We believe that the determinants of an organization's success or failure are rooted in its collective values. We understand that the collective is no more than the accumulation of the values of each individual. We know that the strength of these values within an individual is a predictor of their success – and therefore is critically important in the success of our mission.
These values will guide our decision-making; will influence our interactions with each other, our partners, and our clients; and will form the frame that gives our business shape and strength. By integrating these beliefs at every level, we will build a house out of stone that will withstand the tests that will inevitably come with time.
Go to the fight
• There will always be conflict. To the degree that you are able to anticipate where, when and how conflict will occur; you will be able to create your own advantage. As the conflict is forming, take action to dictate the terms. There will always be a fight – go to it. The alternative – whether failure to anticipate, aversion to, or neglect in preparing for conflict – will always result in undue suffering.
Sit in every seat
• Competitors and partners alike will come to the table with goals, just as you will. Each actor has been shaped by different experiences, and is driven by different motivations. Integrate this into your thinking. When you anticipate and understand the opposition's goals, you will enhance your ability to navigate the discourse. Examine all angles, and become familiar with all functions involved. Use this to calculate all possible vectors of approach before the action begins.
Turn directly toward the storm
• There are elements of a fight that are within your control. But there are no such elements to a storm – all you can do is build your vessel to weather the storm, and hope to pass through it as quickly as possible. There is one course of action that is preferred, if you are able. That is to streamline your vessel and face directly into the storm, while collective effort is directed in concert and with sole purpose. This will always be quickest passage through storms.
Expect problems, eliminate surprises
• Things happen when you least expect them. This is a gentle way of saying that bad things happen when you stop paying attention – that when things seem to be at their best, you are at your greatest risk of suffering a nasty surprise. Be vigilant at all times, especially when there seems to be nothing wrong. Never have you been more susceptible to ambush than when you are feeling successful, happy, and content.
Embrace your greatest fears
• It is natural to avoid the things that scare us the most. Unfortunately, that means it is likely that these are the things for which we are least prepared. Admit to yourself the things you fear the most, and make sure to address them in a way that prepares you for their manifest. Your fears will not avoid you, and will be your downfall if they catch you unprepared.
Continuously improve your pathways
• Heavily traveled pathways tend to deteriorate – they become crowded, rutted, and inefficient. Constantly renewing pathways – including your methods, processes, protocols – will guard against the degradation of a system. Avoid becoming stuck in a routine; always question why things are done a certain way. Do not become beholden to sacred rituals; do not be afraid to do away with an outdated technique, process, or method. Instead be afraid of what will happen to your organization when those pathways deteriorate.
Solve the deepest problem
• The symptom is almost always what we see first, and it is almost never the real problem. Look beyond the symptom – the thing that tips you off to the problem – and dig deeper. Very rarely will the problem itself be a single action... a one-off event. The real problem will be the rules, norms, and momentum that enabled the one-off event. Find the real problem, and solve that.
Deliver everything that you promise; do not ever deviate
• Keep a running record of everything that you owe. It must contain everything, and you must be diligent in order to be certain. Check frequently against this record to ensure that you are meeting your obligations. One broken promise will do more harm than ten perfect deliveries will do good. When you are widely known as reliable and conscientious, you will stand first in line for the opportunities of greatest consequence.
Act in your own self-interest
• Pursue activities, relationships, and outcomes that will bring you the greatest possible good – without harming others. When you act this way, then you are – by definition – creating your maximum potential value. Not only does this benefit you, it benefits all who operate within your sphere.
Maintain the engine
• Identify the critical engines that power your creativity and productivity. How, where, when, and under what circumstances do you work best? Seek out those environments and tailor your day to create the best that you can with your time.
Imagine receiving the work you submit
• Examine your work with new eyes. Is it helpful, insightful, valuable? Is it simple, clean, and readable? Would you – after seeing the work you submit – know how to do something new, be inspired to ask more questions, or feel the need to take action? If your answer to these questions is yes, then submit the work. Otherwise, the work is not finished.
Plan your time
• Days can be lost to meandering – and can easily upend subsequent days and weeks. This impacts other people’s days, and compounds throughout the organization. Plan your time by learning to manage variables that are within your scope, and think at least 3-4 moves ahead: how will your work impact the work of others? Coordinate this regularly with those who work with you.
Keep your tools clean and in good working order
• Not just physical equipment – skills and knowledge are tools as well. Put everything away clean, dry, and organized. Your tools must be in working condition at the instant they are called for again – any delay sets you behind. Take the time to keep them ready. Eat well, sleep well, stay organized, and respect the tools that make you effective, creative, and happy.
There is always a cost
• Whether you pay regularly and voluntarily by subscription, or at random and against your will by penalty, there is a cost to every benefit that comes your way. Nothing is free. Time is a cost. Energy is a cost. Pain is a cost. Very often these costs are hidden, but you can learn to anticipate them. When you learn, you will improve your capacity, your happiness, and your life.
The job is never done
• The measure of a successful project, initiative, meeting, or engagement is whether it creates momentum. If something ends but does not give rise to something new then it is by definition not successful. Let go of the idea that there is an end – we are working to create something that lasts a long time. The goal is to avoid reaching the end.
Always ask why
• Learn to look for and understand the broader effects of the work you are doing – the shape of things being built around you. If you can’t find the answer, ask somebody else. Ask until you see where this is all going. Then, with that understanding, you will be able to contribute the best possible solution.
Always be changing
• Constantly tinker with processes and methods. Ask every day whether they are useful, or whether they are simply habit. If they are only habit and provide no value, destroy them immediately and build something useful. This must be continuous – your new methods will one day wane in utility and degrade into a simple habit. Destroy the habits, and create something new.
We are free to act only upon what is given
• Our plans are at the mercy of a future unknown. The world changes form continuously, taking what is given and transforming it into what will be. Because of this and not despite it, we must strive to create the very best of everything in all that we do – to supply the best possible inputs for the world of the future. They will only have what we are able to give them.