Workplace Order Rules

Just imagine the bliss if everyone pursued full engagement while they were at work.

Engage. Participate.
Be fully present.
No auto-pilot.

Be on time.

Come prepared.

Must-haves: pen and paper.

Forgetting is not an option.

Be the expert.


Mistakes are cool.


Trust and be trust-worthy.

Keep it real.

This was the short form of our Rules of Engagement.

The long form is here with a bit more explanation.


  1. says

    Fabulous, Rosa!
    I do have one question… because it tripped me up as I was reading, and I *know* you can help me understand it. :)
    How can people really believe that mistakes be cool, when the expectation seems to be that they really aren’t (come prepared, forgetting is not an option,be the expert, etc.)?

  2. says

    We recognize two kinds of mistakes here: those that happen when we take risks, try new things, fail and learn; and those that happen when we are careless, sloppy and negligent. The first kind is cool, the second kind is not so cool. Unfortunately the English word “mistake” is overloaded, and people tend to resolve it toward the second definition. The reason it fits well in the Workplace Order Rules is because it makes you stop and think more about the difference.
    (And after reading the long version, which uses the word “okay” instead of “cool”, it also means that even the second kind of mistake happens, and don’t spend too much time beating yourself up over it. Just because it is a list of “rules” doesn’t mean we’ll all achieve a state of perfection and follow the rules forever to the letter.)

  3. says

    Aloha Stacy and Steve, thanks so much for helping me out here, for I made the mistake (perfect example of an unconscious mistake!”) of being so comfortable with my own MWA course jargon that I used our short-form listing without good explanation. Mahalo nui Steve for helping me out while I was offline and late to seeing Stacy’s question, for you’re spot on with your answer.
    “Mistakes are cool” has become a catch all phrase for me for my entire coaching philosophy on mistakes — if you have MWA it’s the heading on page 154. As Steve has pointed out so well, there are good mistakes (they help us learn as we live) and bad mistakes (the careless or chronic ones that plague the thoughtless or irresponsible), and I’ve found that in a life managed with aloha the bad ones become rare. Luckily I had a brilliant mentor who would repeatedly tell us fledgling managers that if we weren’t making mistakes, we probably weren’t stretching enough, learning enough, or embracing the catalytic converter action sequences that “mistakes help us get comfortable with.”
    Many more thoughts are coming to me as I write this; watch for a separate post on it before the weekend is over! I absolutely adore when this happens —Mahalo nui for the impetus you’ve given me!

  4. Blaine Collins says

    Great list Rosa. I noticed you added the 10th rule – Keep it Real – that is not present in the long version. That phrase potentially has a different meaning to each individual. To me, I think that means to be honest with others and to avoid playing mind games – that sort of thing. Would you share your thoughts about what it means to you to ‘keep it real’ and maybe give an example of how teams sometimes drift from this rule?