Summary of Whale Done!

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  • Applicable


Ken Blanchard of One-Minute Manager fame draws on the positive training techniques that SeaWorld whale trainers use to get their whales to want to perform. Although using whale training as a teaching model is a unique twist on the literature about training and motivating employees, the material itself is not nearly as exotic. Much of it draws upon traditional principles for getting along with others, such as building trust, emphasizing the positive and redirecting undesired actions into more productive channels. If you’ve read Blanchard’s previous book about being aware when people do something right so you can praise them, some of this content will seem familiar, though he says this is his "most important" book. The story line tracks mythical businessman Wes Kingley’s discussions with whale trainers who reveal what they do to train their creatures, gradually, carefully and with real warmth. These conversations blow some very basic points up to whale-size, but Blanchard writes with charm. recommends this splashy manual, the first course in Whale Psyc 101.

About the Authors

Ken Blanchard is the "Chief Spiritual Officer" and Chairman of the Board of the Blanchard Companies, and the author of a dozen bestselling books, including The One Minute Manager, Raving Fans and Gung Ho! His books have sold more than 12 million copies in 25 languages. Thad Lacinak is VP and nationwide director of Animal Training for Busch Entertainment Corporation, and has trained marine mammals for more than 28 years. Chuck Tompkins is VP and curator of Animal Training at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, and has worked with killer whales for more than 25 years. Jim Ballard is an educator, corporate trainer and writer who worked with Ken Blanchard on Mission Possible,Everyone’s a Coach and Managing By Values.



What Can You Learn from the Whales?

What can you learn from the techniques used to train killer whales that will help you teach and motivate other people - from employees to co-workers to your kids? That’s the question Wes Kingsley - the main character and a stand-in for the author - asks when he visits Orlando, Florida, for a business conference and goes to SeaWorld for the killer whale show.

He wonders how the trainers get these huge, potentially dangerous animals to perform so well? Wes is having trouble getting people to perform well at work, and wants to know how he can use whale training techniques to improve their performance. Chuck Tompkins, head trainer at SeaWorld, and his boss, Thad Lacinak, provide some of the answers. The whale trainers teach Wes how to coach his employees to be as responsive to his instructions as Shamu is to theirs.

Why Whale Training Works for People

The basic lesson of how to train whales comes from the whales themselves. You can’t get whales to do anything for you unless they trust you. Thus, the trainers feed the whales so they aren’t hungry and then have fun with them in the water. They use play to convince the whales...

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    J. S. 6 years ago
    worth reading the full book - not just for use at work but the lessons of catching people doing something right and building on that is just as applicable at home.