All posts in: "Your Simple Rules"

  1. Lighthouse Montessori School, Seattle, WA

    Here at Lighthouse Montessori School, our global community models compassion and peaceful conflict resolution. We cherish the growth and self-creation of our children. This is the world we want to create and the world that we work for every day.

    Our Simple Rules lead to congruence in complex systems, like Schools. These are the rules that guide our decisions.

    • Hear all voices.  This is about listening and really hearing
    • Sit on your hands.  When we are tempted to do something for someone that they can do for themselves, we will stop ourselves, even if it means sitting on our hands!
    • Ask for help, even if you don’t need it.  We believe asking for help creates trust & community whether it’s asking a child to help us wash the dishes, or asking a parent to help us in a bake sale.
    • Aim for growth.  Growth of the child, growth of the school, growth of ourselves…
    • See the child who is and the child who will be.  Montessori believed that the job of guides is to both meet the child where she is but also to see the child not yet there and clear a pathway for her to bloom. We agree!



  2. Steve, Brighton, UK

    I am a consultant in the UK working with top teams to align change programs at organisation, team and individual levels.

    The following are the Simple Rules that a group of colleagues and I in the US and UK have agreed on for the project we are working on. The reference to elephants is about naming the proverbial elephant in the room – the project is all about undiscussable and taboo subjects in organisations, groups and teams, so we intend to ‘walk the talk’ as well as deliver as a project team. That was what drove the creation of these.

    • Name elephants
    • Acknowledge and value our differences
    • Ask questions and check assumptions
    • Do what you say you will & ask for support if you can’t
  3. Leslie, Denton, TX


    I am a literacy teacher and work mostly with high school students and teachers. Along with colleagues we have developed a list of simple rules for “generative learning” — teaching and learning that is sensitive, responsive, adaptive, and robust! It’s a pretty long list, but even if we could just focus on 3-4 of them, we think we could make a big difference in schools.

    Here they are:

    • Teach and learn in every interaction.
    • Pay attention to the whole, the part, and the greater whole.
    • See, understand, and influence patterns.
    • Build on individual, social, and cultural assets.
    • Seek the true and the useful.
    • Be curious, embrace uncertainty, and act with courage.
    • Engage in joyful practice.
  4. Lynne – British Columbia
    Lynne, from British Columbia, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in maternal, infant and child health care.

    My Simple Rules:

    • Practice awareness daily
    • Honour mind, body, and spirit
    • Leave something for tomorrow
    • Focus on what is most important
    • Celebrate progress
    • Write priority list with details/steps for each project
      • Update after each session working on the project or when a new project starts
      • Save to desk top for easy access – celebrate completion of steps toward finish
      • Save to H-drive every Friday
      • When focused on a project, leave email until project work is put away
    • Plan time to end work day at beginning of day
      • Put in calendar after logging on in morning
      • Add reminder in calendar 1 hour before end of day – answer emails
      • Reminder in calendar 30 min before end of day – tidy office/update priority list
      • Record hours at work and hours worked at home daily
      • Ensure work hours plan allows time for exercise, stretch, & wakeful stillness
  5. Denise – St. Paul, MN
    Denise, from St. Paul, MN, is a Manager, Mentor, Leader, Facilitator, Author.

    My personal simple rules are:

    • Speak Truth.
    • Feel Compassion.
    • See Beauty.
    • Know God

    Here’s my story.  The above is who I am becoming more every day.  Based on my former behavior, you would have observed in me the following pattern:

    • Hide from Truth (in my case, in the closet as a lesbian).
    • Feel Guilty.
    • Miss the Beauty Around Me.
    • Seek God.

    Clarifying my mission by establishing for myself the top simple rules has helped me change the pattern of my behavior and grounded me in my most authentic self.

  6. Louie – Edinburg, Scotland
    Louie, from Edinburg, Scotland, is a facilitator, leadership coach, management development consultant, and change agent. 

    This is the set of rules I discerned while attending the recent Forum on Human Security in Caux, Switzerland.  They express the spirit of the occasion.

    • Turn judgment into curiosity.
    • Serve and be served.
    • Take responsibility.
    • Take time for quiet reflection.
    • Care for self and others.
    • Share and learn from every interaction.
    • Draw on resources (self, group, wider group, and beyond).
  7. Jeremy – Seattle, WA
    Jeremy, from Seattle, WA, is an agile coach, a maker, an entrepreneur, a doer/dreamer. He’s started (and help run) 4 companies including a non-profit dance organization, and a Montessori school.

    My simple rules are:

    • Offer clarity + choice.
    • Say the hard thing.
    • Remember to play + pray.
    • Hold space for greatness.

    What’s important to me are people, relationships, connecting, building things with people, community, growing myself and others.  I think at the moment, I’m focusing on growing as a coach + consultant, and on loving what I do.

    To look at how I got to my rules, it’s probably simplest to look at each one:

    Offer clarity + choice  …as opposed to offering advice to clients, or offering nothing, or not knowing where to start. It’s meant to be humble place to start (I hear this, I see these as your options), and hopefully empowering for the people in my life.

    Say the hard thing  …as opposed to saying the easy thing. This is hard, and I struggle with it, but every time I do, I am rewarded a clearer conscience and often more intimacy and trust in my relationship. As a consultant, I never again want to skirt the elephant in the room.

    Remember to play + pray  …as opposed to waking up one day and realizing that i haven’t spoken to God in a month or that I can’t remember the last time I had a really good laugh. As intensely as I attack the world, I struggle with balance, and yet I’m not happy and who I want to be when these are missing.

    Hold space for greatness  …as opposed to settling, or allowing those I love to settle. As a coach and a friend, I think it’s my duty to hold the potential for awesome for those around me and for myself. People rise to it.

    These are all really about the times when I’ve felt most alive. I have this crazy notion that I am at my best when I’m doing these things; my work is to hold on to them and actually use them to guide my life right now.

  8. Mary – MN
    Mary, from MN, is a learning and development professional focusing in the technology space, helping people, teams and organizations remove obstacles to their success.

    These are my simple rules:

    • Be present.
    • Be respectful in all interactions.
    • Bring value to all interactions.
    • Create options.
    • See the Humor.
    • Be Healthy.
  9. Barry – Stanford, CA
    Barry, from Stanford, CA, is an energetic, effective, innovative leader.

    Here’s the set of 4 I currently use in my life.  There is significant overlap in my wording and form with the HSD Institute’s – which I recognize and appreciate.  They not only work for me but there are certain words, like “Attend,” where I first resisted the word and then came to understand it well enough to recognize its deeper values.

    The items under the four are statements I use to help me explore the rule in various circumstances.

    • Attend to self, husband, family, community.
      • What is most important to you right now?
      • How do you think I would do it or want it to go?
      • Do what needs doing.
      • If there was something you needed done, what would it be?
      • Be quiet. Be open-minded. Be present. Be available. Be willing to ask, hear, and do.


    • Love and play well.
      • Witness.
      • Wonder.
      • Socialize.
      • Games.
      • Attend.


    • Search for the true and the useful.
      • What, So What, Now What?
      • Four Truths.
      • Five Why’s– embrace my inner two year old.
      • Ensure the obvious is known.
      • “TRIZ” — a method in engineering for driving innovation.


    • Give and get value for value.
      • Does it tie into passion? Inspiring?
      • Can I make a difference?
      • Will I learn something?
      • Can I ‘measure’ and improve?
      • Have a mentor; be a mentor.
      • Satisfy the hunger.
  10. Willem – Portland, OR
    Willem, is president of the non-profit Language Hunters organization. He is an author, innovator, and activist in the field of education and endangered language revitalization.

    My simple rules for difficult discussions or for moderating internet forums (i.e., intrinsically difficult discussions) are:

    • Tell Your Story
    • Ask A Question
    • Listen Generously
  11. Human Systems Dynamics Institute
    Special thanks to the Human Systems Dynamics Institute who has graciously shared their own Simple Rules with us
    • Teach and learn in every interaction
    • Search for the true and the useful
    • Give and get value for value
    • Share the HSD story
    • Attend to the whole, the part, and the greater whole
    • Engage in joyful practice