Hello everyone;

I wanted to see if anyone in the MT family has read the "One Minute Manager meets the Monkey" book by Blanchard. I picked this book up at the airport in London about six months ago and have not seen it in any of the local bookstores I live around.

The book, for those of you not familiar with it, is about treating all of your tasks as if they were "monkeys", some of them you need to take care of personally but that most of them need to be given to others for feeding. As such, they are still your monkeys and as such you need to make sure that they are well fed by the ones you delegated to. And, it is your monkey until the task is done.

I found the book very useful and echoes a lot (if not all) of what Mark and Mike talk about regarding delegation. It does simplify a couple of things considerably but beyond that I think it makes a good general reference book.

Davis Staedtler's picture

I'm a big fan of Blanchard, but haven't heard of "One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey"  Sounds good!  Ken is such a cool cat.



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jhbchina's picture

One of my best managers had that book. I never read it.



CalKen's picture

I got this book to give me something to read for an Atlantic flight (unfortunately it didn't last long enough). I found that once I started reading the book I really enjoyed it. Although it does simplify delegation to a "monkey care and feeding" level I did find that it did fit Mike and Mark's mold of delegation: determine what monkeys you have, determine which of the monkey's should have your direct attention, and then give the other monkeys to others for them to care and feed for. Of course, you need to follow-up to make sure that your monkeys are not neglected (or better yet dead). I found it as a very good "someone moved my cheese" type book to cover delegation. I gave this book to one of my high-performing directs and I found it useful as a teaching tool.

This book is definitely not a high level book by any stretch but if you want a good read that does not bore you with minutae then I think this is worth a chance.


FYI, I found it on for a real good price. I bought a couple of these for future mentoring sessions.

damcg63's picture
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When one of my managers gets the thousand yard stare because they are trying to work through under-delegation issues and they are crushed by their own directs, I get them a re-print of the HBR article that has the same content as the book (by William Oncken).   I think people tend to pick up an article re-print faster than a book.  I ask them to be ready to discuss it at the next o3.  They usually come in smiling and with stories about monkey-shedding....just from that week.  It's a pretty valuable thing and doesn't take much work.....

bug_girl's picture

is the reprint of the article available online anywhere?

jael's picture

I don't know of a place where you can get a free copy of the article, but it can be ordered at for about $7.

ebn305's picture
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 I like Blanchard too and only just recently read the HBR article on the recommendation of a colleague.  I'm grateful to her, because the article was a real eye opener into how many monkey's I'd allowed to jump onto my back without even realising it.  I recommend it. 

bug_girl's picture

Thanks! I will check that out.

One of the perks of my job: sometimes there are literal monkeys:


markn's picture

Along with 1,000s of other journals my university library has HBR and is searchable. If you're an academic or a student do a search (we have ProQuest) for Harvard Business Review November - December 1999


terrih's picture

Couldn't look at your picture, BugGirl - blocked by the corporate web filter. D'OH!!

bug_girl's picture

I was at a professional conference in Costa Rica where there were no alarm clocks. They weren't needed--

Howler monkeys  got us all up at 5:30am promptly.

Best. Conference. EVAR.  :D


cstott's picture

I received this from an leadership distribution list a while ago.  Can't find the original email but I had the link saved.  Hope this helps:


jrumple's picture
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Chris, that is the same link ( I found a few months ago. It includes a discussion by Steven Covey on the applicability of the Monkey Principle today. This is the second most reprinted article in the history of the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

I first heard about it when a friend of mine was telling me about a leadership conference she went to. At the conference everyone was given a bucket of plastic monkeys so when they got back to the office and were working with their team, they could explain the concept. Then when issues came up they could pull out a monkey and at the end of the conversation, someone would leave with the monkey so it was clear who had the next action.

I'm interested to see how this is integrated into the One Minute Manager. In case there are people who aren't familiar with the One Minute Manager, I've found that it parallels much of the Manager Tools Feedback model. I do like that the Manager Tools Trinity starts with the One-on-One because establishing the relationship is so important to allowing us to move into the Feedback model. I think the One Minute Manager is establishing relationships with the One Minute Goal Setting in a way similar to a Manager Tools One-on-One, but their focus is on the task while Manager Tools' focus is on the relationship.

Thanks to Calken for opening up this discussion. I'm glad to see so many of us excited about this topic.

San Diego

raulcasta's picture

Great read. Thanks.

Which one is the 1st most reprinted article of HBR?