Ken Blanchard on How Great Leaders GROW

If you are born between 1982 and 2002, you are a member of the Generational Y (a.k.a Millennial) cohort. As a member of this cohort myself, I see a prevailing belief that derailed the growth of many emerging leaders. In essence, the belief that only experience and age can enable someone to become a leader has been an attitude endemic among Millennials. The fact of the matter is the world is experiencing an influx of Millennials in the workforce where many of their colleagues may be a Baby Boomer (anyone born between 1946-1964). Naturally, a younger colleague like myself may find it presumptuous to take action to lead when you have a room of seasoned subject matter experts.

In “Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life,” Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller provides an antidote to pandemic belief that exists among Millennials. They provide a paradigm shift on how young adults view leadership: “Anytime you influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of another person, you’re engaging in leadership.” Thus, you don’t have to have an impressive title to be a leader.

To engage in definition of leadership, the authors argue that “If I stop learning, I stop leading. My capacity to learn determines my capacity to lead.” This sound rather simple and easy, but you can easily notice this. Just look around you. That is is why 4 out of 10 new hires fail within 18 months, and 4 out of 10 CEOs fail within 18 months. That is why only 1 out of 10 people get promoted each year.

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Here’s how you can G.R.O.W:

Gain knowledge of themselves, others, their industry and the field of leadership. Every leader is a learner, but many leaders fail to gain knowledge because they have too much to do–they’re going too fast and trying to accomplish too much.

Reach out to others both formally and informally. As a leader, your role is to teach both by sharing information as well as by probing questions.

Open your world at work and outside of work. If you get too busy with your job to grow, your influence and your leadership will stagnate and ultimately evaporate.

Walk toward wisdom through self-evaluation, feedback and counsel. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, discernment, insight, experience and judgment to make good decisions when the answer may not be obvious.

The best way to review a business fable for their book is to interview the authors about applying the key messages they’re trying to communicate through storytelling. So I sent Ken and Mark the following questions. I’ll be sharing their answer on my upcoming blog.

Here’s a 5-minute clip from Bill Hybels on “Who Can Leaders Learn From?”Enjoy!


  • Thanks for sharing this Paul! I love that Blanchard and Maxwell both come out with new books on lifelong growth, learning, and leading the same year. And what better examples?! Both proven students of life and multipliers of influence.