Tony Dye

Tony Dye




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LaSD, Chapter 19

Chapter 19. Toward Being Out of the Box

Last chapter ended with Lou telling Tom he already knew hot to get out of the box. Tom didn’t think so, and neither did I. What did we miss?

Page 130

Toward Being Out of the Box

Toward?! All we get is toward? Had to flip back to the previous chapter to remember that the closing statement was that Tom already knew how to get out of the box.

Tom pushes back. He doesn’t know, or at least doesn’t know he knows.

Lou counters, saying it was the same for him.

Lou’s explanation: when regretting how he had acted, and was seeing Nancy and Cory and his coworkers as people, he was already out of the box.

[Lou] In the moment I felt the keen desire to be out of the box for them, I was already out of the box toward them. To feel that desire for them was to be out of the box toward them.

TD> Emphasis is mine. But this isn’t the same as saying that I can get out of the box anytime just by wanting to. It also doesn’t solidly address knowing that I’m in the box. A thought: See people as people. I just need to repeat that to myself all day. They are people. I suspect it’s not quite that easy.

Bottom of the page, and continuing onto page 131

With Lou’s prodding, Tom realizes he was also treating his family as people. And again says that means you already know how to get out of the box.

Lou continues to play this game with Tom of “you know, you just don’t know you know.”

Half way down the page, the not-so-clarifying that the question of how to get out of the box should really be two questions: 1) how to get out, and 2) how to stay out.

And the repeat, when you’re feeling that you want to be out of the box with someone, you already are.

Bottom of the page, one more repeat, how do you stay out of the box.

Page 132

Tom is understanding, yet still confused. Wondering if he was just lucky last night.

[Tom] When I’m not so lucky, I’d like to know how to get myself out.

[Lou] Fair enough. I’ll do my best, with Bud’s help, to explain how we get out in the first place.

TD> Finally, this sounds like what we’ve waited 132 pages for!

Chapter Summary: A somewhat frustrating chapter as Tom discovers that he was out of the box yesterday, but doesn’t know how he got out. More frustrating that Lou tells him he does know! A partial answer, maybe, when you feel the desire to be out of the box toward someone, then you already are! At the end of the chapter, Lou finally agrees that maybe the answer isn’t totally obvious and promises, with Bud’s help, to explain it.

Another thought. From earlier chapters, the idea was presented of seeing people as people. How well does this overlap seeing people as God sees them?

LaSD, Chapter 18

Chapter 18. Leadership in the Box

Last chapter ended with Lou starting to talk about his son and the experience that led to the big turnaround in Lou, and the company.

Page 125

Lou’s story of his son, Cory. Drugs, drinking, being arrested. Lou not wanting to be embarrassed. I can identify with all that!

TD Observation. Lou mentions that Cory is “now” almost 40. Since that’s Lou’s youngest, Lou must be 65, maybe more. Since this book was written in the early 2000s, the characters would now be 60-ish and 85-ish.

Arrested. Options. Could have been 30 days in Jail. Lou fought it. Lost. Cory spent a year! Lou’s view, “it was a blight on the family name.”

TD> I can see this from my parent’s perspective. And also my own. I might easily have done exactly what Lou did. I think I’ve learned since then. I hope!

Lower half of the page, round 2. Cory got back with the wrong crowd, arrested again. This time Lou went for a plea bargain that involved a 60-day wilderness treatment and survival program.

Near the bottom of the page, Lou’s statement, “I was taking him to be ‘fixed.'”

TD> I remember having a very young, brilliant, employee years back who apparently had a lot of troubles at home and school. I remember getting a very few minutes advance notice that he was going to be escorted out of the building, and away for weeks or months. Perhaps a very similar program. He came back later (I think years) and was an exemplary employee for me, and for others later.

Page 126

Lou’s continued story, expecting “them” to fix his son.

Second paragraph

[Lou] “But that’s now what I learned.” “I needed fixing too.” “… gradually I came to see the lie in my defensiveness.” Blame! “I was a mess.” And Lou fought the idea. By the middle of the page, Lou recognized he was in the box, and had been for a long time, with his wife and his kids.

TD> How many of us need fixing? What if I’d had this book, and cared, when I was in my 20s, or earlier? How might so many of my relationships gone better. I want to say that better. I’ve had many great jobs and been around a lot of wonderful people. I just wonder if things might have been even better if I’d learned this part of people, earlier.

Bottom of page 126 and onto 127

Lou’s realization of how he had also driven away people in his company, most notably Kate.

TD> I sense that Lou is telling this story with tears in his eyes.

Last line of page 127 and onto page 128

Dialog on collusion and how people invite exactly what they do NOT want in others.

Near the bottom of the page, Tom mentions “Just like Semmelweis.”

TD> This doesn’t seem like Semmelweis to me. Yes, the ignorance of the real problem, but I don’t remember Semmelweis blaming others. Quite the contrary, he kept trying to find what was happening. But, the idea of killing people fits, sadly.

Page 129

[Lou] What I learned in Arizona was that I was a mess … I was provoking the very problems I was complaining about. I had chased away the very best people I knew. … Even Kate. No one is more talented than Kate …

Lower part of the page

Lou knows he had also been taking his wife for granted for 25 years. “My box was destroying everything I cared about.”

Last lines

[Lou] How can I possibly get out of the box?

[Tom] How do you get out of the box?

[Lou] You already know.

TD> Really? We’ve sort of seen how Tom was out, but did we see how he got out? It is simply “see people as people?” If we’re self-deceived, can we?

Chapter Summary: The story of Lou’s background with his troubled son that led to his learning the materials we’re now learning. Sort of a yucky, cloudy, chapter with some glimpses of bright sunshine. I sense we’re about to learn the breakthrough. The big question: how do you get out of the box? Hopefully it won’t take 6 more chapters!

Arbinger’s second book, Anatomy of Peace, tells more of Lou’s and Cory’s backstory. Highly recommended. I think I actually like it better than this book, but LaSD is still the one to read first.

LaSD, Chapter 17

Part III

How We Get out of the Box

TD> More than halfway through the book and now we’re starting to get to the solution.

Chapter 17. Lou

TD> These authors are good at getting a lot out of few words, or in this case, one word, 3 letters. Yet I can already guess where this is going!


Last chapter implied that all people problems are related to MY self-betrayal and included a tease that the solution to most of the problems is about some central type of self-betrayal.

Page 121

Tom meets Lou Herbert, the legend who nearly destroyed, then made, the company. Total surprise to Tom.

TD> I love how Tom is dumbstruck and Lou knows how to start the conversation. That’s something I want to learn!

Bottom of the page

[Lou] “It’s almost like I’m already dead, isn’t it?”

TD> So sad that we sometimes save great stories til people die! Most of my life I would have been afraid to laugh at a statement like that. Now I think it’s hilarious! I’d like to be laughed at like that!

Page 122

Middle of the page

Tom’s nearly instant comfort with Lou.

Lou quickly gains Tom’s confidence; Tom tells him all about how thinks went with  Todd & Laura.

[Tom] “Best night I’d had with Laura and Todd in at least five years.”

Near the bottom of the page

[Tom] For the first time in a long time, I went to bed with no hard feelings toward anyone in my home.

Page 123

Tom explaining that Laura was confused by his attempt to explain the box and all.

One-third down, Lous agrees its hard to explain in a hurry.

TD> Maybe that’s part of why this book is as long as it is and hard to summarize!

Lower part of the page

The concept of doing “In the box” training events and including family.

TD> Oh, I would love that! Could this be done in just one evening?

Bottom of the page

Bud comes in. “As usual, there aren’t enough last minutes.”

TD> Sounds like an excuse! Delivered with a smile, I suspect.

Page 124

Top of the page

Bud explaining that Lou was the surprise he’d alluded to the day before and how they were lucky.

TD> Company founders, CEOs, etc., (Pastor emeritus) who continue to show up. I like that.

Toward the bottom of the page

[Bud] How as Todd through this evening?

Todd was about the same as usual, but Tom didn’t seem to mind.

TD> There was no apparent change in Todd, but Tom had changed, and the relationship changed because of it. I can identify with this with Stephen, my “problem child.” Sounds like Lou may have a similar story coming up tomorrow…

The closing lines indicate that Lou’s story with his son is the story of Zagrum’s turnaround.

Chapter Summary: How many days has this Bud, Tom, Kate, and now Lou, conversation been going on? Two? Maybe just 1 plus now this morning session? Reading it across days, makes it seem longer, but I think it’s all been back to back. We learn some of the backstory of the source of this material. Troublesome children can be the make or break. In this case, the stories have great redemption.

The side story, Lou, once a jerk, now someone who makes everyone feel at ease. The kind, fatherly (or grandfatherly) helpful, caring, friend of everyone.

LaSD, Chapter 16

Chapter 16. Box Problems

Last chapter talked about what focus and who focus. When we focus on others, and results, we’re out of the box. We’re happy to see others succeed.

Page 112

Bud, with Tom, start to review Bud’s San Francisco Experience. Just noticing, in the process, Bud erases a lot of the board, with no mention of asking, or even saying.

Bottom of page 112, and onto page 113.

Building a list of problems that result from Self-Betrayal. Then listing them beside the self-betrayal diagram.

TD> Noticing, Self-betrayal increases stress! There’s an irony for you. I think of self-betrayal as being selfish, even lazy, and in the “goal achieving vs. stress relieving” the actions of self-betrayal would seem to be on the latter, but the results is the opposite of that! This self-betrayal, in the box stuff, seems often to be opposite of what we expect or desire. “Isn’t that interesting!”

Bottom of the page

Dialog: the problems are only after Bud betrayed himself. Not during the initial feeling of wanting to help.

Page 114

Continuing, all the problems are only AFTER self-betrayal.

Middle of the page

Problems were caused by self-betrayal.

[Bud] So the solution to the self-betrayal problem is the solution to all those people problems.

Page 115

Near the top

[Bud] Self-betrayal is the germ that creates the disease of self-deception.

Middle of the page

Tom noticing that the stories and examples so far have been about relationships, mostly personal. “But is it always the same in business?”

Two-thirds down

[Bud] it doesn’t matter whether we betray ourselves at home, at work, at the store, or wherever. The box — self-deception — will cause all the same kinds of problems in every one of those situations that it caused in this one.

Last paragraph

[Bud] There’s a particular self-betrayal that almost everyone engages in at work … concerning the very purpose of what we were hired to do … to achieve results. The key to solving most of the people problems that afflict organizations is in discovering how we can solve this central work-place self-betrayal.

Page 116

And then Bud doesn’t give the answer! And Kate has to leave.

Bottom of page 116 and onto page 117

Kate’s story of how she left Zagrum, “because of Lou.” And how she rejoined the company, “because of Lou.” The old Lou and the new Lou and the corresponding changes in Zagrum.

Middle of the page

Kate tells Bud that he’s the company’s secret weapon. I’ve known a few such people in my life. I want to be one for somebody else! (is that self-serving, in-the-box behavior?) Kate’s seriousness about the meeting. “what we’re now embarked on produces more results for this company than any other single thing we do.”

I love how the characters in this fictional story interact. I believe that Kate really wanted to stay when she had to leave for another meeting. I’d like to meet Kate! Likewise Lou. The cause of Kate leaving, and the cause of her coming back. Change can happen, at least to these fictional people! “The need to apologize.” That’s been a troubling area for me for a few years, and I’ve had one recent great success with it. Very loose parallel to the story, but all this to say that years later, an apology can be a big deal.

Page 118

The decision to finish up tomorrow rather than tonight. And the tease there might be a surprise. [Supposedly a good one]

Tom ends the day thinking about Todd and Laura and his need for some apologizing! A sudden interest in helping Todd with working on cars and preparing a meal for Laura. “… in a hurry to get home …”

TD> Makes me wonder what I’m not even thinking about doing for others!

Seems we’ve been waiting for “the good part” of this book. I think we just stepped into it…

Chapter Summary: Problems, especially people problems, are a direct result of self-betrayal. That extreme irony, that what’s wrong with other people is that *I* betrayed myself! We’re left waiting for the “particular type of self-betrayal” Bud mentioned that is key to solving most problems.

LaSD, Chapter 15

Chapter 15. Box Focus

Last chapter was about Collusion, and how, when we’re in the box, we tend to provoke the very behaviors in others we say we don’t want, and in turn, they do the same to us, and it goes round and round. The very last line is Bud asking “What does it have to do with work?”

Page 108

Tom surprises himself with his quick and strong answer, “It has everything to do with work.”

TD> Have to agree with that! Maybe going stronger, it has everything to do with almost everything! (everything that involves human interaction) Everyone is in the box. All the time. Which invites everyone else to get in the box (even though they are already in the box). These boxes are well reinforced!

[Bud] “So What?”

TD> Bud asks that a lot!

[Bud] The box gets in the way of our achieving results.

Page 109

Top & Middle

Bud describing “What-Focus” and “Who Focus”

  • Out of the box, what focus is results
  • In the box, what focus is justification
  • In the box, focused on self
  • Out of the box, focused on others

Bottom of the page

[Bud] most people aren’t nearly as happy when other people in the organization succeed as they are when they themselves do.

TD> I think this is partially learned behavior. Or at least the converse is. I’m learned to cheer others on when they do well. Is that just age (I want to say maturity, but that can’t be it), or was I taught this somewhere?

Page 110

[Kate] The box provokes others to get into the box, too.

TD> The more we see the problems in others, per the collusion chapter, the more we cause them to be problems

Middle of page

[Kate] When I’m blaming … it’s to justify my failure to improve.

[Kate] When one person is failing to focus on results, it provokes others to fail in the same way.

Page 111

Top of page

Tom blaming Chuck Staehli … because he really was a problem

Bud suggesting Tom should think about that more.  Someone else having a problem doesn’t mean I don’t have one too!

TD> I’m getting agitated by all this. I’m identifying with it far too well. Projects gone awry, and it’s his fault. He didn’t do his part. And I’m a bit gleeful that he didn’t, so I can point the finger at him. And that keeps me from having to look at where I’m not on track. Realizing that I’ve got 30+ year’s experience doing project management by blame! Simultaneously, I talk often about how project management is all about communication. Hmmm… slap myself in the face!

TD> Darn, But and Kate and Tom are beating me up, and they don’t even know me. Heck, they don’t exist! Fictional characters are clobbering me.

Chapter Summary:

In the box, our need is primarily for justification, which is clearly at odds with any sort of productivity, and helping each other, and working towards goals. Out of the box, focuses on results. In the box, focuses on self. Out of the box, focuses on others. So, this is almost the answer: focus on others, focus on results. I don’t think it’s going to be quite that simple.

LaSD, Chapter 14, Part 2

Chapter 14. Collusion

Part 2

In Part 1, we saw how being in the box provokes others to be in the box, and the blame/response cycle goes round and round and we actually end up inviting exactly the behaviors we say we don’t want. When we’re in our boxes, we need to justify our behaviors, so we actually need the other person to do things that are blame-worthy.

Top of Page 100 (repeated from end of Part 1)

[Kate] Whenever we are in the box, we have a need that is met by other’s poor behavior. And so our boxes encourage more poor behavior in others, even if that behavior makes our lives more difficult.

TD> That’s a great summary of this chapter so far.

Middle of page 100 and onto page 101

Kate’s story of her son Bryan, wanting to use the car, and the agreement that he could if he would be home by 10:30. And he was actually home a minute early!

[Kate] “You sure cut it close, didn’t you?”

TD> Oh, I can hear myself saying something like that. I remember some old management class that addressed this. The professor was making the same point. When somebody does something wrong, we slam them for it; then we they do something right, we slam them again for something they did wrong some other time. We totally forget to ever thank the person for doing something right! We are much more prone to see what’s wrong than to acknowledge, and praise, right attitudes. In the box, I need justification.  To be right, we need somebody else to be wrong.

Page 101, about one-third down

[Kate] Even when he was responsible, I couldn’t let him be responsible … I still needed him to be wrong.

Next to last paragraph

[Kate] What I need most when I’m in the box is to feel justified.

TD> To be justified, the other person must we blameworthy.

Page 102

Entire top half of the page is Tom thinking about Todd and similar stories of blame.

Lower half, Kate reiterates that she needed Bryan to be a disappointment so she could justified in accusing him.

[Bud] when I’m in the box, I need people to cause trouble … I actually need problems.

Last paragraph, and continuing on page 103

Bud reminding Tom of having asked about running a business when out of the box; the thought that you would be run over.

One-third down page 103

[Bud] Who needs to be run over …

[Tom] The person in the box.

[Bud] being run over gives justification.

Bottom of the page

Bud clarifies that we don’t like the problems. But we need them

Page 104

Middle, and lower half of the page

[Bud] By the simple fact of being in the box, each helps to create the very problems he or she blames the other for.

[Kate] .. Bryan and I provide each other with such perfect justification, it’s almost as if we colluded to do so. We’ll blame and mistreat each other to justify our mutual blame and mistreatment.

[Kate] When two or more people are in their boxes toward each other, mutually betraying themselves, we often call it ‘collusion.’ … condemning ourselves to ongoing mutual mistreatment.

TD> Looking at this from the outside, it’s clearly crazy. But when “in the middle,” it is so natural to do it.

Bottom of page

[Bud] … the box lives on the justification it gets from our being mistreated.

Page 105

Even though complaining about mistreatment, [Bud] “I also find it strangely delicious. It’s my proof that others are as blameworthy as I’ve claimed them to be — and that I’m as innocent as I claim myself to be.””

TD> Isn’t it funny how we can love what we hate?

Middle of the page, one more addition to the Self-Betrayal list:

Page 106

And then we recruit others to “our side” to further justify and blame.

Near the bottom of the page

[Bud] It provokes what I take as proof that I’m not the one with the problem.

[Bud] So what will I do if anyone tries to correct the problem they see in me?

[Tom] You’ll resist them

Page 107

[Bud] Why should we care about any of this at Zagrum? What does it have to do with work?

TD> As I’m hearing this, I’ more focused on personal, family stuff, than work. But, of course, work is the framework for the book. Mostly. With some nice overflow.

TD> Not quite a summary of this chapter, but closely related. Anytime I have a sense of blame, condemnation, judgment, and maybe a lot of other variations, about somebody else, I need to consider that I might be in the box. What was the self betrayal that led to it? Can I identify it?

What about if I’m simply angry about something, or somebody? Is that the same thing?

Can I extend this to things like politics? I blame the other party for all of our problems. What does that say about me? (or my party or group)

Chapter Summary: In the box, and probably more so if both parties are in the box, we do things to create exactly what we say we don’t want. We blame others, we justify ourselves. And we need that justification! It’s sort of empowering. And when both parties are in the box, the collusion just keeps circling and compounding.

We’re about halfway through the book. Sure hope we have a “cure” coming up soon!

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