on February 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Whale Done and I loved it. I've been a fan of Dr.Blanchard's books for years and feel this latest book really gets to the essence of what he's been teaching for years. One of the big take aways I had from the book was paying attention and noticing. I find myself at work and home either not noticing or keying in on the negative behavior that I don't want repeated. In talking with a member of my staff about this I learned how I need to focus much more of my attention on noticing and praising the positive. The issue was very emotional for this person and I was a much bigger deal than I ever would have imagined. Ken and his co-authors emphasize building relationships where people feel that you mean them no harm. If the majority of the feedback I'm providing my people is how they can do things differently, dare I say better, they can misinterpret my suggestions as catching them doing things wrong. I've been making a concetrated effort to catch my staff doing things right. I've been amazed at how my natural tendancy is to revert back to seeing the mistakes and not encouraging all the things being done right. The concept seems simple and yet I can't say enough about the change I've seen in the energy level in my department. I still need to redirect behavior from time to time but I'm looking for what is partially right and building off of that verus focusing valuable energy on what was wrong. This approach has been equally as impactful with my son and wife. I've been married for ten years now and admit that I've stopped noticing all the incredible qualities that caused me to fall in love with my wife to begin with. The qualities are still there I just stopped pointing them out like I did when I was courting her.Read more ›
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