Ken Blanchard is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He is the coauthor of the iconic bestseller, The One Minute Manager, and 60 other books whose combined sales total more than 21 million copies. His groundbreaking works have been translated into more than 42 languages and few people have influenced the day-to-day management of people and companies more than Blanchard.
In 1979, he became co-founder and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, an international management training and consulting firm that has created leadership development programs used by Fortune 500 companies. Later, in 1999, he co-founded the organization Lead Like Jesus. With all the accolades he has received over his life for his contributions to the field of management leadership and speaking, including earning The Council of Peers Award of Excellence from the National Speakers Association (highest honor), Blanchard is as humble and productive as they come. When he's not writing or speaking, Blanchard teaches students in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership Program at the University of San Diego. In 2005, he was inducted into Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time.
In 1957, Blanchard enrolled at Cornell University, which would be the location for a major turning point in his life. "All the tests I took told me I should consider sales as a career," he said, looking back. "So I thought I'd go to a good Ivy League school and then sell my soul to corporate America."
Things didn't work out that way though. Instead, Blanchard grew disinterested with sales and decided to focus on a broader education at Cornell, both in and out of the classroom. During his freshman year, he tried out and made the basketball team. He was also a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the President of his junior class, and even spent his last two years as co-director of freshman orientation. In 1961, Blanchard received a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and philosophy. Two years later he returned to campus as a graduate student. In 1967, he also received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational administration and leadership from Cornell University.
The strong ties that Blanchard developed with his alma mater have proven to be beneficial to both sides. Blanchard is a Cornell University trustee emeritus and visiting professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He and his wife were named Cornell Entrepreneurs of the Year in 1991. He is also known to revisit his old stomping grounds in order to deliver one of his renowned motivational speeches, such as in 1996, when Blanchard offered his advice to incoming Cornell students and their parents that year. "Don't quack like a duck; soar like an eagle," he said, suggesting that students should always soar above the fray like eagles. "Duck mentality travels with you for the rest of your life; don't be a duck."