Working on Now

Kanban / Standard Operating Procedures

  • As you are working on the Experiments to seek new opportunities you need to address the concerns of the present.
    • By creating Standard Operating Procedures that create systems around How you do things you can create effectively create a machine that runs the current needs of the company
  • sops are a machine as they give you the habits of an organization. 
  • Habits and good habits are just as important for an organization as they are to a person 
  • They allow you to do more and make sure that you move in the rig direction and that nothing is falling through the cracks 
  • Sops should be set up to be manual in the beginning 
    • They then get more and more optimal 
    • But to much optimization makes a system brittle 
    • So a system should still be able to change forms
    • A system that is too constrained to the task cannot evolve
    • So it is important to figure out how to have enough efficient but also increase throughout 
  • Throughout is an important measure of how things are getting done 
    • Once you figure out your sops you need to increase the throughout of the system 
    • Throughout doesn't mean everyone has to work optimally. You need some slack as things go from one section to the other 
  • If you are a leader of a company you need to essentially delegate these tasks
    • You need to focus on future growth


  • Automate away the standard


  • If you investigate companies that have failed, you will find that many employees knew about the fatal issues long before those issues killed the company. If the employees knew about the deadly problems, why didn’t they say something? Too often the answer is that the company culture discouraged the spread of bad news, so the knowledge lay dormant until it was too late to act. 
  • A healthy company culture encourages people to share bad news. A company that discusses its problems freely and openly can quickly solve them. A company that covers up its problems frustrates everyone involved. The resulting action item for CEOs: Build a culture that rewards—not punishes—people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.
  • - Hard thing about hard things
  • Wherever knowledge workers perform well in large organizations, senior executives take time out, on a regular schedule, to sit down with them, sometimes all the way down to green juniors, and ask: “What should we at the head of this organization know about your work? What do you want to tell me regarding this organization? Where do you see opportunities we do not exploit? Where do you see dangers to which we are still blind? And, all together, what do you want to know from me about the organization?” 
  • The definition of a “routine” is that it makes unskilled people without judgment capable of doing what it took near-genius to do before; for a routine puts down in systematic, step-by-step form what a very able man learned in surmounting yesterday’s crisis.
  • Every one of Lee’s generals, from Stonewall Jackson on, was a man of obvious and monumental weaknesses. But these failings Lee considered—rightly—to be irrelevant. Each of them had, however, one area of real strength—and it was this strength, and only this strength, that Lee utilized and made effective.
  • Every survey of young knowledge workers—physicians in the Army Medical Corps, chemists in the research lab, accountants or engineers in the plant, nurses in the hospital—produces the same results. The ones who are enthusiastic and who, in turn, have results to show for their work, are the ones whose abilities are being challenged and used. Those that are deeply frustrated all say, in one way or another: “My abilities are not being put to use.”
  • If one disciplines oneself to ask about one’s associates—subordinates as well as superiors—“What can this man do?” rather than “What can he not do?” one soon will acquire the attitude of looking for strength and of using strength. And eventually one will learn to ask this question of oneself.
  • - Effective Executive


  • Everyone is a manager at the company with the factir being that they are owners of their realm of concern 
  • Hoeven this doesn't mean they are not responsible for the total action 
  • However there are people who can remove impediments
  • They connect the group to a huge purpose 
  • A manager is not a side job it has to be a full time affair that includes certain tasks. Ensuring work is moving forward, removing impediments, 1:1s, Coburn resolution, etc.

Notes from Book: Extreme Ownership

  • At the end of the day if you are the leader and something goes wrong it is your fault and it is your job to make sure everyone understands why they are doing what they are doing.
  • Work with others to achieve what you want for the total entity. No fiefdoms.
  • If someone doesn’t play with the team then they need to be shown the door.
  • Simple: keep things simple. Complexity makes it hard for people to understand. Having something simple and easy to understand makes it much more useful. 80/20 rule here. There may be 100 things but focus on the 20% that gives 80% of output
  • Prioritize and execute: “relax, look around, make a call”. Can’t do everything at once so prioritize what is most important and execute that. You need to be able to focus full time on something get the stakeholders involved and as circumstances change adapt and let the stakeholders know of the change.
  • Decentralize command. Teams should be a total of 6 people or less. There should be a clear leader for each unit that is bigger and who reports to what.
  • Plan effectively
  • Standard operating procedures. Discipline starts with the first alarm. Team must also buy into operations


  • The care of the self. You have to be separated from the people you are managing