Blanchard’s company grew with the success of the One Minute Manager and the book launched his parable-writing career. He went on to write or co-write 60 more books, including The Secret and Raving Fans. Ken wrote Leading at a Higher Level with consulting partners from his company, including Margie Blanchard. Margie herself wrote several other books and earned her own reputation as a compelling motivational speaker as she worked to build the company with Ken. Today, Margie heads up the Blanchard Institute, a nonprofit devoted to teaching self-leadership principles to middle, high school, and college students.
Ken’s title is chief spiritual officer rather than chairman. He’s still speaking and writing, and leaves a daily morning message for the staff. “I tell them first who to pray for,” he says. “We have faith and nonfaith employees; no one objects to me asking for prayers and support for folks in need. Secondly, I praise people in the company who I am told are doing good things.”
The final part of his morning message is inspirational. “Today’s came from a letter I received from a man from New Zealand who I met in an airport,” says Blanchard. “He told me, ‘The business you are in, Ken, is teaching the power of love rather than the love of power.’ I appreciate that because I think servant leadership, which I hope is my legacy, is love in action.”
Ken and Margie look forward to visiting the UMass Amherst campus this spring to attend the commencement of Kurtis Blanchard, one of their five grandchildren. They have fond memories of living in Amherst’s Echo Hill, renting a Vermont ski house with other faculty families, and the innovative, often tumultuous place that was the School of Ed in the 1970s.
“If we hadn’t been in that environment, we wouldn’t have taken the risk to start our own company,” Ken says. “It’s been a wonderful blessing.”