Maxims are overarching statements of principle. Maxims are guidelines. They aren’t the operating plan with all of the needed detail. Maxims are what you return to before, during, and after a implementation to gut-check integrity of offering.
Yes, I’m a person that relies on maxims as some of the deep work in organizational change — that’s with teams, communities, systems. The maxims invite doing with purpose rather than doing just to fill time, or to appear busy, or to approximate accomplishment.
This weekend I was perusing materials on collective leadership, an initiative being offered in Scotland, that is impressive in its scale and in its simplicity. It’s an initiative that my dear friend Meg Wheatley is helping to shape (and who shared the materials with me).
I was also delighted to find “Myron Roger’s Maxims,” that are helping to guide the initiative. Glad in part because the maxims are good, and point to the deep work of change. Glad in part because Myron Rogers was one of my first mentors in this work, going back to the early to mid 1990s.
- Real change happens in real work.
- Those who do the work do the change.
- People own what they create. (I’ve tended to say this over the years as “support” rather than “own.”)
- Start anywhere, follow it everywhere.
- Connect the system to more of itself.
- The process you use to get to the future is the future you get.
What I appreciate most in these, and what I loved most in Myron those 25 years ago, is that he had a way with getting to the guts of things. And he had a way with simplicity in words.
I’m glad for the many ways that his words have carried into my work with systems, teams, and communities. To try to create an integrity of invitation.
Maxims. Guidelines. Gut check.