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I quite often get the question if one can close a fairly short workshop that max. uses AT1 – AT3 with extracting Simple Guiding Principles. The answer is a NO, because what the group will build in response to the question “build a Simple Guiding Principle (SGP)”, will typically not be  true SGPs. We know from many experiences that you can’t just think them (SGPs) up. They have to surface through an extended process of building the group’s shared identity and landscape followed by playing a number of emergence and decisions (AT6). If you try to extract SGPs without a process of playing emergence are typically a CORE VALUE instead, such as;
– be dependable
– be reliable
– treasure loyalty
– stay open-minded
– be transparent
– protect honesty
– give love

Value statements will not do what SGPs are supposed to do for the group. SGPs should be express descriptions of how the group should behave in order to achieve a common purpose. They can also be described as the “basic laws” against which you measure your decisions. SGPs can also be seen as the LINK between your core values and your daily decision-making;
– hire attitude over aptitude
– create missions from above, methods from below
– foster feedback
– unite the inside and the outside
– reward teamwork
– do your homework
– share across boundaries
– think system

SGPs are not rules either in the sense of “this action is allowed but this action is forbidden”.

 A Rule? A Value? A Simple Guiding Principle?
1. Margins to the left
2. Take it one day at a time
3. It it’s too easy, it’s wrong
4. Look before you leap
5. Don’t hire spouses to work together
6. Maintain a sense of humor
7. Breathe at 22 breath per minute
8. Watch your back
9. Everyone’s job is equally important
10. Only break the rules when no one’s watching

Nature provides a good example with a flock of migrating birds.
– stay close to the average distance between you and the birds around you
– head in the average direction of the birds just around you
– fly at the average speed of the rest of the birds around you