Principles are the things that you build upon. They reflect the values of an organisation. The thing about principles is that they are there but when you want to write them out it is not easy to find the words you need.

Start in Jerusalem, then go to Samaria and finally expand out into the whole world

That might be a biblical principle but it is the basis of some highly-regarded business books.  This one is a best seller. No wonder when the sales page says that “Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.”
There is a strange story behind me buying a copy of this book. I was miles away from home at a conference and I walked into a bookshop. I knew that buying yet another book was not a good idea yet I was convinced that there was a book in the business section that I needed to buy. I looked around and this one all but jumped off the shelf. I read and I understood why. It is all about starting small and learning from each new version of what you are trying to do. It even helps the reader work out how to learn what they need to learn from the experience of that iteration of a project.

This is an incredibly important principle. It is possible to hit upon a successful idea first time around. But the problem with that is that as you have no idea of what you did right it is tough to repeat it. Starting small and testing something is far better than spending a  fortune and then finding out that your idea will not work. If you had tried a small version you would have found out if you were the right person or this was the right place or that there were enough other people interested to make the idea viable. It means that rather than giving up you look for that one small tweak that will change what you are doing into something that others will value.

Respect for all

There are times when you need to take a deep breadth and wonder if you can say something kind to the person next to you. There are times when people rub you up in the wrong way or suggest that you do things that are against your principles. Things like yoga or having someone contacting “those on the other side”  leave me very uncomfortable. For me, things like that come into the category of doing things that run the risk of making people weaker. Yet despite your differences, you can respect each other and treat each other as you would like to be treated. (BTW I much prefer using the term respect rather than tolerance although there is little difference between this and some people’s definition of tolerance.)

Doing things together builds community

In one sense it does not matter what things. You can be in a small team cleaning the toilets and because of your positive attitude build amazing memories.

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