60 Second Summary: Beyond Command and Control – John Seddon

3 Big Ideas

    1. To optimise organisational performance you need to focus on three things:
      • Knowledge of customer demand
      • Appreciation of what constitutes the value work, what matters to the customers
      • Understanding how to measure the system’s achievement of purpose in customer terms
    2. Managers must experience the customers pain first-hand in order for the system to change. Meaningful change will not happen if customer pain and innovations are presented in their offices. Managers must “get out of their chairs” and spend a significant amount of time with customers. It is only through feeling the emotion of customer pain that managers will be inspired to make change. Studying the system is the vital first step.
    3. Two key measures
      • Capacity – The volume of demands we can service.
      • Capability  – How well we do them measured in terms that matter to customers. Timeliness, right first time etc.


Learning how to see is a critical skill management need to learn

The vital purpose for leaders, is to gain knowledge of how the system generates and keeps customers

1 Action

  • Help facilitate more direct interaction between Management and the customers. Create conditions where they can feel the emotions of their customers. Amplify the feeling between management and customers.

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon

A video explaining many of the concepts highlighted in the book:

My reading highlights:

What is command and control management?

  • Leaders often copy what they see from other organisations after going on “digital safaris”. These run traps of leaders assuming what they see are the ingredients for success rather than the hidden parts of the system
  • Even successful change can be quickly undone
  • Everything you need to know is there in your own system. If you have eyes to see it.
  • Learning how to see is a critical skill management need to learn
  • Empowerment is a command or control term, ie the boss empowers you the subordinate.
  • Command and control definition:
    • A top down perspective, in which work is divided into functional specialisms
    • Decision making is separated from the work
    • Measures in use are related to the budget and worker activity
  • Error is assuming the problem with command and control is about bosses being bossy. The problem are the control measures. Which means that bosses are bossy about the wrong things!

The Nature of Change:

  • Managers often evaluate change proposals and programmes in the abstract and at a distance.Intermediation.
  • For real change to happen leaders must Disintermediate. Experience the pain. It is vital!
  • Key to intervention theory is the work of the US academic Chris Argyris
  • To change your mental model requires double loop learning. Questioning the assumptions behind one’s beliefs, single loop learning by contrast is to repeat attempts at the same problem for example.
  • Three ways to affect change in human systems:
    • Rational (Presentations)
    • Normative (Through experience)
    • Coercive
  • Rational strategies usually results with dissonance with counterproductive consequences.
  • Command or Control leaders won’t give up their current controls until they have witnessed firsthand how they destabilise and send the system
  • Leaders pace dictates.
  • Managers need to go through a Normative learning process. Only through experiencing the pain points of their customers will they feel emotionally connected to the problem and have the desire to enable change. The intervention is crucial to anchor the perspective in and outside in customer’s point of view.
  • The way people work together, behaviour and values, improves when they work in a better system with a sound purpose
  • A bad system will beat a good person every time.

A different approach – Vanguard Method:

  • To optimise organisational performance focus on:
    • Knowledge of customer demand
    • Appreciation of what constitutes the value work, what matters to the customers
    • Understanding how to measure the system’s achievement of purpose in customer terms
  • Most back office organisations optimised for:
    • Cost of transactions
    • Standardisation
    • Activity management
  • The work is a handicapped by the system and the system belongs to management
  • Two key measures:
    • Capacity – The volume of demands we can service.
    • Capability  – How well we do them measured in terms that matter to customers. Timeliness, right first time etc.

Problems with traditional controls and budget management:

  • Budget Management is the primary tool of command and control managers.
  • Treating all demands as work to be done leads to volumes of failure demand embedded in the system. A giant cuckoo in the nest greedily consuming capacity and effort to remind you what we’re talking about here in financial services failure demand frequently runs between 40 and 70% of the total.
  • You must change the measure of control for the system in order to change behaviour.
  • Three essential means of control:
    • Demand
    • Value Work
    • Achievement of purpose
  • Example of cross-functional working outside of IT:
    • Home repairs: While a plaster is needed to plaster a wall, other trades can learn how to fit in cracks in other associated trades. This reduces lead time for customer and increases agility.
  • Russell Ackoff:
    •  All attempts to do the wrong thing righter only makes them wronger.
  • Managing costs causes costs.
  • IT teams are often managed by system measures that drive sub-optimisation:
    • Utilisation
    • Billable time
    • Target dates
    • Activity
  • Having learned how managing costs drives costs up instead. Managements focus is on managing value by which we mean designing services to ensure customers get what they need. 

Study Demand:

  • Understanding demand is management treasure, a lever for improvement that is simply out of reach to command and control management teams.
  • Knowledge of customer demand is the most important lever.
  • The vital purpose for leaders, is to gain knowledge of how the system generates and keeps customers.
  • Leadership expertise required is simply, the competence to listen. Understand, and help the citizen be clear about what matters to them.
  • Take an “outside in” perspective. That is standing in the customers shoes, rather than top down, and work is designed according to the principles of demand value and flow, just doing the value work. Instead of being divided into functional specialisms decision making is integrated with work and conventional measures are either abandoned or relegated to lagging status, not used for making decisions.
  • To make change, managers first need to study the system. However many managers struggle to find any time. Their time is taken up with command and control management. Monitoring activity, managing the works and managing costs. Most managers delegate the change work to other people in their teams.
  • Upon studying demand most managers will be emotionally shocked at what they find. Most cannot ignore the dysfunction they find.
  • The management factory. Divide between operations and management. Those are the two systems, not one. Getting on in the management factory is dependent on having and being able to present good ideas, or at least perceived as good by current norms. Usually, management factory intervene but never stay around long enough to see if the interventions had even been delivered, let alone whether they were effective or not. In the management factory initiatives are usually evaluate or being on plan, rather than actually working, there’s so much change or interference going on, that it’s difficult to attribute outcomes to any one initiative. Even substantial failure, such as channels stuffed with failure demand is often invisible to leaders because of the blind spots in their control systems. Gary Hamel estimates that in US organisations, as much as 80% of the workforce is employed in the management factory


  • Start without IT. The first design has to be manual. Simple physical means like pin boards tea cards, spreadsheets. Record the job, and what matters to the customer. 
  • Starting with IT often just recreates a broken system in a digital form. It rarely has a positive or meaningful change to customer value
  • Many change agents use planned improvement conjecture in business cases as evidence of delivered improvement
  • HR are posed with a dilemma. Most improvements to performance come from changes to the system yet most HR practices focuses in development and management of the individual.

60 Second Summary: How To Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi

3 Big Ideas

  1. It is critical to have a common definition of key terms. You cannot engage in productive dialogue about racism unless you have a shared understanding of terms. Definitions within the book:
    1. Racist – One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea. 
    2. Anti-racist – One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea. 
    3. Racism – Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities. 
    4. Anti-racism – Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas. 
  2. Many people say they are not-racist but that is not enough. It is not enough to be neutral. Through neutrality you enable racism You are either racist or anti-racist.
  3. Racist ideas can come from both Assimilationist and Segregationist Ideas:
    1. Assimilationist Ideas – Black people are inferior by nurture. Belief that inferiority has come through nurture.
    2. Segregationist Ideas – black people are inferior by nature. They will never be as good as whites.


“White supremacists are the ones supporting policies that benefit racist power against the interests of the majority of White people. White supremacists claim to be pro-White but refuse to acknowledge that climate change is having a disastrous impact on the earth White people inhabit. They oppose affirmative-action programs, despite White women being their primary beneficiaries. White supremacists rage against Obamacare even as 43 percent of the people who gained lifesaving health insurance from 2010 to 2015 were White.”

“Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist sees exactly that: individuals behaving positively or negatively, not representatives of whole races. To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body. Behavior is something humans do, not races.”

1 Action

Don’t be not-racist be anti-racist. Follow the examples set within the book for anti-racist actions and expressions. Example:

  • To be antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals. When we see cultural difference, we are seeing cultural difference—nothing more, nothing less.

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon

You may also like: 60 Second Summary: Biased – Dr Jennifer Eberhardt

Video Summary of key concepts:


RACISTOne who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.
ANTIRACISTOne who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.
RACISIMRacism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities.
ANTI-RACISIMAntiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.
RACIST INEQUITYRacial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing. Here’s an example of racial inequity
RACIST POLICIESA racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.
RACIST IDEASA racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way.
ASSIMILATIONISTOne who is expressing the racist idea that a racial group is culturally or behaviorally inferior and is supporting cultural or behavioral enrichment programs to develop that racial group.
SEGREGATIONISTOne who is expressing the racist idea that a permanently inferior racial group can never be developed and is supporting policy that segregates away that racial group.
RACEA power construct of collected or merged difference that lives socially.
BIOLOGICAL RACISTOne who is expressing the idea that the races are meaningfully different in their biology and that these differences create a hierarchy of value.
BIOLOGICAL ANTIRACISTOne who is expressing the idea that the races are meaningfully the same in their biology and there are no genetic racial differences.
ETHNIC RACISMA powerful collection of racist policies that lead to inequity between racialized ethnic groups and are substantiated by racist ideas about racialized ethnic groups.
ETHNIC ANTIRACISMA powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to equity between racialized ethnic groups and are substantiated by antiracist ideas about racialized ethnic groups.
BODILY RACISTOne who is perceiving certain racialized bodies as more animal-like and violent than others. 
CULTURAL RACISTOne who is creating a cultural standard and imposing a cultural hierarchy among racial groups.
CULTURAL ANTIRACISTOne who is rejecting cultural standards and equalizing cultural differences among racial groups.
BEHAVIORAL RACISTOne who is making individuals responsible for the perceived behavior of racial groups and making racial groups responsible for the behavior of individuals.
BEHAVIORAL ANTIRACISTOne who is making racial group behavior fictional and individual behavior real.
COLORISMA powerful collection of racist policies that lead to inequities between Light people and Dark people, supported by racist ideas about Light and Dark people. 
ANTI-WHITE RACISTOne who is classifying people of European descent as biologically, culturally, or behaviorally inferior or conflating the entire race of White people with racist power.
POWERLESS DEFENSEThe illusory, concealing, disempowering, and racist idea that Black people can’t be racist because Black people don’t have power.
CLASS RACISTOne who is racializing the classes, supporting policies of racial capitalism against those race-classes, and justifying them by racist ideas about those race-classes. 
SPACE RACISMA powerful collection of racist policies that lead to resource inequity between racialized spaces or the elimination of certain racialized spaces, which are substantiated by racist ideas about racialized spaces.
SPACE ANTIRACISMA powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity between integrated and protected racialized spaces, which are substantiated by antiracist ideas about racialized spaces.
GENDER RACISMA powerful collection of racist policies that lead to inequity between race-genders and are substantiated by racist ideas about race-genders.
GENDER ANTIRACISMA powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to equity between race-genders and are substantiated by anti-racist ideas about race-genders.
QUEER RACISMA powerful collection of racist policies that lead to inequity between race-sexualities and are substantiated by racist ideas about race-sexualities.
QUEER ANTIRACISMA powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to equity between race-sexualities and are substantiated by antiracist ideas about race-sexualities.
ACTIVISTOne who has a record of power or policy change.


  • Origins of Race:
    • French poet Jacques de Brézé first used the term “race” in a 1481 hunting poem. In 1606, the same diplomat who brought the addictive tobacco plant to France formally defined race for the first time in a major European dictionary. “Race … means descent,” 6 Jean Nicot wrote in the Trésor de la langue française. “Therefore, it is said that a man, a horse, a dog, or another animal is from a good or bad race.” From the beginning, to make races was to make racial hierarchy.
    • Beginning in 1735, Carl Linnaeus locked in the racial hierarchy of humankind in Systema Naturae.He color-coded the races as White, Yellow, Red, and Black. He attached each race to one of the four regions of the world and described their characteristics. The Linnaeus taxonomy became the blueprint that nearly every enlightened race maker followed and that race makers still follow today.
  • Race is a mirage but one that humanity has organized itself around in very real ways.
  • Avoid color-blindness:
    • The gift of seeing myself as Black instead of being color-blind is that it allows me to clearly see myself historically and politically as being an antiracist, as a member of the interracial body striving to accept and equate and empower racial difference of all kinds.
    • Assimilationists believe in the post-racial myth that talking about race constitutes racism, or that if we stop identifying by race, then racism will miraculously go away. They fail to realize that if we stop using racial categories, then we will not be able to identify racial inequity. If we cannot identify racial inequity, then we will not be able to identify racist policies. If we cannot identify racist policies, then we cannot challenge racist policies. If we cannot challenge racist policies, then racist power’s final solution will be achieved: a world of inequity none of us can see, let alone resist. Terminating racial categories is potentially the last, not the first, step in the antiracist struggle.
  • Race creates new forms of power: the power to categorize and judge, elevate and downgrade, include and exclude. Race makers use that power to process distinct individuals, ethnicities, and nationalities into monolithic races.
  • We have the causality wrong:Systems Maps - General (14)
  • We often see and remember the race and not the individual. This is racist categorizing, this stuffing of our experiences with individuals into color-marked racial closets. An antiracist treats and remembers individuals as individuals. “She acted that way,” we should say, “because she is racist.”
  • “Microaggression,” the constant verbal and nonverbal abuse racist White people unleash on Black people wherever we go, day after day.
    • A White woman grabs her purse when a Black person sits next to her.
    • The seat next to a Black person stays empty on a crowded bus.
    • A White woman calls the cops at the sight of Black people barbecuing in the park.
    • White people telling us that our firmness is anger or that our practiced talents are natural.
    • Mistaking us for the only other Black person around.
    • Calling the cops on our children for selling lemonade on the street.
    • Butchering Ebonics for sport.
    • Assuming we are the help.
    • Assuming the help isn’t brilliant.
    • Asking us questions about the entire Black race.
    • Not giving us the benefit of the doubt.
    • Calling the cops on us for running down the street.
  • I do not use “microaggression” anymore. I detest the post-racial platform that supported its sudden popularity. I detest its component parts—“ micro” and “aggression.” A persistent daily low hum of racist abuse is not minor. I use the term “abuse” because aggression is not as exacting a term. Abuse accurately describes the action and its effects on people: distress, anger, worry, depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, and suicide.


  • We practice ethnic racism when we express a racist idea about an ethnic group or support a racist policy toward an ethnic group. Ethnic racism, like racism itself, points to group behavior, instead of policies, as the cause of disparities between groups. When Ghanaian immigrants to the United States join with White Americans and say African Americans are lazy, they are recycling the racist ideas of White Americans about African Americans. This is ethnic racism.
  • To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their differences. To be antiracist is to challenge the racist policies that plague racialized ethnic groups across the world. To be antiracist is to view the inequities between all racialized ethnic groups as a problem of policy.
  • In the fable, a man and lion travel together, arguing over who is superior. They pass a statue that shows a lion strangled by a man. The man says, “See there! How strong we are, and how we prevail over even the king of beasts.” The lion replies, “This statue was made by one of you men. If we lions knew how to erect statues, you would see the man placed under the paw of the lion.” Whoever creates the cultural standard usually puts themself at the top of the hierarchy.
  • To be antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals. When we see cultural difference, we are seeing cultural difference—nothing more, nothing less.


  • One of racism’s harms is the way it falls on the unexceptional Black person who is asked to be extraordinary just to survive—and, even worse, the Black screwup who faces the abyss after one error, while the White screwup is handed second chances and empathy.
  • To be an antiracist is to recognize there is no such thing as racial behavior. To be an antiracist is to recognize there is no such thing as Black behavior, let alone irresponsible Black behavior. Black behavior is as fictitious as Black genes. There is no “Black gene.” No one has ever scientifically established a single “Black behavioral trait.”
  • The use of standardized tests to measure aptitude and intelligence is one of the most effective racist policies ever devised to degrade Black minds and legally exclude Black bodies. We degrade Black minds every time we speak of an “academic-achievement gap” based on these numbers. The acceptance of an academic-achievement gap is just the latest method of reinforcing the oldest racist idea: Black intellectual inferiority.
  • Alternatives:
    • What if we measured intelligence by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environments?
    • What if we measured intellect by an individual’s desire to know?
    • What if we realized the best way to ensure an effective educational system is not by standardizing our curricula and tests but by standardizing the opportunities available to all students?
  • As long as the mind thinks there is something behaviorally wrong with a racial group, the mind can never be antiracist. As long as the mind oppresses the oppressed by thinking their oppressive environment has retarded their behavior, the mind can never be antiracist. As long as the mind is racist, the mind can never be free.
  • Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist sees exactly that: individuals behaving positively or negatively, not representatives of whole races. To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body. Behavior is something humans do, not races.


  • Colorism is a collection of racist policies that cause inequities between Light people and Dark people, and these inequities are substantiated by racist ideas about Light and Dark people.
  • White people usually favor lighter-skinned politicians over darker-skinned ones. Research studies from the book highlights:
    • Dark African Americans are disproportionately at risk of hypertension.
    • Dark African American students receive significantly lower GPAs than Light students.
    • Maybe because racist Americans have higher expectations for Light students, people tend to remember educated Black men as Light-skinned even when their skin is Dark.
    • Even Dark Filipino men have lower incomes than their lighter peers in the United States.
    • Dark immigrants to the United States, no matter their place of origin, tend to have less wealth and income than Light immigrants.
    • When they arrive, Light Latinx people receive higher wages, and Dark Latinx people are more likely to be employed at ethnically homogeneous jobsites.
    • Dark sons and Light daughters receive higher-quality parenting than Light sons and Dark daughters.
    • Dark African Americans receive the harshest prison sentences and more time behind bars.
    • Dark female students are nearly twice as likely to be suspended as White female students, while researchers found no disparity between Light and White female students.
    • Inequities between Light and Dark African Americans can be as wide as inequities between Black and White Americans.
  • To be an antiracist is to diversify our standards of beauty like our standards of culture or intelligence, to see beauty equally in all skin colors, broad and thin noses, kinky and straight hair, light and dark eyes.
  • In the 1980s, Light children were adopted first, had higher incomes, and were less likely to be trapped in public housing and prisons. “The lighter the skin, the lighter the sentence” became a popular antiracist saying as the era of mass incarceration surged in the 1990s.
  • India, “fairness” creams topped $ 200 million in 2014.63 Today, skin lighteners are used by 70 percent of women in Nigeria; 35 percent in South Africa; 59 percent in Togo; and 40 percent in China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea. 64
  • Surveys show that people consider tanned skin—the replica color of Light people—more attractive than naturally pale skin and Dark skin.

White Racism:

  • To be antiracist is to never mistake the global march of White racism for the global march of White people. To be antiracist is to never mistake the antiracist hate of White racism for the racist hate of White people. To be antiracist is to never conflate racist people with White people, knowing there are antiracist Whites and racist non-Whites. To be antiracist is to see ordinary White people as the frequent victimizers of people of color and the frequent victims of racist power. Donald Trump’s economic policies are geared toward enriching White male power—but at the expense of most of his White male followers, along with the rest of us.
  • Claims of anti-White racism in response to antiracism are as old as civil rights. When Congress passed the (first) Civil Rights Act of 1866, it made Black people citizens of the United States, stipulated their civil rights, and stated that state law could not “deprive a person of any of these rights on the basis of race.” President Andrew Johnson reframed this antiracist bill as a “bill made to operate in favor of the colored against the white race.” Racist Americans a century later framed supporters of affirmative action as “hard-core racists of reverse discrimination,” to quote former U.S. solicitor general Robert Bork in The Wall Street Journal in 1978. When Alicia Garza typed “Black Lives Matter” 23 on Facebook in 2013 and when that love letter crested into a movement in 2015, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani called the movement “inherently racist.”
  • White supremacists are the ones supporting policies that benefit racist power against the interests of the majority of White people. White supremacists claim to be pro-White but refuse to acknowledge that climate change is having a disastrous impact on the earth White people inhabit. They oppose affirmative-action programs, despite White women being their primary beneficiaries. White supremacists rage against Obamacare even as 43 percent of the people who gained lifesaving health insurance from 2010 to 2015 were White.
  • White supremacist is code for anti-White, and White supremacy is nothing short of an ongoing program of genocide against the White race. In fact, it’s more than that: White supremacist is code for anti-human, a nuclear ideology that poses an existential threat to human existence.

Facts and Research from Book:

  • During the 2013–14 academic year, Black students were four times more likely than White students to be suspended from public schools, according to Department of Education data.
  • Black people comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population. And yet, in 2015, Black bodies accounted for at least 26 percent of those killed by police, 12 declining slightly to 24 percent in 2016, 22 percent in 2017, and 21 percent in 2018, according to The Washington Post.
  • Unarmed Black bodies—which apparently look armed to fearful officers—are about twice as likely to be killed as unarmed White bodies.
  • In Pennsylvania, a recent statewide study found that at any given poverty level, districts with a higher proportion of White students receive significantly more funding than districts with more students of color.


60 Second Summary: Biased – Dr Jennifer Eberhardt

3 Big Ideas

  1. Bias negatively impacts Black people in almost all parts of society. Housing, Education, Criminal Justice, Employment etc. The bias is built into the system.
  2. Mental Priming and Fear are some of the primary drivers of bias. These factors are particularly present in the Criminal Justice System.
  3. Color blindness, ignoring race, can lead to negative impacts. When people focus on not seeing color, they may also fail to see discrimination.


“For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see”

“The formulas used to calculate bail often rely on factors—job stability, arrest history, family resources—that circumstantially disadvantage young black men. Analysts estimate that the bail premium charged to black male defendants is 35 percent more than what white defendants pay”

1 Action

Seek feedback in moments of fear and high pressure when biases might be driving my thinking. This is when bias is most likely to occur.

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon

Facts and Figures from studies shared in the book:

  • In 2016, nearly a thousand people were killed in the United States by police officers.
  • Black people are stopped by police at disproportionate levels and are more likely to have force used upon them.
  • Only a fraction of officers involved in questionable shootings are prosecuted, and it’s rare to get a conviction.
  • 60 percent of the stops officers made in Oakland were of black people, although blacks made up only 28 percent of the Oakland population at the time. Blacks were disproportionately stopped even when we controlled for factors like the crime rate and the racial breakdown of residents in the areas where the stops took place.
  • Black drivers are twice as likely as white drivers to have been stopped for a high-discretion equipment violation as opposed to a moving violation.
  • While blacks made up 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, they accounted for 85 percent of vehicle stops and 90 percent of citations. And though black drivers were twice as likely to be searched by police, they were 26 percent less likely than whites to be found in possession of contraband.
  • The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized nation in the world. We account for only 4.4 percent of the world’s population but house 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. More than 2.1 million Americans were behind bars in 2017.
  • Although blacks make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population, nearly 40 percent of the nation’s prison inmates are black.
  • White people are likely to be a minority in this country, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections
  • More than half of white Americans—55 percent—believe there is discrimination against white people in the United States today, according to a 2017 survey by Harvard University’s School of Public Health

Categorization Biases:

  • A universal function of the brain that allows us to organize and manage the overload of stimuli that constantly bombard us.
  • This bias impedes our efforts to embrace and understand people who are deemed not like us
  • Out-group members, are not processed as deeply or attended to as carefully. 
  • The concept of stereotypes dates back to the time of Plato, whose dialogues explored the question of whether one’s perceptions correspond to the actual state of affairs.
  • “Other-race effect.” people are much better at recognizing faces of their own race than faces of other races
    • By the time babies are three months old, their brains react more strongly to faces of their own race than to faces of people unlike them

Bias and Perception:

  • Implicit bias can be layered and complicated. It’s simple to explain, but not so easy to see or to rectify.
  • Bias drives what we perceive, how we think, and the actions we take.
  • Research shows that fear can be a driver of bias. The same fear response that’s supposed to keep us safe can activate bias in ways that stigmatize and threaten others
  • Research shows that people tend to grossly overestimate the extent to which they will speak out against prejudice, particularly when they are not the target of the offense.
  • When someone seems foreign or unfamiliar or unpredictable, your gut reactions prepare you to be wary. That is when out-group bias can surface instinctively

Police Shootings:

  • Participants were even faster to respond “shoot” to a black person holding a gun than they were to a white person holding a gun.
  • More likely to mistakenly “shoot” a black person with no gun.
  • Racial bias was found both in the speed of response and in the decision whether to shoot. 

Criminal Justice System:

  • Arrest – 11 million arrest each year. Three-quarters for nonviolent offences
  • Bail – Many people cannot afford pre-trial bail. The formulas used to calculate bail often rely on factors—job stability, arrest history, family resources—that circumstantially disadvantage young black men. Analysts estimate that the bail premium charged to black male defendants is 35 percent more than what white defendants pay
  • Plea BargainingBlack defendants are more likely than whites, Asians, or Latinos to be offered plea deals that require prison time, particularly for drug-related crimes
  • DefenceBlacks are also more likely to rely on the free public defender system, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage. Black defendants who hire private attorneys are almost twice as likely to have the primary charge against them reduced than are the black clients of public defenders.
  • SentenceDecades of research have shown that murderers of white victims are significantly more likely to be sentenced to death than murderers of black people—even when controlling for nonracial factors that could influence sentencing.
  • Release –  The prison experience has been shown to dramatically deepen social inequality, marginalizing former inmates in almost every significant sphere


  • African Americans are more likely than any other group to live in segregated neighborhoods.
  • According to studies by sociologists Lincoln Quillian and Devah Pager, the more blacks there are in a community, the higher people imagine the crime rate to be—regardless of whether statistics bear that out. That correlates with fear and with bias.

Talking about Race:

  • Research shows that talking about racial issues with people of other races is particularly stressful for whites
    • Heart rates go up
    • Blood vessels constrict
    • Bodies prepare for a threat
    • Demonstrate cognitive depletion, struggling with simple things like word-recognition tasks.
  • Even thinking about talking about race can be emotionally demanding. In a study of how white people arranged the physical space when they knew they’d be in conversation with blacks, the arrangements varied based on the subject of those chats. When the study participants were told they’d be talking in small groups about love and relationships, they set the chairs close to one another. When they were told the topic was racial profiling, they put the chairs much farther apart.
  • As social psychologist Gordon Allport outlined in his 1954 classic, The Nature of Prejudice , contact has a much greater chance of piercing bias when the interactions meet these conditions:
    • equal status
    • condoned by authorities
    • personal rather than superficial.


  • Black students are nearly four times as likely to be suspended from school as their white peers, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Office for Civil Rights involving more than ninety-six thousand K–12 public schools.
  • Black students are significantly more likely to be disciplined for relatively minor infractions than any other group.
  • Thus begins a vicious cycle: As black students pull back, their teachers may become more frustrated with them, and as the teachers’ frustration grows, those students become even more inclined to disengage or act out.

Danger of color blindness:

  • One of the most common practices schools foster is the strategy of color blindness. Try not to notice color. Try not to think about color. If you don’t allow yourself to think about race, you can never be biased .
  • When people focus on not seeing color, they may also fail to see discrimination.
  • Encouraging children to remain blind to race dampened their detection of discrimination, which had ripple effects. Color blindness promoted exactly the opposite of what was intended: racial inequality. It left minority children to fend for themselves in an environment where the harms they endured could not be seen.


  • Today, the unemployment rate for black teens and young adults is about twice as high as it is for whites. At a time of life when critical work habits and life skills are developed, black teens in low-income neighborhoods—where businesses, restaurants, and retail outlets are sparse—have fewer options and face adult competition for entry-level jobs.
  • Historically, not only are blacks less likely to be employed than whites; they have worse jobs and earn less money. Many factors contribute to these disparities, including the quality of the applicant’s social networks marshaled to secure employment as well as the level of education, skills, or experience certain jobs require.
  • “Diversity” has been a corporate watchword since before they were born. That’s supposed to reflect an enthusiastic embrace of new perspectives and a willingness to hear and accommodate previously marginalized voices. Instead, it seems to have become a numbers game. Companies want to check the boxes but not change their culture. So young people are desperately tailoring themselves to fit in to those boxes.
  • For example, when it comes to corporate leadership roles, the mental associations between whiteness and leadership have contributed to the scarcity of minorities at the helm of powerhouse corporate entities.

Keeping Bias in check:

  • Bias is not something we exhibit and act on all the time. It is conditional, and the battle begins by understanding the conditions under which it is most likely to come alive.
  • Among those conditions, speed and ambiguity are two of the strongest triggers of bias. When we are forced to make quick decisions using subjective criteria, the potential for bias is great.
  • Bias is also more likely to flare up when our decisions are left unmonitored, when there are no checks and balances on the spur-of-the-moment choices we make.
  • Success requires us to be willing to tolerate that discomfort as we learn to communicate, get to know one another, and make deeper efforts to shift the underlying cultures that lead to bias and exclusion.

A Scrum Book – The Spirit of the Game by Jeff Sutherland, James O. Coplien, and The Scrum Patterns Group

3 Big Ideas

  • Scrum Guide defines the rules of Scrum but gives no indication of “how” to implement. Patterns provide a guide “how” to implement scrum and possible sequences of implementation. Patterns can be adopted piecemeal and the language guides which patterns should be considered first.
  • There are two “pattern languages” to consider when implementing scrum

Planning an adoption with Scrum Patterns | Agilix

Ref: https://agilix.nl/blog-en/planning-an-adoption-with-scrum-patterns/?lang=en

  • When adopting scrum, focus on the “high order” system before a lower level pattern. For example, focus on establishing a stable team before you focus on other things
    • “Think globally, act locally.”


Patterns are a roadmap to introduce Scrum into organizations, one pattern at a time.

There are almost countless ways to sequence patterns, each sequence giving rise to a Scrum organization with a slightly different character.

1 Takeaway

  • Use this pattern language to describe and visualise possible adoption pathways for organisations

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon


  • While The Scrum Guide describes the basic rules of Scrum, the patterns amplify the guide by showing teams how to solve problems in a specific context.
  • What is a pattern? One simple definition is that a pattern is a repeatably applicable solution to a problem that arises in a specific context.
  • Working in small steps reduces risk and helps teams move forward with confidence in “process improvement.”
  • A carefully chosen sequence of such patterns can resolve product development issues and, importantly, help the organization understand Scrum more in depth.
  • Patterns explore the forces at play in the complex contexts of organizational development and workflow.
  • Patterns help with sequencing:
    • Build a Cross Functional Team BEFORE an Autonomous Team
  • Sometimes you will need to apply several patterns—maybe over several months—to solve a complex problem in the organization.
  • Patterns are a roadmap to introduce Scrum into organizations, one pattern at a time.

The Scrum Core as Patterns

  • Think of Scrum as a game we play. As with most games, it can be a wonderful form of engagement if its players appreciate both the discipline and freedom that help them create value.
  • Spirit of the game = Scrum requires a spirit of interaction between people, and that spirit can be difficult to define. This spirit is part of the culture of the organization and may be indiscernible for the people within the culture. Though it may be difficult to define, the spirit is easy to recognize when it is broken.
  • People often equate “doing Scrum” with the use of a Scrum Board. There is much more to Scrum than any set of tools can capture.
    • Kicking a soccer ball around in the park can look a lot like playing soccer, but it is not soccer.

  • Core Scrum in Pattern

Systems Maps - General (10)

  • Description:
    • 3 “systems” which should be focused on in order
      • Assemble the team
      • Define the Product
      • Agree norms (ways of working)
      • Establish the Sprint
  • Jeff Sutherland suggested scrum adoption sequence (10 steps)
    1. Start with ​¶15 Stable Teams​.
    2. Decide how you are going to size your releases every ​¶46 Sprint​.
    3. Establish a velocity (see Notes on Velocity) and bring it into statistical control: use ​¶66 Yesterday’s Weather​.
    4. Focus on Done (see ​¶82 Definition of Done​) instead of foundering in rework. It takes teamwork to do that.
    5. Use ​¶25 Swarming: One-Piece Continuous Flow​.
    6. Know how to deal with interruptions during the Sprint.
    7. Align the organization to deal with emergencies using the disciplined replanning of ​¶32 Emergency Procedure​.
    8.  Get into a rhythm of improving your process every Sprint with ​¶92 Scrumming the Scrum​. Par
    9. Drive forward with the ​¶91 Happiness Metric​.
    10. Revisit how you are sizing your Sprints. Give yourself room to improve.

Product Organization Pattern Language

  • The Product Organization is one major Whole to which you must attend when introducing Scrum
  • Organizational values are the bedrock of the processes, structure, and atmosphere of the workplace
  • Good values are intrinsic and come from within.

Development Team

  • To build a product of the ​¶93 Greatest Value​ requires that producers work in a way that allows the team to recognize such value when they achieve it, and to support decisions that carry the team in that direction.
  • Scrum is optimised for:
    • Effective communication and feedback are at the heart of effective complex system development
    • The organization structure should be optimized for the most crucial paths of communication (Conways Law)
    • Heart of Agile:
      • Communication
      • Regular feedback
      • Self-organization
  • Focus on Value – our focus and concern are on the end user, market, and customers rather than on the tools and technologies we use to do our work.
  • Small Teams – Organize the workforce into Small Teams of more or less five people, partitioned according to the most important concerns for the creation of value by the enterprise. Supplement this structure with a small number of cross-cutting structures for secondary but important concerns
  • Scrum discourages local optimisation:
    • A Development Team structure where each team owns one part of the product, or just a product subassembly.

Involve the Managers

  • Dilemma – the extent of management control, or whether there should be management at all.
  • Managers help in these cases:
    • Managers have the station and power to restructure the organization while Product Owners do not.
    • Contractual responsibility for a relationship with an external vendor that supplies multiple product developments
    • Strategic issues related to the lifetime or very existence of a team or product.
    • Product Owners are unlikely to have an adequately objective view to defund their own product when business sense dictates that they should.
    • Sometimes a product or even an enterprise must go through discontinuous changes to survive.
    • Deal with impediments that may be too weighty for the ​¶19 ScrumMaster​ or Product Owner
    • Intervene to resolve conflicts between Product Owners of different products.
    • Escalation step for impediments
    • Help access to corporate resources,
    •  ¶114 Firewall – run interference against stakeholders who would interfere with the team.
    • Personnel development and administration.
    • Raise the risk appetite for action where scope is broader than a single product.
      • For example, remove product direction decisions from a sales and marketing to the Product Owner.
  • Product Owner, and not a manager, heads each product, with a very thin and narrow veneer of management at the next level up.
  • Managers must respect:
    • the Product Owner’s authority over product content and release
    • the Development Team’s self-direction as to the how, the who, and sometimes the when of feature development.
    • the scrum master raises the issue when these boundaries are not respected
  • The strongest foundation of management power is the reluctance to use it, and using it sparingly.
  • Celebrate Failure
    • “acknowledge failures with positive comments. Congratulate everyone on their efforts and remind them of the strengths and wisdom they gained from the experience. Put in perspective, a failure can do as much to motivate a team as a win”

Product Owner Team

  • Create a Product Owner Team, led by the Chief Product Owner, whose members together carry out product ownership.
  • Chief Product Owner (CPO) has final authority over the ordering of the Product Backlog.
  • The CPO plus the other people that support the CPO is what we call the Product Owner Team.
    • Do not label Product Owner Team members as ’Product Owners’— they do not own anything.
  • The CPO clearly communicates the strategy and the Product Backlog Items. The CPO works with the Product Owner Team members to select and order backlog items for the teams.
  • The Product Owner Team members can help the CPO work with the Development Teams to break the backlog into small Product Backlog Items for execution.

Manage Development Team Distractions

  • Create an Oyatsu Jinja (Snack Shrine) near the team area, with some candies, snacks, and drinks (coffee or tea).
  • Avoid Tragedy of the Commons:
    • multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource (the dev team) even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen.

  • Legacy management can cause confusion about the locus of control over product content and direction.
    • The locus of control should be the scrum team

Value Stream Pattern Language

Value Stream

  • Value Stream:
    • The development process and the path from conception to market are as important to product success as the product idea itself.
    • The process to deliver ongoing and evolving streams of product increments to stakeholders
    • The organizational structures and processes that provide cradle-to-cradle support for the product.
  • Any given product can support multiple Value Streams, so a given Scrum Team may manage several Value Streams. Any given Scrum Team usually creates value for several stakeholders, and this implies that there are often several Value Streams at play.
  • Rhythm and time-boxing are two sides of the same coin. Sprints might start every two weeks; that means that a Sprint’s duration is no longer than two weeks.
  • Scrum does not presume that one size fits all, and it is up to each team to find its place within the recommended range (or sometimes, outside that range) that works best.
  • Good kaizen (see Kaizen and Kaikaku) often has roots in sustaining a good rhythm.
  • The Product Owner orders PBIs in a way that generates the largest long-term ROI.
  • Roadmap, it too can guide the Product Backlog contents. A good initial Product Backlog is a list of ​¶71 Sprint Goal​s that takes the product in the direction of the Vision, where each Sprint Goal becomes the core of the corresponding Regular Product Increment.
  • Historically, Jeff Sutherland split Toyota’s Chief Engineer into the Product Owner and ​¶19 ScrumMaster​ roles, reflecting business and development concerns respectively.

Product Backlog Increments

  • A PBI can describe anything that has potential value to a stakeholder.
  • No PBI within the top two or three Sprints should take more than 10 percent of the total PBI effort for that Sprint, and keeping them below 5 percent of the total effort is even better.
  • In most cases, the number of ​¶60 Estimation Points​ completed in the last Sprint is a reliable predictor of how many Estimation Points of work the team will complete in the next Sprint.
  • Break down Product Backlog Items into work items and assemble them into a plan called a ​¶72 Sprint Backlog​. Each work item is a Sprint Backlog Item (SBI). No Sprint Backlog Item typically should be any larger than a single Development Team member can complete in a single work day.

Product Definition

  • It is crucial to optimize the design for economies of scope.
  • Use Value Areas  – Example at energy company:
    • I-Join, I-Pay, and We-Support.
    • Value Areas address an area of customer value and requires specific detailed knowledge.
    • Each Value Area consists of four to six Development Teams
  • Broad vs Narrow
    • Too broad, the product lacks focus and direction, and users may have difficulty identifying with it.
    • Narrow –  Great products grow from small products that work.
  • Uniformly marketing all of a large product’s features to a single market is likely to confuse the consumer.
    • What you sell/market to the customer might be different to how you internally organise.
  • There may be legal forces for splitting a “application” into multiple “applications”, Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows®. We become limited in our ability to tailor existing products to add market differentiation.

Pattern Tips

  • Patterns characteristics:
    • Must be built upon multiple known examples
      • rule of thumb – must be three independently discovered prior examples
    • Has a moral grounding, it is is morally profound
    • Solves a problem.
    • Describes the how
    • Describes why it is essential
    • Takes into account context
  • Pattern Ratings:
    • ** = you will need this solution to resolve the forces to move forward in Scrum.
    • * =  the pattern is the core of a good solution; however, we cannot argue that it is the only way.
    • 0 =  works as a solution and that it is the best solution much of the time—though other good solutions exist as well.
  • Each node of the graph is a pattern, and the lines between patterns depict ordering dependencies between them. The graph therefore shows, for each pattern, the patterns above it, which you should already have considered before applying any given pattern—and the ones below it, which are candidates for next steps once you have put the current one in place.
  • There are almost countless ways to sequence patterns, each sequence giving rise to a Scrum organization with a slightly different character.
  • A pattern language is the set of rules for combining the patterns in meaningful orders; as a “language” it has a grammar that can generate all sequences that are meaningful “sentences.”
  • It is useful to think of the patterns as building the spaces, or the identities, for groups of people who gather occasionally or periodically to exchange ideas, build things, solve problems, and to grow together.

Other stuff

  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Anyone in the organization can assert their authority by claiming they can see what others don’t.
  • Toyota Quote:
    • “build people, not just cars”
    • The soil is tended and prepared, the seeds are watered, and when the seeds grow, the soil is maintained, weeded, and watered again until finally the fruit is ready
  • Make all non-trivial issues visible with an Impediment List; raise them up to the right people in the organization for resolution.
  • we define value as something of worth to some person or set of people whom we wish to serve.

Ego is the Enemy: The Fight to Master Our Greatest Opponent – Ryan Holiday

3 Big Ideas

  • Ego is: an unhealthy belief in our own importance.
  • Ego is primary factor in the self-destruction of many people across the world, especially those who think they have found success through materialistic gains such as money and status. Ego eats away at these people like a cancer, often with their actions fuelling the disease. Live a life that does not fuel the ego. Don’t fuel the disease.
  • Managing your ego does not mean not pursuing your dreams and goals. Managing your ego means building a compass to navigate you through life as the ego fuel becomes greater and more tempting. Understanding what is important to you, your value and reflecting regularly.


Managing your ego is especially important with money. If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes: more.

Why do you do what you do? That’s the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can. Only then will you understand what matters and what doesn’t. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of stupid races that don’t matter, or even exist. Only then is it easy to ignore “successful” people, because most of the time they aren’t—at least relative to you, and often even to themselves. Only then can you develop that quiet confidence.

1 Takeaway

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon

Part I: Aspire

  • As Irving Berlin put it, “Talent is only the starting point.” The question is:
    • Will you be able to make the most of it?
    • Or will you be your own worst enemy?
    • Will you snuff out the flame that is just getting going?
  • One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible.
  • Detachment is ego antidote.
  • What is rare is not raw talent, skill, or even confidence, but humility, diligence, and self-awareness.
  • Though we think big, we must act and live small to achieve goals

Ego Talk Replaces Action – Knowing Doing Gap

  • It’s a temptation that exists for everyone—for talk and hype to replace action. Talking is easy.
  • Confusing Talk with Action: Talk depletes us. Talking and doing fight for the same resources. Research shows that while goal visualization is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress. The same goes for verbalization. Knowing Doing Gap
  • I just spent four hours talking about this. Doesn’t that count for something? The answer is no.
  • The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.
  • Now more than ever, our culture fans the flames of ego. It’s never been easier to talk, to puff ourselves up.

Ego crosses out what matters and replaces it with what doesn’t.

  • Appearances are deceiving.
    • Having authority is not the same as being an authority.
    • Having the right and being right are not the same either.
    • Being promoted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing good work and it doesn’t mean you are worthy of promotion (they call it failing upward in such bureaucracies).
    • Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.

Ego blocks learning

  • An education can’t be “hacked”; there are no shortcuts besides hacking it every single day.
  • We don’t like thinking that someone is better than us. Or that we have a lot left to learn.
  • For someone to become great:
    • have someone better that they can learn from
    • someone lesser who they can teach
    • someone equal that they can challenge themselves against.
  • A true student is like a sponge. Absorbing what goes on around him, filtering it, latching on to what he can hold. A student is self-critical and self-motivated, always trying to improve his understanding so that he can move on to the next topic, the next challenge. A real student is also his own teacher and his own critic. There is no room for ego there.
  • Without an accurate accounting of our own abilities compared to others, what we have is not confidence but delusion.

“It is impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows,” Epictetus

Seek Purpose not Passion – The ego is driven by passion

  • Purpose is something larger than you—to accomplish something, to prove something to yourself
  • Purpose makes things easier:
    • you know now what it is you need to do and what is important to you. The other “choices” wash away, as they aren’t really choices at all. They’re distractions.
  • Purpose makes things harder:
    • each opportunity—no matter how gratifying or rewarding—must be evaluated along strict guidelines:
  • Passion typically masks a weakness. Its breathlessness and impetuousness and franticness are poor substitutes for discipline, for mastery, for strength and purpose and perseverance.
  • Passion Paradox – Staying busy doing things that pleasure our ego but don’t align with our purpose
    • Putting energy into our passions will not lead to purpose
  • Purpose is like passion with boundaries.
  • Passion is form over function. Purpose is function, function, function.
  • Fundamental realities to remember:
    • You’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are;
    • You have an attitude that needs to be readjusted;
    • Most of what you think you know is out of date or wrong.

Focus on Helping others

  • There is constant benefit in making other people look good and letting them take credit for your ideas.
  • Produce more than everyone else and give your ideas away
  • Find canvases for other people to paint on. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.

Adopt tiny habits consistently and don’t be proud – Tiny Habits

  • A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.—ALAN WATTS
  • There’s no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us.
  • Our ability to learn, to adapt, to be flexible, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pride.
  • Pride takes a minor accomplishment and makes it feel like a major one.
  • Questions to manage pride:
    • What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see?
    • What am I avoiding, or running from, with my bluster, franticness, and embellishments?
  • Be patient and put in the work.
  • Work is finding yourself alone at the track when the weather kept everyone else indoors.
  • “The way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things.”

Part II: Success

Ego blocks learning – Don’t be an expert, always a learner

  • “The worst disease which can afflict business executives in their work is not, as popularly supposed, alcoholism; it’s egotism,”
  • “Man is pushed by drives, But he is pulled by values.” Viktor Frankl

  • We can’t keep learning if we think we already know everything.
  • “as our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.”

  • With accomplishment comes a growing pressure to pretend that we know more than we do. To pretend we already know everything.
  • It is not enough only to be a student at the beginning. It is a position that one has to assume for life.
  • Put yourself in rooms where you’re the least knowledgeable person.

Set your own standards, don’t copy others

  • Standard of Performance (Also referenced in Barcelona Way): What. When. How. At the most basic level and throughout the organization. Bill Walsh example:
    • Players could not sit down on the practice field.
    • Coaches had to wear a tie and tuck their shirts in.
    • Everyone had to give maximum effort and commitment.
    • Sportsmanship was essential.
    • The locker room must be neat and clean.
    • There would be no smoking, no fighting, no profanity.
    • Quarterbacks were told where and how to hold the ball.
    • Linemen were drilled on thirty separate critical drills.
    • Passing routes were monitored and graded down to the inch.
    • Practices were scheduled to the minute.
  • The deceptively small things are responsible for your success
  • Don’t Cargo Cult – Resist the impulse to reverse engineer success from other people’s stories.
  • Don’t skill the details in your own story – When we achieve our own, we must resist the desire to pretend that everything unfolded exactly as we’d planned.
  • The less attached we are to outcomes the better. Focus on your standards.
  • Make a distinction between the inner scorecard and the external one. Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against.

Build your compass don’t let Ego direct you

  • It is not enough to have great qualities; we should also have the management of them
  • All of us waste precious life doing things we don’t like, to prove ourselves to people we don’t respect, and to get things we don’t want.
  • Let’s be clear: competitiveness is an important force in life. It’s what drives the market and is behind some of mankind’s most impressive accomplishments. On an individual level, however, it’s absolutely critical that you know who you’re competing with and why, that you have a clear sense of the space you’re in.
  • More urgently, each one of us has a unique potential and purpose; that means that we’re the only ones who can evaluate and set the terms of our lives. Far too often, we look at other people and make their approval the standard we feel compelled to meet, and as a result, squander our very potential and purpose.
  • “The Strongest Poison ever known, came from Caesar’s Laurel Crown.” William Blake

  • “He who indulges empty fears earns himself real fears,” Seneca

Don’t let Ego distract you

  • Find the sense of our own path and how to stay on it without getting distracted by all the others that intersect it.
  • It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go. About accomplishing the most that you’re capable of in what you choose.
  • It’s time to sit down and think about what’s truly important to you and then take steps to forsake the rest. Without this, success will not be pleasurable, or nearly as complete as it could be. Or worse, it won’t last.
  • This is especially true with money. If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes: more.
  • Ego rejects trade-offs. Why compromise? Ego wants it all.
    strategies are often mutually exclusive. One cannot be an opera singer and a teen pop idol at the same time. Life requires those trade-offs, but ego can’t allow it.
  • Why do you do what you do? That’s the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can. Only then will you understand what matters and what doesn’t. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of stupid races that don’t matter, or even exist. Only then is it easy to ignore “successful” people, because most of the time they aren’t—at least relative to you, and often even to themselves. Only then can you develop that quiet confidence.
  • Find out why you’re after what you’re after. Ignore those who mess with your pace.
    With success, particularly power, come some of the greatest and most dangerous delusions: entitlement, control, and paranoia.

You are not the centre of the universe

  • As you become successful in your own field, your responsibilities may begin to change. Days become less and less about doing and more and more about making decisions.
  • Let’s make one thing clear: we never earn the right to be greedy or to pursue our interests at the expense of everyone else. To think otherwise is not only egotistical, it’s counterproductive.
  • Ego tells us that meaning comes from activity, that being the center of attention is the only way to matter.
  • “When I look up in the universe, I know I’m small, but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me.”
  • Someone recently calculated that it takes but a chain of six individuals who shook hands with one another across the centuries to connect Barack Obama to George Washington.
  • That is sobriety. That is command of oneself.
  • Courage, for instance, lies between cowardice on one end and recklessness on the other. Generosity, which we all admire, must stop short of either profligacy and parsimony in order to be of any use. Where the line—this golden mean—is can be difficult to tell, but without finding it, we risk dangerous extremes.

Part III: Failure

Build a personal compass to navigate failure

  • Failure and adversity are relative and unique to each of us.
  • “Almost always, your road to victory goes through a place called ‘failure.’”
  • Ego loves this notion, the idea that something is “fair” or not. Psychologists call it narcissistic injury when we take personally totally indifferent and objective events.
  • As Goethe once observed, the great failing is “to see yourself as more than you are and to value yourself at less than your true worth.”
  • adhering to a set of internal metrics that allowed them to evaluate and gauge their progress while everyone on the outside was too distracted by supposed signs of failure or weakness.
  • This is characteristic of how great people think. It’s not that they find failure in every success. They just hold themselves to a standard that exceeds what society might consider to be objective success. Because of that, they don’t much care what other people think; they care whether they meet their own standards. And these standards are much, much higher than everyone else’s.

See failure as an opportunity – use the “dead time”

  • According to Greene, there are two types of time in our lives: dead time, when people are passive and waiting, and alive time, when people are learning and acting and utilizing every second.
    • Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became the national anthem of the United States while trapped on a ship during a prisoner exchange in the War of 1812.
    • Viktor Frankl refined his psychologies of meaning and suffering during his ordeal in three Nazi concentration camps. Not that these opportunities always come in such serious situations.
    • The author Ian Fleming was on bed rest and, per doctors’ orders, forbidden from using a typewriter. They were worried he’d exert himself by writing another Bond novel. So he created Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by hand instead.
    • Walt Disney made his decision to become a cartoonist while laid up after stepping on a rusty nail.
  • In life, we all get stuck with dead time. Its occurrence isn’t in our control. Its use, on the other hand, is.

Be clear on what success is to you

  • “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
  • This is why we can’t let externals determine whether something was worth it or not. It’s on us.
  • The bigger the ego the harder the fall.
  • many significant life changes come from moments in which we are thoroughly demolished, in which everything we thought we knew about the world is rendered false.
  • A look at history finds that these events seem to be defined by three traits:
    • They almost always came at the hands of some outside force or person.
    • They often involved things we already knew about ourselves, but were too scared to admit.
    • From the ruin came the opportunity for great progress and improvement.
  • In the end, the only way you can appreciate your progress is to stand on the edge of the hole you dug for yourself, look down inside it, and smile fondly at the bloody claw prints that marked your journey up the walls.

Don’t Hate, Love

  • Streisand effect (named after a similar attempt by the singer and actress Barbra Streisand, who tried to legally remove a photo of her home from the Web. Her actions backfired and far more people saw it than would have had she left the issue alone.)
    • Attempting to destroy something out of hate or ego often ensures that it will be preserved and disseminated forever.
  • “Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life.”


Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because we’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever. Every day the dust comes back. Every day we must sweep.


Ego is a disease that sweeps over someone like a plague; a cancer that slowly eats you away, the symptoms developing and intensifying: success, loneliness, fear. Fear of all the bright young men that threaten to overtake you in life.

Superfast: Lead at Speed – Sophie Devonshire

3 Big Ideas

  • Leaders need to learn how to lead themselves in high speed environments to lead others. Energy management in particular is essential for leaders.
  • Decide. Delegate, Deliver. These are the key focus areas for leaders in high speed environments.
  • Simple approaches, with clarity and compelling purpose are what enable organisations to move quickly at scale. Leaders need to create the frameworks and alignment to give others the ability to act autonomously at speed.


The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Careful of blaming the lettuce for not growing when the soil is poor

Thich Nhât Hanh

1 Takeaway

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon

Why repeated pace-setting is an essential leadership practice

If someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask which seat.

  • You’ve got to deliver on short-range commitments, while you develop a long-range strategy and vision and implement it. Metaphor: Walking and chewing gum.
  • Pace-setting is about working out the variety that’s needed in your velocity in order to achieve sustainable success.
  • Second mover advantage; let the competition do the work and spend the money in establishing a category or changing people’s behaviour.
  • Innocent Smoothies – MVP Experiment:
    • At a music festival, we put up a big sign asking people if they thought we should give up our jobs to make smoothies, and put a bin saying ‘Yes’ and a bin saying ‘No’ in front of the stall. Then we got people to vote with their empties. At the end of the weekend, the ‘Yes’ bin was full, so we resigned from our jobs the next day and got cracking.
  • Persistence wins the race not your unique idea
  • Organise everything around Products (customers)
    • Apple had been setting up its store like any other–organized around the different products that it would be selling. ‘But if Apple’s going to organize around activities like music and movies, well, the store should be organized around music and movies and things you do,’
  • Popcorn Leaders can be confusing for teams – Leaders who fire out so many ideas the team are confused about what is really important.
  • Wall Street’s graveyards are filled with people who were right too soon.
  • Key question: ‘How much time do we have before the risk profile changes?’ (Cost of Delay)

Time – The secret to delivering with stamina and speed

I firmly believe that time management is not important; energy management is.

Paul Polman, Global CEO, Unilever

Learn from the mistakes of others. You cannot live long enough to make them all yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Effective energy management is not something that comes automatically in today’s busy world of business.
  • Three energy actions:
    1. Exercise
    2. Scheduling around your energy levels
    3. Powering off to power on (work and rest).
  • Barack Obama incorporated at least 45 minutes of physical activity in to his daily schedule when President.
  • Many smart leaders know the time of the day they work best.

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

Mark Twain

  • What are your energy triggers–physical, mental, social?
  • The best way is to recognise that the week follows a particular rhythm, and plan accordingly.
  • ‘low-fi’ Fridays. Save Fridays for internal conversations and administration (expenses, emails) rather than important new business meetings or running senior leadership summits which require intense energy.
  • Zap the ‘energy vampires’ in your business
  • American study claimed that only 56 per cent of employees felt physically energized at work.
  • The smartest employers are able to consider the overall environment and design for energy.
  • Decision-making quality drops the longer people go without a break. In one study, where hospital leaders were trying to encourage the use of hand sanitizers, they found that compliance rates fell when people worked long hours without a break.
  • Time is finite. Energy isn’t.

Purpose drives pace

  • The stronger your purpose is, and the more people are aligned with it, the more it will permeate short-term volatilities.
  • Purpose (which should last at least 100 years) should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies (which should change many times in 100 years). You cannot fulfil a purpose; it’s like a guiding star on the horizon–forever pursued but never reached.
  • Purpose Blockers:
    • Confusing purpose with corporate social responsibility or with high-level generic brand slogans.
    • Purpose stays on the poster – Behaviours, especially of the leaders do not align
    • They don’t know how to measure the impact of being purpose-led, and if they can’t measure it they won’t get it done.

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom… and a little flower.

Hans Christian Andersen

  • When your purpose is clear, every future decision becomes much easier.
  • Slow decision-making is the number-one speed-killer in organizations.
  • Questions to define purpose:
    • What does your organization do to help people?
    • What is the difference you’re seeking to make in the lives of customers and consumers?
    • Why is it good to be part of what you do?
    • How do you define this in a memorable and compelling way?
  • Purpose Organisations do the following:
    • Stand up
    • Stand out
    • Stand firm

Structure for speed Fast frameworks

  • Questioning, reviewing and being decisive about what the right structure is for your needs can be one of the most influential acts you take as a leader.
  • Organisation Design Metaphor
    • Speed is contextual and choosing the right vehicle depends on the length of your journey, your ultimate destination and what kind of bumps and accidents you are prepared to tolerate getting to there.
  • One of the most effective things we’ve done is to de-layer this organization. There are now five layers from top to bottom. When I arrived there were ten. It makes for simpler, quicker decision-making.
  • Rule of Thumb for Transformation:
    • For every layer in the company, you will need a year to change the culture.

Editing is expediting

  • Focusing on less is a radical way to make you better and to make you faster. Become an effective editor.
  • Example in action:
    • The ceramics teacher announced that he was dividing his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the ‘quantity’ group: 50 pounds of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on ‘quality’, however, needed to produce only one pot–albeit a perfect one–to get an A. Well, come grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the ‘quantity’ group was busily churning out piles of work–and learning from their mistakes–the ‘quality’ group had sat theorizing about perfection and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
  • Constraints shape and focus problems, and provide clear challenges to overcome as well as inspiration.
  • Silent Meetings:
    • The meetings start with proposals being shared and everyone reading them then and there. They have 15–30 minutes’ silence to do so. Those proposals can be no more than six pages long, a constraint that speeds up communication. This ‘Study Hall’ start to meetings is an initiative from Jeff Bezos, who explains that it is more effective than PowerPoint: ‘If you have a traditional PowerPoint presentation, executives interrupt. If you read the whole six-page memo, on page 2 you have a question but on page 4 that question is answered.’
  • Avoid at all costs list:
    • Step 1: Write down your top 25 career goals on a single piece of paper.
    • Step 2: Circle only your top five options.
    • Step 3: Put the top five on one list and the remaining 20 on a second list.
    • Step 4: Focus on the other 20 items – Put things in place to stop doing them!

Know your audience, know your team, know yourself

  • Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.
  • Ten leader attributes (Gallup)
    1. Confidence
    2. Delegator
    3. Determination
    4. Disruptor
    5. Independent
    6. Knowledge
    7. Profitability
    8. Relationship
    9. Risk
    10. Selling
  • The more senior you are, the more important networking is in finding new roles as you move careers

Improve yourself by the writing of others, to gain easily what they have laboured hard for


Truth Candour, conflict and the helpfulness of honesty

  • Radical Candor is important when you are thinking about the need for speed. It is radically time-saving.
  • Politics = people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think.
  • Bring these out into the open:
    • Elephants = big things in the room that nobody is talking about
    • Dead fish = happened a few years ago that people can’t get over
    • Vomit = something that sometimes people just need to get off their mind
  • Creative abrasion is the ability to have difficult conversations. It’s like taking sandpaper and polishing something. You have a number of diverse points of view in the same room, and everybody is riffing off each other’s ideas.
  • Disagree and Commit = ‘Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it?
  • ‘Leaders wanting to be liked’ as one of the most dangerous traps in business.  ‘It’s much more important to be trusted and respected. If people like you as well, that’s a bonus, not an objective.’

The power of the pause

  • Typically, it takes new CEOs six months to start to affect business, so resist any urge to promise results quickly.
  • Good questions to ask when joining a new company:
    • ‘What should not change or be messed with?’
    • ‘What should be changed?’
    • ‘Give me examples of bottlenecks’
    • Do you have a talent or skill you don’t get to use now in your position?’
  • Take time; don’t make time

Hire smart, fire fast

First-rate people hire first-rate people; second-rate people hire third-rate people.

Leo Rosten, American writer and humorist

  • One of the most important things you can do to lead at speed is: find the right people (and keep them).
  • ‘careful of blaming the lettuce for not growing when the soil is poor’ Thich Nhât Hanh
  • Do not tolerate brilliant jerks–the cost to teamwork is too high,’ says Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.
  • Rosten’s Law’: ‘First-rate people hire first-rate people; second-rate people hire third-rate people.’
  • I’d rather have a hole than an arsehole.’
  • If you join Zappos and don’t like it within a week, you can take a $ 4,000 bonus and leave.
  • Hire PANDAS (Uruly)
    • Positive and passionate.
    • Agile
      • Communication
      • Simplicity
      • Feedback
      • Courage
      • Respect.
    • No ego and nurturing.
    • Determined to deliver.
    • Action-oriented A + players
    • Social DNA and sense of humour.
  • ‘Hire fast walkers.’

Decide, delegate and deliver

  • Making decisions and executing decisions. Your success depends on your ability to develop speed as a habit in both.’
  • In any organization, clarity over who will make decisions and when they will be made is key. Time is wasted if this isn’t set up clearly.
  • Adopt an action bias. You will never have perfect information.

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do

Leonardo da Vinci

  • An imperfect decision on Monday is better than the 100 per cent perfect decision on Friday.
  • The Power of Doubt Approach
    • Scope: How wide is the implication of what we see? Is this trend/ this change purely enterprise-specific, industry-specific or more broadly macro-economic
    • Speed: This is about being less concerned with micro-managing pace and more about what uncertainties will dramatically affect us in a systematic and structural way.
    • Significance: Is it noise and chatter or a genuine shift in the way the world works?
  • Guiding Questions for Decisions:
    1. How does the decision I’m making fit with the priorities we’ve agreed?
    2. What impact will it have on people inside and outside the organization?
  • Bain RAPID ® model to identify who inputs and who decides.RAPID®: Bain's tool to clarify decision accountability - Bain ...
  • Steps to make a decision
    • Proposal
    • Argue
    • Agreement
    • Who will own
    • Timing
    • Vote – Decision agreement check
  • It took 600 Apple engineers less than two years to develop, debug and deploy iOS 10. Contrast that with 10,000 engineers at Microsoft that took more than five years to develop, debut and ultimately retract Vista. The difference was in the way these companies chose to construct their teams.

60 Second Summary: Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps – How to Thrive in Complexity – Jennifer Garvey Berger

3 Big Ideas

  1. Our default thinking patterns often lead us incorrectly in complexity
  2. There are 5 mind traps
    1. simple stories.
    2. rightness.
    3. agreement.
    4. control.
    5. ego.
  3. Mindfulness is the most powerful way to help you lead yourself and others effectively in complex environments


Too much agreement, while pleasant, makes us follow a narrow path rather than expanding our solution space. It makes it harder to create and pursue the wide span of options that will leave us prepared for whatever the uncertain future demands. With complexity, we need diversity of experience, approach, and ideas, and we need to learn how to harness conflict rather than push it away.


Experiment at the edges rather than at the very center of the issue. In complex systems the center is the most resistant to change, so it’s best to stay away from it.

1 Sentence Summary

In complex environments, leaders need to find new ways to lead themselves and others. Understanding new ways to notice and escape these mindtraps is a leadership super power.

If you have more time… Image result for clock icon

The interactions of unpredictable things creates complexity

Key challenges:

  • We evolved for a different time. A simpler, more predictable time.
  • We use default thinking patterns that were not designed for today’s complexity.
  • We rely on our intuition which is often wrong. The best course of action is often counter-intuitive.
  • We are built to simplify and segment
  • We tend to try harder rather than try something else.
  • We feel confident when something seems obvious and logical. However this is a danger sign in complex environments.
  • We try to control what will happen next; but in complexity there are too many interrelated parts. Control is futile.

Message for leaders:

  • Focus on creating the right conditions in the environment for people to succeed.
  • Increase and deepen your connections within system. This will help you lead in complexity. The number of connections matters.
  • In complex, fast-changing situations, we will not ever be able to agree on the one best thing, because that simply doesn’t exist.

Trapped by Simple Stories

Our desire for a simple story blinds you to a real one. Narrative Fallacy

Simple stories dramatically limit the range of thinking and feeling about what’s possible.

Complexity requires you to look at a broad range of options, not just a narrow perspective based upon the story you have created.

Looking back at something, we can tell a coherent story about it that makes it sound inevitable and neat.

To escape we need to find our way out of our simple stories and back into our complex real ones.

Humans are wired for stories; the bad news is that our automatic stories are probably too simple for a complex world.

Simple Story Traps:

  1. looking for a beginning, middle, and end;
  2. filling in the missing pieces;
  3. assigning roles to the characters.

We fix characters in our stories: heroes and villains. It is hard to see beyond the characters we assign people. Once assigned villains may never become heroes in our eyes. Halo Effect.

Confirmation Bias – To create our simple stories, we pick and choose the data we remember, and we add in little bits of data if it makes for a better case.

“It is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern.” – Consistency Bias

Daniel Kahneman:

Notice and become aware of your simple stores.

“Life, so full of contradictions and surprises, rarely ever makes complete sense. The pieces of the puzzle seldom fit together perfectly.

When they do—beware!!!!”

Trapped by Rightness

Trapped by rightness. Just because it feels right doesn’t mean it is right.

We each look at the world and believe we see it as it is. – Naïve realism

Leaders often fail as they:

  • ignore data that might show them they are wrong;
  • don’t listen well to those around them;
  • get trapped in a world they have created rather than the one that exists.

Many Leaders are not self-aware of their own thinking traps. They are blind to their biases.

“we have excessive confidence in what we believe we know, and we have an inability to acknowledge our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world.”

Daniel Kahneman:

Experience locks us even more tightly into the trap of rightness. With experience comes an expectation on ourselves and from others that we will be right. Many experts are expected to be right.

We discard any data that might suggest we’re wrong. Confirmation Bias

We feel right even if we are wrong.

Scenario from book:

Imagine you’re in a meeting with the executive team and you’re presenting the final recommendations of a piece of work your team has been engaged in for the last month. You’ve been over every last piece of the data and you know exactly what should be done, and now you’re just informing the team and getting their approval. A new colleague, who has joined the team since the last time you’ve presented on this topic, begins to ask questions no one has raised before.

What is your emotional reaction?

  1. Defensive but confident. You and your team are the experts. You know how to lob answers back to all these tricky questions. He’s probably just trying to make an impression on the boss.
  2. Annoyed and offended. Who does this guy think he is to march in here and waste everyone’s time with immaterial questions? He’s so arrogant to think that he could have things to add with no knowledge about this at all.
  3. Open and curious. How great that you could have thought about it so much and still have someone who had questions you hadn’t thought about before! What a helpful addition this guy will be to the senior team with such an unusual perspective and a curious mind!

We mostly listen to win. Listening that makes you right and the other person wrong.

Listen to Learn – Holding the possibility that we might be wrong. Listening with curiosity.

Trapped by Agreement

Longing for alignment robs you of good ideas.

Connection is so important that our brains experience social pain and physical pain as nearly the same thing.

Too much agreement, while pleasant, makes us follow a narrow path rather than expanding our solution space. It makes it harder to create and pursue the wide span of options that will leave us prepared for whatever the uncertain future demands. With complexity, we need diversity of experience, approach, and ideas, and we need to learn how to harness conflict rather than push it away.

Humans are drawn to agreement as a sense of connection. We are drawn into shallow agreements to maintain connection. We fear rejection from our social group.

Leaders can mistakenly think agreeability is a virtue and that disagreement should be fixed with compromise.

Many leaders try to stamp out disagreements amongst teams. This create shallow agreements. Leaders in complexity need to embrace disagreement and be comfortable with it.

Leaders in complexity should focus on the conditions that make disagreement normal and safe for all involved. This starts with the leader role modelling and welcoming people to disagree with them. Reduce fear and increase phycological safety.

High-performing organizations use “family” the most common descriptor of their culture.

We are taught as small people that when we disagree, we should compromise. This means we are built for compromise.

In complexity, having more options is always better, because you can’t possibly know beforehand which options will actually pay off. So the urge to compromise in complexity takes you from two viable options to one potentially mediocre one.”

The keys to unlocking this mindtrap are to remake what agreement means, what conflict means.

Complex situations have so many pieces and perspectives that each one of us might see a slightly different set of possibilities. Leaders should create the conditions for these dissenting, diverse thoughts to be heard.

Trapped by Control

Trying to take charge strips you of influence.

Leadership is often assumed to be “the person in control” Our books, tv shows and films often portray strong leadership as the person on control of the situation .

Trying to control everything is futile.

We have a natural tendency to locally optimise rather than look at the more uncertain, unclear bigger picture.

We measure the easy things, rather than what matters.

We have a hero basis. We assume the senior leaders have the power to make change happen. However sometimes the more senior a person’s leadership position is, the less likely she is to feel in control.

There are simply too many intersecting factors to believe that the force of a single person, no matter how effective, can control it all.

In a complex world a broad direction (like “more self-sustaining”) is way better than a narrow target (“ take over dry cleaners”) – Leadership Intent.

Leaders should open horizons to direction rather than destination, and to influence rather than control.

Experiment at the edges rather than at the very center of the issue. In complex systems the center is the most resistant to change, so it’s best to stay away from it.

“Alter patterns, not outcomes.”

Apply systems thinking to look at the whole situation and notice patterns. Change patterns through experimentation.

Trapped by Ego

Shackled to who you are now, you can’t reach for who you’ll be next.

People have a natural tendency of “preserving their reputations, putting their best selves forward, and hiding their inadequacies from others and themselves.”

We believe we have changed much in the past but won’t change in the future

Everyone has a second job: most people are spending time and energy covering up their weaknesses, managing other people’s impressions of them, showing themselves to their best advantage, playing politics, hiding their inadequacies, hiding their uncertainties, hiding their limitations.

Ego protection is the single biggest loss of resources that organizations suffer every day.

Leaders in complexity spend less time creating and defending a particular version of themselves and more time letting life transform them.

Coaching question to raise awareness if your ego

  • What is at stake for me here?
  • What is the hardest part about this?
  • What is the best part about this?
  • How do I know this is true?

Find your growth edge

Escaping the Mindtraps

Becoming more mindful is the most powerful way to be more self-aware of how our default thinking is helping or trapping us

Mindfulness increases connection to:

  • Our purpose
  • Our bodies and emotions
  • Comparisons for ourselves and others

Connecting with our purpose

“Greater purpose in life consistently predicted lower mortality risk across the lifespan, showing the same benefit for younger, middle-aged, and older participants across the follow-up period.”

The journey is more important than the destination

“Discovering your purpose is not like finding the perfect pair of shoes”

Frederick Buechner says that your purpose, your calling, is “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It is a necessarily interconnected dance between what calls each of us and what the world calls for.

Finding your purpose and living toward it is as much a process of discovery as it is of creation. Create the conditions for that awareness to emerge for you, and then see if it can shape your future.

Connecting to our bodies

Our bodies keep us grounded in what is rather than allowing our minds to trap us with what might or should be.

Treat your body as a source of knowledge and support rather than the vehicle that carries you from meeting to meeting and sometimes breaks down annoyingly.

Connecting to our emotions

People who can name their emotions in nuanced ways (“ I’m anxious about this job interview but also excited and energized!”) have surprisingly better outcomes in a wide variety of places than those who lump everything together (“ I’m super nervous about this job interview!”).

They are more able to recover from setbacks, can better manage their anxiety, and handle the unexpected difficulties of life.

Emotions have shades. They are not binary. The more we can notice the emotional shades the more aware we become.

60 Second Summary: How to Lead in Product Management – Roman Pichler

3 Big Ideas

  1. How Product Leaders can overcome these six common challenges:
    1. Leading a group without managing them
    2. Leading large and heterogenous groups
    3. Limited influence on group member selection
    4. Both contributor and leader
    5. Working both strategically and tactically
    6. Working with agile practices
  2. Product Leaders need to be aware of their leadership style and nuances of product leadership compared to other forms of leadership
  3. Conflict, Conversations and Decision Making are explored as key leadership skills for leaders in Product Management


“People will only follow you for two reasons—because they trust and respect you or because they fear you.”

“Mindfulness helps you make better decisions for the following two reasons: First, it helps you recognise cognitive biases. These include confirmation bias, the tendency to prefer data that confirm preconceived views; negativity bias, focusing on negative experiences; and overconfidence bias, overestimating the reliability of one’s own judgements, control, and chances of success. Recognising these biases reduces the risk of making wrong product decisions—for instance, disregarding valid data because it does not match your view. Second, mindfulness helps you to be more aware of your feelings—for example, how excited, sceptical, or displeased you are. This makes it less likely that your emotions drive a product decision—for example, that being angry with someone prevents you from paying attention to the person’s valid concerns.”

1 Action:

Explore using Non-Violent Communication when resolving conflict

Beyond 60 seconds….

Notes, Quotes, References and Related material

Product Leadership Foundations

Lead at three levels:

  1. vision
  2. strategy
  3. tactics

Leadership Styles (A product leader may flex across these styles)Image result for leadership styles affiliative autocratic

Image result for leadership styles affiliative autocraticImage result for bill campbell create environment


Empower the development team, help the members acquire the relevant knowledge, and allow people to take full ownership of the solution or, if that’s not possible, the product details.

“Manage your product, not the team.”

Managing Stakeholders – Use the Power Grid to see where your stakeholders fall

Instead of interacting with the players on a one-on-one basis, aim to build a stakeholder community whose members work together for an extended period of time and who learn to trust, respect, and support each other.



Buddhist teaching – Right Speech – five guidelines

  1. Speak with the right intention
  2. say only what you believe is true
  3. only speak if it’s beneficial for the people listening
  4. don’t use harsh or harmful words
  5. make sure you speak at the right time and place


Image result for right speech buddhism guidelines

Handling Conflict

Conflict Pitfalls

  1. win-lose—believing that there must be a winner and a loser;
  2. truth assumption—assuming that the other person is wrong;
  3. problem-solving mode—seeing the disagreement as a primarily intellectual issue;
  4. blame game—assigning fault to the other person;
  5. artificial harmony—ignoring conflict.

“To skilfully deal with conflict, we must change our attitude: We should no longer see conflict as something that produces winners and losers but as an opportunity to connect, learn, and generate mutual gains.”

Artificial Harmony causes:

  1. Fear of confrontation
  2. Not a priority to resolve conflict
  3. Work Culture
  4. Lack of Trust

Use Non-Violent CommunicationImage result for nonviolent communication

“Conflict resolution is not about winning, retaliating, or putting the other person in her or his place. It’s about developing a shared perspective on what happened, agreeing on the changes required, and re-establishing trust. This requires a willingness to forgive the other person and yourself (Amro 2018).”

Conflict resolution requires all parties to:

  1. co-operate—move beyond blame
  2. take responsibility for their behaviour and feelings
  3. embrace a contribution mindset (Open mindness)

“You can encourage change in another person, but you cannot make someone else change.”

Decision Making

“Determining who makes decisions in an organization is one of the best ways to understand who has the power—who is in control.”

John A. Buck and Sharon Villines

Common causes of poor decision making by Product Leaders:

  • Lack of empowerment
  • Lack of knowledge 

Use a facilitator to support collaborative decision making as groups may:

  1. Be used to senior leader making all decisions (HIPPO)
  2. Low trust – Groups may not be familiar with debate and disagreement – Facilitator can help bring out divergent perspectives safely

Product Leader should not act as the facilitator

Principles to support participatory decision making:

Full participation: Everyone is willing to contribute, and everybody is heard. Nobody seeks to dominate or hijack the decision-making process. Everybody feels safe to speak her or his mind.
Mutual respect and understanding: People make an effort to attentively listen to each other and appreciate the other person’s perspective, goals, and needs. The individuals intend to talk to one another kindly and to treat each other respectfully. 
Open-mindedness: The group members strive to keep an open mind, understanding that everybody holds a piece of the truth and that everyone’s perspective matters. “Ideas should not be favoured based on who creates them,” as Brown (2009, 73) puts it.

Ground Rules for Facilitators (Hartnett 2010)

  1. Always speak from a place of respect for others and assume good intentions on the part of the group members.
  2. Respect differences of opinion and value the diversity of the group members.
  3. Listen with an open mind; be receptive and refrain from making premature judgements.
  4. Speak honestly and openly.
  5. Always stick to observable facts.
  6. Refrain from judging and labelling people; separate individual and opinion.
  7. Ask questions when you sense misunderstanding or disagreement.
  8. Speak up if you have not been participating.
  9. Make room for others if you have spoken often.
  10. Do not interrupt others, but allow a brief moment of silence to let the previous speaker’s words sink in before the next person speaks.
  11. Stay present; do not engage in side conversations or answer messages on your electronic devices.

Participatory Decision Rules:

Image result for participatory decision making rules

Avoid Committees – They drive weak compromises

Image result for camel designed by committee

Tips for successful negotiation (Fisher and William 2012):

  1. People: Separate the people from the problem.
  2. Interests: Instead of arguing over positions, look for shared interests and needs.
  3. Options: Invent multiple options, looking for mutual gains, before deciding what to do. Avoid the mistake of prematurely excluding options and opting for one solution.
  4. Criteria: Use objective criteria or a fair standard to determine the outcome.

Stages of Influence (Voss 2016):

  1. Active listening: Make an effort to empathically listen to the other person while suspending judgement.
  2. Empathy: Understand the individual’s perspective, needs, and interest, thereby accepting that emotions play a major role in how we behave as human beings.
  3. Rapport: Build rapport and establish trust.
  4. Influence: Help the other person let go of her or his position, understand your needs, and look for a solution that addresses the individual’s needs at least partially.
  5. Behavioural change: Agree on an acceptable solution that can be implemented (if possible).

Techniques for negotiation: (Voss 2016):

Image result for voss negotiation techniques mirror


Mindfulness helps you make better decisions for the following two reasons: First, it helps you recognise cognitive biases. These include confirmation bias, the tendency to prefer data that confirm preconceived views; negativity bias, focusing on negative experiences; and overconfidence bias, overestimating the reliability of one’s own judgements, control, and chances of success. Recognising these biases reduces the risk of making wrong product decisions—for instance, disregarding valid data because it does not match your view. Second, mindfulness helps you to be more aware of your feelings—for example, how excited, sceptical, or displeased you are. This makes it less likely that your emotions drive a product decision—for example, that being angry with someone prevents you from paying attention to the person’s valid concerns.

Hold Personal Retrospectives

  1. What did I get done this week?
  2. Which challenges and difficulties did I encounter?
  3. What did I learn? How am I feeling right now?
  4. How did my moods and energy levels develop during the week?
  5. What changes do I want to make next week?

There is more to life than work.

60 Second Summary: Influence – Robert Cialdini

3 Big Ideas:

  1. 6 weapons of influence:Reciprocity, Commitment, Social proof, Authority, Liking, Scarcity.
  2. We respond automatically to the six types of influence. Understanding this allows us to manage how marketeers and other people t try to influence us without realising
  3. Learning the principles of influence allow you to recognise when they are being used on you so that you can avoid doing something you’d later regret


A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.

Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer

1 Follow Up:

The six principles can help encourage change in organisations and help influence leaders to change behaviour.

You may also like my summary of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World – David Epstein

If you have more time…..

Big Ideas Expanded


We should try to repay in kind, what another person has provided us.

Common Examples:

  1. Free Gifts 
  2. A leader offering attention and mentorship to followers in exchange for loyalty
  3. Refer a Friend Deals (Refer and receive one month free)

Influencing Change:

  1. Put together a personal learning list for a leader you want to influence
  2. Buy lunch for someone who you have a difficult working relationship with – Luncheon Technique
  3. Buy a book for a leader you want to influence. On a topic you think might help with a challenge they are facing – Make it personal by including a note

Make these acts feel personal. This will maximise its power.

Commitment and Consistency

When stating a belief we are wired to try and act consistently with that belief. 

Common examples:

  1. Front of Door Technique – Ask a person to agree to a large request by having them agree to a modest request first
  2. Ask people to recommend your product, they will likely to continue using it as they have publicly endorsed it

Influencing Change:

  1. Ask leaders to state publicly their support for a cause – e.g. Diversity – They are more likely to act consistently with that publicly stated belief
  2. Ask leaders to publicly champion a new way of working, such as agile

Social Proof

We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.

Common Examples:

  1. Canned laughter (laughing track) causes viewers to laugh longer and more often. It is more effective in poor jokes.
  2. Bartenders seed their tip jars with a few dollars to give the impression that tipping is the norm.
  3. Bystander Effect – individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present; the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that one of them will help.

Influencing Change:

  1. Connect people with role models – make new behaviours seem like the norm
  2. Share success stories widely
  3. Organise panel events where teams can share their stories


We tend to obey figures of authority (people with titles or expertise)

Common Examples:

  1. Uniform and other clothing can create appearance of authority – Thai Gem Scam is great example of this principle and others!!
  2. Job Titles in corporations – e.g. Vice President
  3. Referencing experts in your work

Influencing Change:

  1. Asking an external well know speaker(possibly author) to present to your organisation
  2. Referencing the source of an idea when sharing it, perhaps from a book
  3. Asking senior management to recommend a training course to their teams


We are more likely to agree to someones request if we know and like them

Common Examples:

  1. Give compliments
  2. Express shared interests
  3. Joe Gidard – “I have never sold a car in my life. I sold Joe Girard.” – Understand that you are not selling a product, you are selling yourself

Influencing Change:

  1. Dressing in a way that is similar to those you are influencing
  2. Finding common interests
  3. Using language that is familiar

Scarcity (FOMO)

We perceive something to more valuable when its less available

FOMO(Fear of Missing Out) – the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out — that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you

Common Examples:

  1. Restaurant with a queue outside – Creates impression of scarcity
  2. Black Friday – “One time deals that cannot be missed!”
  3. Booking.com – 42 people are looking at this hotel now

Influencing Change:

  1. Limit the number of people and teams you work with. Create impression that services are lower in supply and high in demand
  2. Express that spaces on a training course are limited (first come first served)

Thai Gem Scam

Perfect example of many principles in action. Story taken from here: https://www.into-asia.com/bangkok/gemscam


Bangkok’s infamous gem scam has ruined the holidays of many, many visitors to Thailand and it is an important thing to be aware of beforehand if you want to avoid becoming yet another victim. 

The con-artists always targets the new, first time arrivals (THE BACK DROP IS UNCERTAINTY WHICH MAXIMISES INFLUENCE POTENTIAL) to Thailand and consequently you find them hanging around the main tourist attractions, particularly Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun and the National Museum. New arrivals are often somewhat surprised at the friendliness of people (LIKING) in the Land of Smiles, and unfortunately can become a bit too trusting of strangers which leaves them vulnerable to this scam. What we’ve described below is a typical example, but there are many variations.

It usually starts with a male stranger approaching you, often in uniform (AUTHORITY), on the way to or nearby any of main tourist attractions, and telling you that you can’t go in at the moment. They can come up with dozens of reasons why: “Oh didn’t you know it’s a Buddhist holiday today”, “closed for cleaning”, “closed for repairs”, “only Thai people can enter in the morning”, “closed because the monks are chanting now”, “it’s only open on Wednesdays” etc. (CONSISTENCY – YOU WANT TO STICK TO HOLIDAY PLAN) By far the best approach is just to ignore anyone trying to talk to you on the way in, which may seem rude but it can be very difficult to get away if you start any conversation with them. In the vast majority of cases, there is absolutely no truth in what they are saying, it’s just a ruse to get you started in conversation with them. If the place really is closed, find out for yourself from the entrance and don’t take anyone’s word for it. No one is going to be offended if you try and enter, even if it really is closed for a holiday.

Not wanting to offend or appear ignorant (CONSISTENCY), you may let them talk you out of going to Wat Pho or wherever it is you really intended to go. But not to worry, your new friend knows somewhere equally impressive that is still open – “the famous 100m high Standing Buddha temple”. It’s not mentioned in your guidebook for some reason, but he will kindly mark the location of it on your map for you. He may also casually talk about a special promotion on gems or jewelry that is on today, but will put no pressure on you to buy any. (SCARCITY)

After another 5 or 10 minutes of conversation, he will usually offer to arrange a tuk-tuk ride for you to the new temple at a bargain price (10B/20B, say, or even for free) (SCARCITY) explaining that tuk-tuks overcharge tourists and so he can get that the price that cheap for you because he is Thai (LIKING). Alternatively, they claim that by taking you there and then to a special export shop they get free petrol/gasoline coupons and so that is why it is cheap.

Either way it’s worth remembering that tuk-tuks are no cheaper than taxis in Bangkok, and even the shortest of rides starts at around 50B. If you’re offered a ridiculous price like 100B (or less) for a whole afternoon’s worth of sightseeing, it’s only because they know they can make much more out of scamming you.

At the new temple (the so-called ‘Standing Buddha temple’, ‘Lucky Buddha temple’ etc – really just an average temple in an out-of-the-way location), the tuk-tuk driver waits outside while you go in. Inside you’ll be fortunate enough to meet a smartly dressed (AUTHORITY) Thai man who speaks excellent English (LIKING), and claims to be a university professor / business man / student / tourist official etc. You’ll chat for a while (they often have excellent knowledge about your home country), and eventually the conversation gets round to jewelry and gems, confirming the special deal (SCARCITY) on at the moment that the man on the street mentioned earlier. Essentially, this special deal involves bulk buying gems at a low price in Thailand in order to resell them for a vast profit in your home country. This is dressed up in any number of ways – you don’t buy from a shop but from a special “international export center”, today is a special export day, it’s an opportunity previously only open to Thai students to finance their studies abroad but now tourists can do it as well (SCARCITY) , there’s a special tax break today, it’s part of a tourism promotion, it’s a wholesale factory price, backed by the government, you get a certificate of authenticity and a money back guarantee etc

On to the gem shop, and you are well looked after with personal service from the manager, free drinks etc. (RECIPROCATION) There then follows a high-pressure sales pitch, after which far too many people are persuaded to spend in the region of 100 000B (US$2500), 200 000B (US$5000) or more on gems which they hope to resell at a profit in their home country. The gem shops often pay lowlife foreigners to linger in their shop posing as a customer and casually mention to you that for years they have bought Thai gems from this shop, sold them back in France / USA / Singapore / etc, and have made loads of money doing it (SOCIAL PROOF). A bit too conveniently, they’ll have receipts and documentation on them to back-up their story.

For many people, the knowledge that a fellow foreigner has done it successfully is what finally persuades them to buy (SOCIAL PROOF). To ensure you get the gems out of Thailand safely, with no problems from customs, the shop will offer to mail the gems to your country for you. When you actually come to buy the gems, you may find the shop doesn’t have the facilities to accept credit cards itself (a warning sign in itself – Visa and Mastercard have cut them off for high levels of fraudlent transactions). You may have to go and buy gold from a nearby shop with your card and then pay them in the gold you just purchased.

What most people find out soon enough when they try and sell them is that the expensively purchased “gems” are really only worth a tiny fraction of what you paid for them. You’re actually more in luck if you’ve been sold worthless bits of cut-glass masquerading as gems, as this is actually illegal and gives you a legal leg to stand on. Either way, virtually all the money that was spent on the gems is now lost. The receipt, money back guarantee and certificate of authenticity are barely worth the paper they’re printed on.

60 Second Summary: The Unicorn Project – Gene Kim

3 Big Ideas:

  1. Five Ideals: Locality and Simplicity; Focus, Flow and Joy; Improvement of Daily Work; Psychological Safety; and Customer Focus.
  2. Create a “Rebel Alliance” – A group of passionate change agents with a clear purpose. This emphasises John Kotter Change Management approach – Build a guiding Coalition
  3. Don’t put your best developers in feature development. Put them on developer productivity such as environments, build tools, test automation. This is what great tech companies do.


Better Value, Sooner, Safer, Happier


Microsoft, still has a culture that if a developer ever has a choice between working on a feature or developer productivity, they should always choose developer productivity.

1 Follow Up:

Focus on building a stronger “Rebel Alliance” to create organisational change

The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Digital Disruption, Redshirts, and Overthrowing the Ancient Powerful Order

If you have more time…..

Big Ideas Expanded

Dependencies and Approvals significantly impact flow

Don’t outcast project management group. Take them on the journey with you. The project manager in this story was one of the biggest advocates

In the book there is a strong connection to the State of DevOps survey Most of the drivers described in the survey are highlighted in the book

Employees are often unaware of why existing policies, rules and procedures yet they continue to be blindly followed. This is often the case when safety is low and people are fearful of change.

Factors that reinforce status quo:

  1. Fear
  2. Lack of clarity around goals
  3. High WIP/Busyness
  4. Leaders are difficult to get hold of
  5. Focus on delivery not improvement
  6. Lack of autonomy
  7. Low transparency
  8. Senior Management hold all the crucial information – It is not local to the teams

Most organisations and implicitly designed to maintain the status quo and existing power balances

Focus on finding where the constraint is (TOC) As you improve the system the constraint will move from DEV > QA> OPS > Product > Business – The ideal scenario for most tech companies is where tech no longer becomes the bottleneck. Find the bottlenecks.

A good ratio of UX developers is 1:6 regular developers. UX is a specialist skill. Most companies have 1:70 ratio

Change Management ethos in the book:

  1. Build coalition (Rebel Alliance)
  2. Find Quick Wins
  3. Celebrate Success
  4. Deliver value/Solve real problems
  5. Partnership across boundaries
  6. Brave Leadership – Leaders are willing to lose their jobs for the right thing
  7. Social aspect of teams are amplified – Get to know you colleagues. A lot of the best ideas happened around informal gatherings in bars and hangouts
  8. Tendency to hire people – If this does not resolve the bottleneck it often makes things worse

Prime Directive (Norm Kerth)

“Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.”

Functional Programming principles emphasised throughout:

  1. Immutability
  2. Disciplined state
  3. Pure functions and no side effects/disciplined states
  4. First class functions and high order functions
  5. Type systems
  6. Referential transparency

Organisations should expect failure and put in adaptive processes to respond quickly to those failures and LEARN!

Only 1/3 of strategic ideas have positive results

< 5% of A/B Tests give a positive result

Increase the rate of learning to increase rate of success

Geoffrey Moore Three Horizons

A lot of companies only focus on Horizon 1. In the book the breakthrough came from increasing focus on horizon 3.

Horizon 3 work requires rapid learning, experimentation. Perfect for adaptive ways of working

Introduce an innovation process to gather ideas from your company.

Horizon 1 and horizon 3 require different kinds of leaders!! Could expand more

Horizon one is the core business, stable, predictable, and bureaucratic. Horizon two are smaller businesses that generate new customers, new capabilities and new markets. Horizons three businesses are the highly innovative organisations that explore brand new, disruptive and risky ideas.

Geoffrey Moore Four Zones

Your internal development tools should be seen as products and managed like products

Developers are the customer

Use discovery techniques to understand what the customer(developers) want

Focus on GROWTH not cost cutting. Growth is more sustainable and promotes better, long term thinking.

Don’t manage dependencies, eliminate them!!

Geoffrey Moore – Core v Context


Reduce focus on context – Increase focus on Core businessExample:

Outsource “context” otherwise it will cause distraction and lack of focus. Many companies incorrectly outsource their core business, often leading to very bad results – for example, outsource IT even though IT now is a core part of almost every business

Engage your employees within the change journey – Ask: What is the biggest blocker to Adaptability? Fund solutions to these problems

CAUTION: When your shake the system it will push back, sometimes with big consequences – In the book a key change agent looses their jobs as senior management to not welcome the disruption to the status quo.

Three Types of culture explore in the book:

The changes discussed in the book allow you to move from a power orientated culture to a performance related one

Case Study to highlight importance of optimisation goal: