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Running head: BOOK REVIEW 1

Whale Done! Review

William Morrow

University of St. Thomas


Education is an interesting blend of business practices while being housed in an

educational institution. This blend allows for various dynamics that are not found anywhere else.

Today educators are facing new problems and a new generation of children, who are unlike their

predecessors. As such, a new positive mindset from the top level down is required to allow

everyone to be successful.

Chapter 1

People often learn the most important lessons in the least likely of places. Wes Kingsley

asks Dave Yardley about how the whales were trained at SeaWorld (Blanchard, 2003). He learns

from Dave that the whales were actually the teachers, given that they are the most fearsome sea

animals. Their success was a result of learning from the whales and acting accordingly. Dave

further explains that the first step is to build trust, which Wes responds by informing him of his

current ineffective managing. Dave counters Wes by saying trust and friendship are the basis of


The first piece of advice that Dave gives Wes in order to build that trust and friendship is

to “accentuate the positive,” (Blanchard, p. 10, 2003). In order to do this Dave tells Wes to

ignore the negative and redirect the behavior elsewhere, and that no matter if it is an animal or a

person, he or she will meet the expectations that are set for him or her. Wes thinks about the

possible implementation implications that this whale training could have for his managing

practice. Chapter 2

The presenter, Anne Marie Butler, ties the practice of managing connects to every aspect

of life. From work, to home, and even marriage there is always managing in one form or another.

Anne Marie starts by telling everyone that motivating others is all about what they focus on, and

that focus gives power over the energy and climate. If the focus is on the positive there will be

positive energy and relationships. The “Whale Done!” method of managing works for


The ABC’s of Performance are defined by Anne Marie as being: A is the Activator, B

is Behavior, and C is Consequence. The Activator is something that facilities the desired

performance or behavior. Ensuring that there are clear goals and shared visions are important to

ensuring that performance is good. After the Activator, the behavior follows, and it must be

observed, in order to get through the ABC’s of Performance. The consequence stage is what

happens after the desired behavior occurs. There are four types of consequences: No Response,

Negative Response, Redirection, and Positive Response. The first two types are used the most;

however, redirection is the strongest way to address undesirable behavior because it is a set up

for a Positive Response. Anne Marie explains that the “WHALE DONE” system focuses on

immediate specific praise and encouragement, which allows for a no-harm approach to be

established. She further explains that the opposite of the ‘WHALE DONE” is the “GOTcha,”

where only negative actions or bad performance is recognized.

Chapter 3

Anne Marie stresses the idea of managers as influences is established and the role of a

manager is to influence the people he or she manage to do what is wright when he or she are not

around. Essentially, through the positive interactions, a sense of integrity and self-efficacy are

ingrained in the people. The positive interactions are built by getting to know the people

personally and finding out what is their motivation. All feedback and interactions must be

sincere and honest so that the important and genuine foundation of trust and respect is built.

Chapter 4

The practical application and examples of the “Whale Done!” dialogue that could occur

is used by Wes. As a result of using it and focusing on the positive performance of a worker,

Wes was able to turn around a once negative relationship. A sudden change in style can be seen

as suspicious, so transparency and honesty about the change are the keys, in order for

successful implementation.

Another clarification is made about ignoring bad or undesired behavior. The definition of

ignore that Anne Marie uses is not giving the usual amount of energy and attention as was

previously used. Instead the energy should be focused on specific praise.

Chapter 5

Application of the Whale Done! system can allow both work as well as personal life to be

more positive, by shifting the focus off the negative things a child or spouse does and focusing

on the positively leads to a smoother life. Ripple effects come from both positive and negative

focuses and can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Wes demonstrated the far-reaching effects

of changing focus and how that improves work climate and productivity as well personal family


Chapter 6

Change is hard for many people who are comfortable with the current conditions. With

change resistors are a bound to arise, and protest to any change that is presented. Change,

especially when it has to do with review and evaluation systems are difficult, because no one

wants to be unprepared for their evaluation. With Whale Done! the feedback and review are

connected, and kept separated, which allows people to know exactly how they will be reviewed.

The system allows everyone to be a winner and a top tier employee, because of the focus on the

positive means that if performance is not adequate at a specific role, that simply means that there

needs to be some adjustment in where a person is placed.


Implications and Take-Aways

As a future administrator, the implications of this book are profound, especially as it

relates to controlling the climate and the morale of the workforce. Teachers for all intents and

purposes are working for the administrators and as such the dynamic between them can have

monumental effects on the productivity and effectiveness of the school. It is not acceptable for

the leaders of the schools, to be inhuman anymore. The administration will need be at the

teachers’ level more often to create the environment necessary for success of everyone at the


The most salient idea that can be taken from this book, is no matter the dynamic of the

relationship a foundation based on trust and respect is key to success. Administrators must be

willing to show humanity to teachers, which is very contrary to how the appraisal system is

established. The focus is on what was not done right, and in order to show trust and respect, the

good positive aspects must be acknowledged and celebrated. This requires administration to

really get to know their staff, so that feedback, whether it be praise or constructive criticism, will

be received without problem.

In order for schools to be successful, a shift in what educational leaders believe to be

important must occur. Administrators must through their interactions and relationships try to

build self-efficacy in every member of the school community. The administration's style is

pressed on the teachers, who then press it on to the students. Through the positive relationships

coming from the administration down, the positive relationships and climate that result will

permeate every aspect of the school, which can only serve to improve the educational



Blanchard, K. H. (2003). Whale done!: The power of positive relationships. London: Brealey.