Don Miguel Ruis is the author of The Four
Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. This book has sold more than
8 million copies in the US and has been translated into 46 languages worldwide.
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four
Agreements offers a code of conduct to help you transform your life and bring
happiness and love. These agreements are the ones we make with ourselves, with
others, with God and with life itself.
1 Be impeccable with your word The most important and most difficult agreement to honor – Choose your words carefully and be responsible for what you say.
2 Don’t take anything personally This agreement helps to limit the impact of hurtful treatment by others in life.
3 Don’t make assumptions Instead of assuming what you belief, ask questions to avoid suffering.
4 Always do your best Bring the first three agreements together to live to your full potential.
Geoff McDonald, author of Done and curator
The Seven Rules – They
are rules because they are principles, guidelines, actions, procedures and
hopefully useful! They are the seven key ideas that allow us to move from the
usual way of doing project planning to the more holistic view of project
1 Stop planning!
The old saying
suggests that ‘if we fail to plan, we plan to fail’. But planning is not enough
– particularly when it only describes what are we are going to do. We need to stop planning and start
designing to include our motivations, inspirations, and passion for our
2 Don’t fix your problems
We all know what we
want. But most of what we want is to fix something that went wrong in our past.
This is limiting and it’s not satisfying either. Instead, we need to clear the
decks of our past if we want to create a truly compelling future.
3 Inner over outer
When we fail at
things we presume we are the failure. And that we are fatally flawed in some
way. That’s human nature. But the real problem is we fail because we choose the
wrong type of goal. We need to focus on our internal motivations to keep us
going when we face the dip, an obstacle or simply when it all gets too hard.
4 Rules rule!
As the world has
become more complex our plans for the future have also become more complex.
Fighting complexity with more complexity is a recipe for confusion, chaos, and
disaster. Instead, we need to develop simple rules to make it easier to
navigate in complex situations. Think traffic lights!
5 Ship smaller sooner
Traditionally we aim
to deliver one big thing at the end of our projects. The problem with this
approach is the lack of feedback. This leaves us wide open for creating something that nobody wants.
Been there, done that! That’s a short cut to “Why did I waste my time doing
that?” Or worse, “What is wrong with these people, don’t they recognise my
brilliant work?” That’s not going to lead you to a happy place. Instead, we
need to create smaller versions of our final big thing to find out what will
6 Structure shapes success
The usual story is
that we fail because of a lack of willpower, discipline or focus. This only
tells part of the story as there are forces bigger than us at work impacting us
in invisible ways. Therefore, we need to design our environments to promote the
behaviours we want and to stifle those we don’t.
7 You have to change
When we create our
projects our focus is naturally on the end result. However, if that’s all we do
we miss a big opportunity. The real purpose of our project is to create a
change in our situation and to make that change stick. To do that we need to change!
The language we use in our manifesto is the
key to giving it a decisive edge.
There’s something strong and definitive
about saying things are ‘rules’. It implies following them, sticking to them
and using them as boundaries.
Compare this to principles, guidelines,
things… All useful but provide a different flavour to our message.
Further, the rules that follow also need to
have a mix of familiarity and intrigue. I believe some need to be relatively
obvious – for instance, most people will understand ‘rules rule’. It implies
that rules are important.
In contrast, ‘inner over outer’ is less obvious. It begs the question, what specifically is ‘in and out’ referring to? In this case it’s about inner and outer motivation styles.
Stop Planning is another interesting rule because it is provocative – it challenges our usual thinking.
Plus, we want our rules to be sexy and
slightly clever (not too clever). For instance, the alliteration (using the
same sound or letter) of ‘Ship Smaller Sooner’ rolls off the tongue and becomes
a snappy idea. It’s much more engaging than ‘Get things done quicker’.
When you’re writing your manifesto, pay
attention to the words you use – words have meaning and impact. Choose
carefully. Play with a thesaurus to figure out the right ones. And test this
with a live audience face-to-face to reveal their emotional impact.
Gihan Perera, author of The Future of Leadership and multiple other books
The rules of this manifesto form the basis
for a book and training for working with corporate clients.
Part One: Be a Leader they want to follow
Up: Make time to lead
Up: Cut through the clutter
Up: Stand for something
Part Two: Build a Team they want to be a part of
Up: Foster innovation
Up: Build their judgment
Up: Accelerate the experience curve
Part Three: Reach out to a World that wants to help
Up: Find talent everywhere
Up: Join forces
Up: Leverage trust
This is an elegant rule-based manifesto
with a simple structure.
First, there are three parts reflecting
three levels of leadership – leading the self, leading teams and leading in the
wider world. This provides a neat way to provide an overview of your entire
Second, there are three items for each part
which provide actions steps and goals to be achieved for each item and each
Third, there is a consistent palette of
words for each item all used a single keyword combined with ‘up’ as a
consistent phrase. When this works well it is simple and elegant. Be cautious
of forcing words to fit as it may come across as being contrived.
Creator: Jeff Gailus, Journalist and Conversations and author of The Grizzly Blog.
Purpose: Highlight the need for Grizzly Bear conservation in North America.
The Grizzly Manifesto: In Defence of the Great Bear
The following is an extract from the authors blog (source below):
The grizzly bear, once the archetype for all that is wild, is quickly becoming a symbol of nature’s fierce but flagging resilience in the face of humanity’s growing appetite for natural resources — and of the difficulty our wealth-addicted society has in changing its ways.
North America’s grizzlies survived the arrival of spear-wielding humans 13,000 years ago, outlived the short-faced bear, the dire wolf and the sabre-tooth cat—not to mention mastodons, mammoths and giant ground sloths the size of elephants—but a growing wave of urbanization and industrialization continues to push the Great Bear further north and west, just as it has since Europeans arrived in its home 400 years ago.
Despite their relatively successful recovery in Yellowstone National Park, the bears’ decline in Canada continues largely unchecked. The front line in this centuries-old battle for survival has shifted to western Alberta and southern BC, where outdated mythologies, rapacious industry and disingenuous governments continue to push the Great Bear into the mountains and toward a future that may not have room for them at all.
Creator: Rob Walling, author of Start Small, Stay Small.
Purpose: Distill the key points you’ll need as a micropreneur or solo founder to create and launch products that make a difference, provide amazing value to niche markets and change their own little corner of the world.
The Micropreneur Manifesto
It’s Much Harder Than It Looks.
There is Power in Working Alone.
Focus on Your Strengths.
Freelancing is Dangerous.
Stay Away from “Moonshot” Ideas.
Product Last. Market First.
Charge for Your Product.
Passion Isn’t All it’s Cracked Up to Be.
The Pressure of Freedom.
Become a Black Belt Internet Marketer.
Think Human Automation.
The More You Do in Public, the Faster Things Will Move.
Failure is an Option.
Live Like a Pauper, Treat Your Business Like a King.
Creator: Alina Tugend, Author of Better By Mistake
Purpose: Our fear of mistakes has a high cost – we spend energy blaming each other and we avoid daring and innovation.
While I am not advocating that we all run around blundering and goofing up all the time—and certainly none of us like dealing with people who make the same mistake over and over—our fear of mistakes has a very high cost.
We exert enormous energy blaming each other when something goes wrong rather than finding a solution. Defensiveness and accusations take the place of apologies and forgiveness. Mistake-avoidance creates workplaces where making changes and being creative while risking failure is subsumed by an ethos of mistake-prevention—at the cost of daring and innovation.
Teach supervisors about growth mindsets versus fixed mindsets.
Make sure you don’t say one thing and do another.
Mimstakes shouldn’t just be accepted, but rewarded.
Learn to communicate well.
Know how to apologise and how to accept apologies.