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The following information came from contributions of Trevecca students.

    "When first beginning Gung Ho!, the reader should take care not to prejudge the small size of this book. Like The One Minute Manager, another book that Blanchard also wrote with a very small word count, the ideas inside the books are huge. Gung Ho! tells in a very simple story, the narrative of a company in trouble and going under, and the giant strides made by a new general manager who is afraid she is being set up to get fired. 

    The book is based on three management principles taught by a Native American who is running the only productive department in the entire plant; the Spirit of the Squirrel, the Way of the Beaver and The Gift of the Goose." 

 Nancy Sibole (Fall 04)

Spirit of the Squirrel 

    "The Spirit of the Squirrel says one must have clear-cut shared goals and get the total commitment of the people involved. To do this one must state why the job is important and communicate that message to all involved, to let them know why the job they do is worthwhile. Once the values to live by are finished, the company must not just provide lip service to these values. The workers must see clearly that the values are not just for them, but apply to everyone in the organization at all times." 

Nancy Sibole (Fall 04)

Some Important Squirrel Points

  1. Worthwhile Work 
  2. The Needs of Society 
  3. Fulfills God’s Plan for the Forest 
  • Knowing we make the world a better place 
  • Everyone works toward a shared goal 
  • Values guide all plans, decisions and actions 

People have to understand how what they do contributes to the well being of humankind. It makes a difference in their own patch of forest.

Bullets by Kelly Draper (Summer 04)

Way of the Beaver 

    "The Way of the Beaver requires that management define the boundaries for each position, respect each person doing the job, and leave them alone to do the work. It is important not to criticize the person who is doing the work in this process, but to leave them alone to figure out how best to run their areas, making sure that the job for each person is challenging, but within each person's capacity. Gung Ho requires a stretch "in order to move into uncharted territory.""

Nancy Sibole (Fall 04)

Some Important Beaver Points

  1. In control of achieving the goal
  2. This addresses the needs of the individual 
  3. Fulfills God’s Plan for the Beaver 
  • A playing field with clearly marked territory 
  • Thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams are respected, listened to and acted upon
  • Able, but challenged 

 Beavers respect each other. They work together to achieve a goal

Bullets by Kelly Draper (Summer 04)

Gift of the Goose

    "The third piece of Gung Ho is The Gift of the Goose. The Goose requires that members of management and co-workers give daily congratulations to recognize progress. If no progress has been made, it is still important to provide verbal encouragement for the effort. Congratulations should be "Timely, Responsive, Unconditional and Enthusiastic." The scenario in Gung Ho! is not hard to imagine, a company where almost everyone is negative, management is scared to death of losing their jobs, and the only well-run department goes completely unnoticed. 

Gung Ho! says it best, "They are unhappy. Their spirits die at the office door.""

Nancy Sibole (Fall 04)

Some Important Goose Points (Important Note: Not points to Goose)

  1. Active and passive congratulations must be TRUE 
  2. No score, no game, and cheer the progress 
  4. God’s Gift We Give Each Other 
  5. It is for everybody 

You cannot overdo congratulations, if it is TRUE congratulations. Congratulations, active or passive, is powerful stuff.

Bullets by Kelly Draper (Summer 04)



Shogun or Gung Ho?

Team Conflict or Team Work?


Sue Coffer and Kristi Gilliam (TNU 2005)


     “An organization’s competitiveness is directly related to its ability to use the skills and knowledge of their people effectively” (Williams, Lewis, and Stevens).  Does your organization fully benefit from its team members’ skills and knowledge?  Or are conflicts holding them back? 


     The authors of the book Management of Organizational Behavior:  Leading Human Resources reveals, “A team is a formal work group” (Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson 320).  The team at my workplace is a true work team; we work from the same work queue each day.  Each team member works separately but towards the same goal.  My work team is comprised of 12 individuals from different cultures with different skills and work ethics.  In the article “The Wisdom of Crowds,” James Surowiecki states that “A group with diverse knowledge and skills will almost always make a better decision than one or two experts” (3).  However, this diversity also often makes for a very interesting workday. 


     While one of the most important aspects of a successful team is to have a team that works well together towards the common work goal, this is often very difficult because of the different personalities and work ethics.  When my team is working together, it is very effective and one can almost feel the momentum building within the team.  However, when there is conflict among the team members it can destroy and break down the entire team.  In effect, conflict within teams can destroy an organization.  


     The conflicts that I have seen among teams in my organization are many.  There are often power struggles among team members.  When this happens, it results in hurt feelings, anger, and often withdrawal from the team.  There are also the issues of finger pointing and accusations.  People usually work at different skill levels with each person stronger in one area than another.  When a team is not functioning as a true team there are often members among the team who feel others are not pulling their weight.  This can also break down a team.  Finally, one of the biggest problems in the team environment is often accountability or “the buy in.”  Team members tend to rely on other people to get the work done.  The members of a team must be accountable for their individual work.  Each team member must pull his or her weight, whatever that may be, towards the goal of the team.


     The book Gung Ho! Turn on the People in Any Organization reveals the many ways to turn a team around and create a productive, profitable, and employee-friendly environment.  The book describes in three steps how a team can ignite and become a working machine.  It explains how to build moral among the team members, which is essential.  The book then describes the importance of making the team members accountable for their work.  The last step clarifies congratulations and details the effect of celebration.  If an organization buys into the "Gung Ho" way and teaches the employees as the book describes, energy will be created among the team members and conflict will be reduced.


Step One


     Make the teamwork “worthwhile.”  According to Andy Longclaw, the teacher of Gung Ho in the book, “There are three lessons to learn in this step:  First, the work has to be understood as important.  Second, it has to lead to a well-understood and shared goal.  Third, values have to guide all plans, decisions, and actions.  Put all three together and you’ve got worthwhile work” (Blanchard and Bowles 29). 


     The first lesson:  The team needs to realize that the work that they do is more than just important.  Team members need to understand that the work they do helps others.  As Mr. Longclaw explained, “People have to understand how what they do contributes to the well-being of humankind . . .” (Blanchard and Bowles 30).


     The second lesson:  Everyone in a team works towards the same goals.  The manager should set the main goals and let the team members should define the rest.  These goals should be challenging, but within reach.


     The third lesson:  Decide what values are important to your team.  Some ideas from the article “The Discipline of Teams” include  “encourage listening and responding constructively to views expressed by others, giving other the benefit of the doubt, providing support, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others” (Katzenbach and Smith 110).  These values will guide the actions of each team member.


Step Two        


     The focus of step two is control over the goals.  Mr. Longclaw is not the only person who believes that management should allow employees to have control over setting their own team’s goals.  Katzenbach and Smith state a similar idea, “…management must also leave enough flexibility for the team to develop commitment around its own …purpose, set specific goals, timing, and approach” (112-113).  When team members set their own goals, they are more committed to their work.  While teams should set realistic goals, they should also be encouraged to stretch a little.  This is not only for the sake of the company, but also for each team member’s personal growth. 


     The values that were set in Step One come into play at this point.  Team members need to respect each member of the team.  Each person should follow the “Golden Rule of Management:  Value individuals as persons” (Blanchard and Bowles 172).


Step Three


     Step three is about celebrating.  Not only is it important to applaud the successes, but also to cheer on the progress that each team member makes.  Also, be sure to celebrate the behaviors you want to see more.  For instance, since good communication is important within a team, an idea expressed by Bill Treasurer was to “Reward team members who give others the heads-up on changing circumstances, updated information, or potential risks.”  (qtd. in Michelman 3)


     This is the idea of the “GUNG HO GAME PLAN” to reduce team conflict and make working within the team more enjoyable.  Understand that the work is worthwhile, control the goals, and celebrate the successes are the three steps of this plan.  Once employees learn these steps, the results are full GUNG HO! 




Works Cited


Blanchard, Ken, and Sheldon Bowles. Gung Ho! New York: Morrow, 1998 Hersey, Paul, Kenneth H. Blanchard, and Dewey E. Johnson. Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001


Katzenbach, J.R. and Douglas K. Smith. “The Discipline of Teams.” Harvard Business Review On Point


Michelman, Paul. “How Will You Make Your Team a Team?” Harvard Management Update.


Surowiecki, James. “The Wisdom of Crowds.” Soundview Executive Book Summaries. 27:5 (2005): 1-3


Williams, Evelyn, Lisa Lewis, and Craig Stevens. “Yes You Can Achieve Excellent Management!” 13 July 2005




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