Leadership and managers.


A technique for managers and leadership to communicate the often implicit assumptions about how associates should be working together. Guiding Principles can apply to a business unit, team or project.


Basic assumptions or principles help people understand the modus operandi of an organisation and are especially relevant in self-managing organisations where there the balance between power and control is volatile.


Guiding Principles should be documented openly for everyone to access, and often form part of the onboarding process for new recruits. Some organisations simply communicate the guidelines on their website or intranet, while others include the Guiding Principles as a part of their Culture Code Deck. This approach is a good way to illustrate how the Guiding Principles show in the daily work. A Guiding Principle can, for example, be “we embody Work Out Loud” while the culture deck explains how work is executed on a wiki and communication happens in open slack channels.

Some example of Guiding Principles include:

  • People are systematically considered to be good (reliable, self-motivated, trustworthy, intelligent)
  • There is no performance without happiness (to be happy, we need to be motivated. To be motivated, we need to be responsible. To be responsible, we must understand why and for whom we work, to be free to decide how)
  • Value is created on the shop floor (shop floor operators craft the products; the CEO and staff at the best serve to support them, at worst are costly distractions)



AES Corporation

Morning Star


Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux