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.

The creative “plateau”

Preface to this post: In an earlier version of this website I often wrote much more free-form. That free-form writing was appreciated by many readers, most of whom were polymath leaders in business, or artists, or consultants, or a combination. And in following the advice of this question below, I’m returning somewhat to that style, full-on, with a shiver of delight and a smile.

* * *

I heard about this idea of a creative “plateau” and I was like, “Oh, that sounds familiar.” Have you heard about this, in a project or wanting to do something that’s a “long-arc” project that goes on for a time? The idea that one works and works and works and it’s fun and engaging and then…. not done yet, need to do more work, but the excitement has plateaued, or there’s a long section until the next uphill. Like in writing a book, was the example I heard. And I heard this metaphor and I was like, “Oh, I’ve had that!” many times. I even thought about it as a plateau on a mountain, back when I was acting and when I decided to stop acting, I felt like I’d reached a plateau, and saw this really big mountain up ahead that I didn’t even know was going to be there, so much more to go! So much more could be done! Ahhhh! And with producing back in 2001 even in the middle of what was only a six month project or so, there was a point when I started adding on another project! The advice I read yesterday was stay with clear vision, go back to the vision of why did it in the first place, and instead of adding new creative things in some other area, go back to the vision, and refocus, clarify that.

I wish they taught about that in school, getting through plateaus… “Craft” class in playwriting was about working through plateaus in playwriting… and it worked, as training. I wish they taught that in every area, as a life skill. I don’t think it was even mentioned in the psychology classes I took. In fourth grade that was explorer year, we had covered wagons in the common area and played a game that lasted the whole year. And sometimes there were plateaus, and we made it across. But there was a definite goal to it, we were going somewhere, we were crossing America going west to California. And real life isn’t so definite, usually, I don’t think, except in my dreams :) We knew when we got there. So I think things like time limits for projects are good, projects within projects, and as many measurables as possible for vision, but I think life is more like writing a play or something, where we want it to be “better” but maybe not sure what that is, or if we are sure (and can we be, really?), rewriting Act III means rewriting Act I, and will that be a different play entirely… and that play will also need its Act III rewritten… and so life becomes working on Acts I through III, revising, revising, re-envisioning, re-envisioning… and I would like a metaphor, I think that’s what isn’t taught nowadays, or since World War II or whatnot generally, seems to be how to go through long-arc things that go on and on and are creative, even though there are plateaus, and no clear map, and the idea that that is okay and even good.

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