Writings Archives

Managing Time

One of the fundamental aspects of unworkability in the world is time. That’s the first lie. That’s the first apparency. That’s the beginning of the end of the truth. Time. You need to master time to have any mastery in the world. People who are at the effect of time, people who can’t create time, people who can’t manage time, people who can’t move time around, people who can’t handle time, people who are overwhelmed by time, have no mastery and no basis for mastery. The basis for mastery in the world is being able to handle time. So what we’re talking about instead of some new problem to handle is an enormous opportunity to create a context in the space, in a sense, and in an environment of workability. And that environment’s generated out of a mastery of time.

If you attempt to take a computer approach to the control, efficacy, workability, results, viability, and getting the job done, what you wind up with is a clear statement that an organization is driven by its scheduling. And you know about computers? When you take a computer approach you have to break things down to the smallest possible, controllable variable. Computers are absolutely stupid. They have to reduce things to absolute know-ability. There are no black boxes. You’ve got to know what’s happening. So a computer approach forces you to tell the truth; to look at what’s actually happening. You’ve got to get all your attitudes out of the way and all of your leaps of faith and all of your beliefs and all of the things you thought were true and all of the things that everybody knows are true and start dealing with the basic, raw, hard, little facts. Then you have to see the basic, stupid, simple way that those facts relate to each other. In other words, you’ve got to get clear about it.

Now what we’ve got is a bunch of people trying to be geniuses about something that doesn’t require any genius. We’ve been wasting people’s genius on stuff that could get handled by discipline and work. If you’ve got any genius, you aren’t ever going to get to use it unless you can discipline yourself and work. You know, work.

Work, it’s when you sit down or stand up and go to work. You literally confront things and handle things. You start at the beginning and you work your way through step-by-step until you get to the end. That’s what work is. You start at the beginning and you work step by step until you get to the end. And you don’t skip steps, you don’t explain steps way, and you don’t look in your head to find out what’s so about steps. You start at the beginning, you take every one of the steps between the beginning and end, and you stick at it. You put your nose against the grindstone with respect to it, you stick at it, work on it until you get to the end. You handle each one of the steps. You don’t leave any one out. You don’t jump over any one. That’s how you do work. You do work by being systematic and methodical. And people who can discipline themselves to be systematic and methodical have enough of themselves left over to express and contribute and use their genius.

See, it’s like people are real confused about what’s going on. All these things to do and there’s all this work to be done. All these results to get accomplished and all these people here and all this stuff and all these plans and all these words and “Gee, I don’t …” …. JUST GO TO WORK! Everything will clear up. Start disciplining yourself. Start keeping your agreements. Discipline yourself to keep your agreements and you go back to where you work, sit down and go to work. That means start at the beginning, cover all the steps between the beginning and the end, do it completely, don’t mess around in your head about it. Go to it, step by step, systematically, until you get to the end. You will have then performed work. Which results in productivity. Any small amount of which will leave some room for a contribution. Without which there is no room for contribution. Real simple. Get out of your head. Cut out all that explanation about the difficulty. And your complaints and criticisms and what we need and what we don’t need. What we need right now is for people to go to work.

WORKING AND MANAGING TIME

From an est Staff Meeting on June 10, 1980

Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader in ourselves

If you are empowered, you suddenly have a lot of work to do because you have the power to do it. If you are unempowered, you are less dominated by the opportunities in front of you. In other words, you have an excuse to not do the work. You have a way out. You have the security of being able to do what you have always done and get away. If you are empowered, suddenly you must step out, innovate and create. The cost, however, of being unempowered is people’s self-expression. They always have the feeling that they have something in them that they never really gave, never really expressed. By simply revealing the payoffs and costs of being unempowered, people have a choice. They can begin to see that it is possible to make the choice to be empowered rather than to function without awareness. Empowerment requires a breakthrough and in part that breakthrough is a kind of shift from looking for a leader to a sense of personal responsibility. The problems we now have in communities and societies are going to be resolved only when we are brought together by a common sense that each of us is visionary. Each of us must come to the realization that we can function and live at the level of vision rather than following some great leader’s vision. Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader in ourselves.

Werner Erhard, Scene Magazine/September-October 1982

Breaking Out of the Box

Here is an excerpt from Breaking Out of The Box which was first published in the fall 1989 issue of Benchmark Magazine: “What great executives will do in the 1990s, says Erhard, is to create different paradigms that are appropriate to the commitments in various parts of the organization. “They will be able to shape organization-wide paradigms that are appropriate to the moving sands, changing markets, changing competition and introduction of new technologies.” Erhard says that instead of waiting for a new paradigm to become apparent, we can create and invent futures that “were not going to happen anyway…The most interesting part of management is the part that’s committed to what wasn’t predictable…” more

If not now, when?

“We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world what our lives are really about. Each of us has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us all as human beings.

If not you, who?
If not now, when?
If not here, where?”

Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard Archives

Werner Erhard is a lecturer, author, consultant, and the creator of one of the most influential technologies of the last 30 years, the technology of transformation. The web page at wernererhard.net/archive.html provides a collection of historical articles written by or about Werner Erhard and his work between 1970 and 1991.

Werner Erhard on Power

POWER

By Werner Erhard, March 21, 1983

Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.

There are two factors worth examining in our impairing velocity, in our disempowering ourselves.

The first is the domain of reasonableness. When we deal with our intentions or act to realize our intentions from reasonableness, we are in the realm of slow, impede and complicate. When we are oriented around the story or the narrative, the explanations, the justifications, we are oriented around that in which there is no velocity, no power.

Results are black and white. In life, one either has results (one’s intentions realized) or one has the reason, story, explanations, and justifications. The person of power does not deal in explanations. This way of being might be termed management by results (not management for results but management by results). The person of power manages him or herself by results and creates a space or mood of results in which to interact with others.

The other factor to be addressed is time. Now never seems to be the right time to act. The right time is always in the future. Usually this appears in the guise of “after I (or we) do so and so, then it will be the right time to act”; or “after so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act”; or “when so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act.” The guise includes “gathering all the facts,” “getting the plan down,” “figuring out ‘X’,” “getting ready,” etc.

Since now is the only time you have in reality and now will never seem to be the right time to act, one may as well act now. Even though “it isn’t the right time,” given that the “right time” will never come, acting now is, at the least, powerful (even if you don’t get to be right). Most people wait for the decisive moment, whereas people of power are decisive in the moment. – Werner Erhard

Operating Principles for a You and Me World

Operating Principles for a You and Me World
From the March 1980 Graduate Review report on ‘A World That Works For Everyone’

Since we have been raised and educated in a you or me world, and since very few of us have noticed the shift to you and me, we are going to have to work out the rules for living on our own. We won’t get much help. Werner shared his own perceptions of some of the other new rules, or operating principles, for the you and me context:

  • Respect the other person’s point of view, whether or not you agree with it. Recognize that if you had their history, their circumstances, and the forces that play on them, you would likely have their point of view.
  • Consider life a privilege – all of it, even the parts that are difficult or seem a waste of time.
  • Give up the islands that reinforce mediocrity, the safe places where we gossip and complain to one another, where we are petty.
  • Take a chance. Be willing to put your reputation on the line; have something at stake.
  • Work for satisfaction rather than for credit
  • Honor your word. There will be times when the circumstances of life will make you forget who you are and what you’re about. That is when you need to be committed to honoring your word, making what you say count.

The Mind’s Dedication to Survival

The est process is designed to assist the participant to discover through experience, rather than analysis, aspects of his mental functioning and behavior.  The participant “looks at” (without explanation or rationalization) his behavior, feelings, thoughts, history, justifications and the concomitant payoffs.  The realization that previously unrecognized payoffs of apparently negative behavior cause the negative behavior to persist occurs here.  For example, the person may come to experience the self-justification and righteousness that can occur when he is blocked, “out down” or dominated.  As he gets a glimpse of what the mind has accepted as the payoff of these feelings, he gradually becomes aware of the patterns he uses to assert power and control the situation.  He now has the opportunity to see how this behavior allows him to feel “right” while it allows him to make others “wrong.”  He discovers how these old patterns and acts of domination reduce his aliveness and result in perpetuation of unhappiness and discontent.

The Mind’s Dedication to Survival, by Werner Erhard, Gilbert Guerin and Robert Shaw

Werner Erhard’s trip to Moscow in 1990

Werner Erhard leads workshop in the Soviet Union in 1990

_________________________

Excerpted from Werner Erhard’s trip to Moscow in 1990:

“At the beginning of the year, we had an opportunity to look at our work in the context of the beginning of a new decade.  We saw that on the one hand, it’s true that this is a year like any other year, and on the other, we also had and continue to have an opportunity to generate this year, and this decade, as a powerful springboard into the next century for both our individual intentions and as the conversation we are engaged in together, standing for a new possibility for what it is to be human.  In creating this future for ourselves, we allowed ourselves to be inspired by the unprecedented changes which took place in the world, particularly in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe….”

“We have been engaged in an exchange with organizations in the USSR for the past ten years, both through Werner Erhard and Associates (which funded our initial work in the USSR), and the US/USSR Project of the Werner Erhard Foundation…”

“The USSR that we found on this visit is palpably at an historical crossroads. While many people are disturbed by the changes that are taking place because of the basic disruption the represent, there are many people who are taking the opportunity, and the sudden lack of guidelines for action, as a window to create and generate a new and unpredictable future.”

Read the full article.

The Four Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership, and Great Organizations

“We argue here that the four factors we identify as constituting the foundation for being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership can also be seen as the foundations not only for great leadership, but also for a high quality personal life and an extraordinary organization. One can see this as a “value free” approach to values because, 1) integrity as we define it (being whole and complete) is a purely positive proposition, 2) authenticity is also a purely positive proposition (being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others and who you hold yourself to be for yourself), and 3) being committed to something bigger than oneself is also a purely positive proposition (that says nothing about what that commitment should be other than it be bigger than oneself). ”

1. Authenticity:

Being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself out to be for yourself.  When leading, being authentic leaves yuo grounded, and able to be straight without using force.

2. Being Cause In the Matter of Everything In Your Life: 

Being Cause in the Matter is a stand you take for yourself and life – and acting from that stand.  It leaves yuo wil power.  You are never a victim.

3. Being Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself: 

Source of the serene passion (charisma) required to lead and to develop others as leaders, and the source of persistence (joy in the labor of) when the path gets tough.

4. Integrity (in our model a positive phenomenon): 

Being whole and complete – achieved by “honoring one’s word” (creates workability, develops trust).

from The Four Foundations of a Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and a Great Organization, by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen, May 3, 2012; posted at SSRN

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