“The Secret” to great leadership

The SecretHappy 10th Anniversary to “The Secret“!

The book, The Secretis celebrating its 10th anniversary, and I gladly reviewed the anniversary edition. Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller wrote The Secret. It is a quick and easy read filled with powerful principles to apply to any leadership role. Here is just a taste of the excellent content:

“No matter how long the runway,
that pig ain’t gonna fly!”

This is a great way to remember that the purpose of training and development is not to “fix” people. People can learn and improve, but they will always be more powerful in their areas of strength… and never eliminate their areas of weakness. A key responsibility for a leader is to “fit” people into a role that is good for them, a role that matches their strengths.

In order to “fit” people into their best role, a leader must know the vision and the roles necessary for accomplishing the vision. The leader must also know their people well.

The BE, DO, HAVE, and HELP Framework²

Blanchard and Miller mention this framework taught by Bobb Biehl. The tool is helpful for getting to know your people and building a deeper relationship with them. The idea is to ask someone to share the top five things they would put in each category: five things they want to be (ex. a better mom), five things they would like to do (ex. attend a special event), five things they want to have (ex. more family time), and five people/areas where they would like to help (ex. favorite charities). Then, as the leader, look for opportunities to resource these areas – provide a ticket, a mentor, a network contact, a training, a workload/hour adjustment, etc.

The SERVE principles 

SERVEEach letter stands for one of the five key principles of leadership success. The book’s entertaining and effective story format explains each of these principles.

There is also a helpful self-assessment on these principles included in the book.

If you want to improve your leadership, I highly recommend this book. If you read it ten years ago, maybe you would like to read it again!

What do you think is part of the secret of leadership?


¹ Blanchard, K. and Miller, M. (2014). The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (p. 70)
² Ibid (p. 94)
Celebrate 10 years by reading a #freesample of #TheSecret by @kenblanchard & @LeadersServe here:  http://bit.ly/TheSecret10

9 thoughts on ““The Secret” to great leadership

  1. Thanks, Terry! I love these principles! I want to try and use them in my coaching this year! I love the “Be, Do, Have, Help” Framework. I’ve gotten lots of helpful ideas from different things you’ve shared on this blog or told me! THANK YOU!!!


    • Thanks for your sweet, encouraging words, Alice! I enjoy sharing some of the “gems” I learn along the way. I have really liked Mark Miller’s books – quick and easy to read, but always some challenging, helpful ideas in there!


    • I also really like those four categories for getting to know and engaging with people, Maggie. We just decided to use the as a get-to-know-you activity for our team retreat… a fresh, new way to go deeper with people!


  2. I so have a picture of a pig trying valiantly to take off. The runway just getting longer. The pig just getting tired. And the difference between fix and fit–all of which takes knowing your people and caring enough about them to help them make it work. Thanks for the input, Ter. Your five categories are great for coaching the gals I’ve got. So appreciate you!


    • Isn’t the pig-trying-to-fly a great image?! I have felt that way myself at times, and it pains me to think that I have done that to others by not recognizing and applying this truth. Here’s to doing more “fitting” and less “fixing” for people!


  3. That is awesome, Terry. Nice summary! I loved the principles that you pulled out. Very practical and makes me want to do them. The Be, Do, Have, Help framework is something we could use in our coaching and leadership! I had heard the serve acronym before but did not realize it came from Miller and Blanchard. I really enjoyed reading this.


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