Tony Dye

Tony Dye




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LaSD, Chapter 22

Chapter 22. Leadership Out of the Box

Last chapter ended with Lou, having finally clarified how to get out of the box, emphasizing how the future of Zagrum depended on whether he could stay out of the box. But he knew that in order to stay out, there were certain things he had to do.

Page 155

Lou, in dialog with Tom, discusses what the purpose of any business is — To achieve results [together]. And gets into “The foundational workplace betrayal.”

Bottom of page 156 and onto 157

Lou modifies the old drawing about Bud betraying himself, re: getting up to help his wife, and changes it just slightly to be a work diagram.

The old Bud/Nancy Diagram                      

The new Lou/Company Diagram , with the extra notes on the side

Bottom of page 157

[Lou] When we blame, we blame because of ourselves, not because of others.

Page 158

Tom spends a while explaining how some people really are problems. Terrible. His old boss at Tetrix. A real jerk. A big problem.

Toward the bottom of the page

Lou asks Tom “Do you suppose it’s possible to recognize how someone might be a big problems without being in the box and blaming him?”

TD> I’d earlier postulated that any time we are blaming and justifying, that’s a strong indication that we’re in the box.

[Lou] Do you suppose I can assign responsibility for something to someone — because a particular person really did cause a problem?

[Tom] response that he doesn’t think that can be done out of the box.

Last of 158, onto 159

Lou clarifies. Being out of the box actually allows a person to be able to assign or assess responsibility with clarity. When not trying to justify or escape responsibility, vision is clear. Assigning responsibility is actually a way of helping someone! As long as we don’t slip back into excusing our own role.

Middle of the page

[Lou speaking to Tom] In your prior job, when you were thinking that your old boss was a real jerk, were you trying to help hm, or was this judgment of him really a way of just helping yourself?


… would your blame-filled efforts with your old boss help him get better?

Lower part of the page

Tom suddenly feels his hypocrisy! He was justifying himself through blaming Chuck.

Last line and continuing onto page 160

Bud speaks up, sort of letting Tom off the hook. The reminder that in the box, we need the other guy to do his bad behaviors. To be able to recognize other’s boxes without blaming them for being in the box.

Lower part of page 160

[Bud] The leaders that people choose to follow are the leaders who are out of the box. Just look back on your life and you’ll see that. … The contrast of Leadership vs. coercion. Tom’s sudden remembrance of his old boss Amos. Those leaders who can be hard and push us forward at the same time?

TD> I’ve had a few of those. I’m suddenly remembering Bruce Robinson, Bill Kelley, Roger Hurlbert, Fred Heddens, Carol Wilhelm, and John Fichtner. Neat people, who had their moments, but then, they had their real moments. People who I really wanted to be more like.

Page 161 through 163 and the top of 164

Bud recounts the story of how he made a mistake with some legal stuff and how Anita, who was running the project, helped him discover it, but then took full responsibility for it. She was out of the box, and although it was Bud’s mistake, she had no need for justification. As a result, deep loyalty.

Bottom of page 164

Lou ties this together. What he learned was that he had failed, in all kinds of ways, to help his employees achieve result. He was living in the world of blame and justification, and his trip to Arizona made him realize it.

Page 165

Lou, still telling the story of being in Arizona years back. Having realized what he had done to his own company. But, that moment of anticipated darkness and depression was the moment of change. Stepping out of the box offers hope and happiness!

The chapter ends with Lou knowing what he had to do. He had to go see Kate.”

Chapter Summary: In the work place we want to help people achieve results. To see the goal and focus on it, without any sense of self-justification. To genuinely seek to help others win. Focus on the sense of what we need to do for others. That goes beyond seeing people as people. This is hard! Some of us are about a quart low on empathy, and I think this is where empathy would be really helpful. How do you manufacture empathy and be honest at the same time?

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