The Handbook:

teams, reframing, federation, & investment


1. Get people together in teams.
2. Decide what you want from your work.
3. Agree on big ambitious goals!
4. Have the guts to own your vision.
5. “Do what you can with what you have.”
6. Planning
7. Do what you want to do.
8. Only do actions you’re great at, which also excite you.
9. Let your coworkers do actions they’re great at and also excited by.
10. If one person isn’t responsible for a specific thing, no one is responsible.
11. Ten ways people micromanage without realizing it:
12. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
13. Ready, fire, aim!
14. Guys like sports metaphors.
15. Start together, huddle at halftime, finish together.
16. List agreed-upon action items.
17. Finish what you start.
18. Teams work together in the same space.
19. Work alone on your own team if you want to.
20. Everyone on a team does hands-on work.
21. Celebrate jobs well done.


22. When you want to improve the bottom-line profits, do what it takes to measure bottom-line profits.
23. What you measure is what you get.
24. Mentor.
25. Let others lead with you.
26. Problems in “communication” are problems of responsibility.
27. Start company change with someone who feels responsible.
28. Talk to everyone as if he or she is a regular person, just like you.
29. Bond with extraverts one-on-one. Bond with introverts in groups.
30. A “needs analysis” at a company means figuring out where the group is headed and what the group wants.
31. Ask for advice.
32. Read the writing on the walls.
33. Seek out trouble early on.
34. Don’t blame, and if you do, never say “they.”
35. For a good relationship with another person:
36. Turn blame and hurt into play.
37. “Beyond our comfort zone is terror.
38. Work together to fix problems.
39. Don’t let obstacles come between you.
40. Find ways that your coworkers can be heroes.
41. Visual/auditory/kinesthetic learners
42. A shortcut to personality types
43. The organizational life cycle
44. Love.
45. Put yourself in their shoes.
46. What we draw a box around becomes what we see.
47. To control others without their awareness, frame irrelevant choices.
48. Influence


49. Draw relationships as your street map to show you who to go to.
50. Redesign responsibility traffic-jams.
51. Align your interests.
52. Back off.
53. Discover your differences to agree and transform scarcity into abundance!
54. Government is for doing what individuals can’t do on their own.
55. How many coworkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
56. If you can’t solve your problems on your own, bring in more people who are affected by the problem.
57. Partner up for broader perspective and resources.
58. Limit your group size.
59. Divide to agree.
60. Grow the structure to fit what’s inside and keep one step ahead.
61. Coordinate teams.
62. Inspired coworkers can start their own teams.
63. “What is true of every member of the society individually, is true of them all collectively, since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of individuals.”
64. Choose your representatives.
65. Give representatives term limits.
66. Proxies give you a voice when you’re out of the room.
67. Would you rather talk about it or do something?
68. Different ways for groups to agree.
69. To represent many people, have many small groups, each with its own jurisdiction.
70. Of the 365 days in a year, 100 are weekends.
71. What makes many smarter than a few
72. Stop discrimination.
73. Put big issues to a popular vote.
74. Amendments keep a Constitution alive and fresh.
75. Representatives work together in departments which have clear and distinct responsibilities.
76. Representative departments can limit each other’s actions.
77. Departments can limit the central office.
78. Divide and prosper.
79. Independent “action teams” take initiative.
80. Kick screwups out of office.
81. Interpersonal rules


82. Use five core concerns to build better relationships.
83. “Be the change you want to see.”
84. Form new habits through regular behavior.
85. Juries solve disagreements and also educate the jurors about how the company works.
86. Everyone has desires and traits you haven’t yet seen.
87. Don’t kill the things you love.
88. “2% of a million dollars is better than 100% of nothing.”
89. Free speech.
90. Go public with your reputation at work.
91. Let people literally invest in your personal reputation.
92. “Everything secret degenerates… nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”
93. Make information clearly available to coworkers about what each department is doing and why it’s being done that way.
94. Departments choose when to buy from other departments within your company.
95. Make your company a home base where coworkers can develop and sell their services, and their department’s services, to other buyers, inside and outside your company.
96. The company’s general accounting office becomes the bank.
97. People need to follow the rules they make.
98. Compensate representatives for being in office, but don’t give them too much control.
100. “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
101. Choice + commitment = freedom.

Celebrating 4 years of Collective Agency in Portland Oregon

It’s been more than 4 years since I started Collective Agency. Business and community are going well. We recently put up a new website, which is at

We’ve won awards for being one of the world’s most democratic workplaces and have been rated one of the top coworking places in the United States.

This blog, at, has always been a place for ideas. The past few years I haven’t written on it much. I’ve been focusing on results, which are at Collective Agency and at Fully Fund Oregon Schools. I’m writing this blog post right now to see where it goes, what idea it gets to.

I’ve been leading Collective Agency for the 4 years since it started, with the exception of 9 months when I stepped away from it and then came back. Info on all that is on the Collective Agency blog history. And a few months ago I switched from leading Fully Fund Oregon Schools full-time, to leading Collective Agency full-time.

I’m happier at Collective Agency than I was doing Fully Fund Oregon Schools full-time. I’m no longer stressed about a timeline. The culture is so much better at Collective Agency than it is in Oregon politics. And more people see Collective Agency as something that they can act on.

All that said, I’m keeping on keeping on with Fully Fund Oregon Schools. In my stepping back from full-time work on it, other people have stepped up. Building the executive committee is key. More statewide polling has been done, the policy has been revised and polls well enough to win, I’ve met more people in roles similar to mine — people with a business, and with an amendment –and I’m learning about politics, not just policy.

At Collective Agency, I’ve focused on culture and values over the past few months, and on outreach to raise awareness. People who visit about membership are likely to sign up, and getting more people to come visit is a goal. The values that members have expressed (we did a survey, and have various conversations) is still in-progress, but have a pretty strong consensus. That wording is on the Collective Agency homepage, and will likely get revised as we learn and grow, but at least for right now, it’s about productive work in a cozy workplace community, with openness and responsiveness, socializing, inspiration, and friendships.

I’m happy the new website for Collective Agency is up. The new website for Fully Fund Oregon Schools will go up soon. The lessons from one work, help the other work move forward in a way that honors who we are as humans.

I heard a quote that I like, by a coworker at Collective Agency last week, about Gaudi. Gaudi was asked if he was concerned that the church he was building, the Sagrada Familia, would take 250 years to complete. “My client can wait,” he said.

Similar Posts:
Posted in Other Things from Life | Leave a comment

Fully Fund Oregon Schools

Fully Fund Oregon Schools' logoTax and Conversation is now: Fully Fund Oregon Schools. It’s a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.

I’m leading the Oregon constitutional amendment for 2016 as a direct initiative. It will fully fund Pre-K-12 education and end Oregon income taxes by taxing net assets over $1.8 million. People and companies with less will no longer pay property tax. [Note: as of 5/12/15, it will fully fund K-12 education by taxing assets over $25 million, and doesn't affect other taxes directly.] The website is

Here’s the Business Plan Executive Summary.
This is the PowerPoint PDF.
This is the legal text current draft. Subsection 13 specifies what will be funded for Pre-K-12 education that is not currently fully funded.

Sign up for the newsletter updates by entering your email into the form at the top of Fully Fund Oregon Schools’ website.

Similar Posts:
Posted in 101 Organizational Democracy Tips | Leave a comment

5 Projects

Leading the Tax and Conversation amendment is going well. The concept — what is good policy that people want for tax reform? — has developed since August 2011 (it’s now December 2013), and is done. The timeline (a November 2016 vote is now the goal) is at:

The one-pager is at: and the legal text is at:

Conversation starts and finishes each project. The amendment has 5 projects. The first has finished, the second has started:

  1. Research & development to find what is good policy that people want.
  2. Commitments of support.
  3. Signature gathering.
  4. Living room conversations before voting.
  5. Oversight/accountability/positive PR for the refund process and new tax system.
Each project has:
  1. Conversation: Figure out the items for the project management.
  2. Hands-on work to research and get results.
  3. Check in/update halfway through the project.
  4. Test before launch.
  5. Launch.
  6. Conversation: People see the results, and people who worked on the project talk about their personal experience with friends, family, and co-workers, who ask questions and decide to start or be involved in the next project.

Please support. Actions to support are getting results:

Your writing a statement of support, contributing financially, and/or referring people with the most: trusted name recognition, influence, expertise, and money, will all be valuable.

There are opportunities to volunteer on research (legal, statistics, side effects) and outreach (marketing, bringing people together to support).

Similar Posts:
Posted in Other Things from Life | Leave a comment

My new full-time work

Tax and Conversation
is my new full-time work. Total income tax reform through a constitutional amendment 2014 in Oregon via the public initiative process. It will benefit everyone in Oregon.

And we’ll do it by growing a membership organization. We have members signed up already, who are pragmatic idealists, and everyone is welcome to become a member.

There are weekly civics meetings, in a structured Q&A. They’ve turned out to be surprisingly fun and exciting. There’s a topic each week, and people show up with questions. We learn a lot and share perspectives.

The amendment draft:
Newsletter for monthly-or-so updates:
Facebook for event updates:

Similar Posts:
Posted in 101 Organizational Democracy Tips | Leave a comment

“Collective Agency”: the year to come

Collective Agency Google Streetview photo

It’s been a great year. I started “Collective Agency” June 15th 2011 with tens of other people, and June 14th 2012 I transferred 100% of control to Fitz Ryland, who was elected by members.

Some of our press is here: We’ve become Mozilla’s Portland headquarters. Our Spaces are full with many other companies, and room for many more members too: more than 50 members and growing.

I saw this photo on Google Streetview. In this photo, the sun is rising. There’s a couple walking by, likely going into “Collective Agency”, headed up to our second floor. There’s a guy standing outside, and another guy riding a bicycle. It’s a good neighborhood to be in, lots of variety, friendly people, going about their lives, with art galleries across the street, and all kinds of income and diversity on the block.

We’ve come a long way from where we started a year ago. Even the Google Streetview photo looks so different from the outside.

It’s fulfilling to see the sun rising on a place where I’m a member, where so much happens, from Lighting Talks, to all kinds of conversations, to various planning and decision-making meetings, walking to get lunch with friends, being around people doing a whole variety of work that they’re passionate about and committed to. It’s inspiring, and I’m so happy to have it be a place in Portland for so many people including myself.

It’s kind of like a work family, in the best of ways, the vibe is great, people are friendly and supportive, and always something interesting, and a place to focus and get a lot of work done too.

You can’t see it in this photo, but a sign in the top floor window says “Work +”. Back when we opened, I was cleaning up the windows, and I asked a friend if we should keep that lettering there. She said “Yes, because that’s what this is. Work Plus….”

I’m excited to see what’s to come this year.

Similar Posts:
Posted in Examples | Leave a comment