A school principal and her newly hired AP are in a conference room discussing the mission and vision of the school during a new hire onboarding day. 

Suddenly a woman bursts in, the 9th grade counselor. She is clearly upset and begins to shout, jump up and down, and bang her fists on the cedar conference table.

“This is an emergency!” she exclaims.

The principal looks at the counselor, “Michelle, don’t forget Rule #6.”

Instantly Michelle regroups and collects herself, apologizes to the two administrators and leaves a changed human being.

The new AP notes this sudden change, but doesn’t mention anything and the two admin get back to their onboarding discussion.

Thirty minutes later the principal and AP are again interrupted. This time the custodian barges in slamming the door open, jumping up and down, and beating on the cedar conference table … 

“The damn pipes … they’ve burst! Water is everywhere. We’re going to drown!”

Seeing the custodian was quite dry, the principal calmly responds, “James … don’t forget Rule #6.”

Calm washes over the custodian who collects himself, regroups, apologizes to the administrators, and thanks the principal for his wise advice.

The AP notes the sudden change of character, but doesn’t mention anything after the custodian leaves.

The onboarding discussion continues, but after another thirty minutes the AP interrupts the principal.

“Excuse me, Amy. I’ve never seen anything quite like this culture, we have been talking about mission, vision, and values this entire day, but we haven’t addressed any of the rules, specifically Rule #6. Do you mind sharing what Rule #6 means?”

“Of course,” replies the principal. “Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.”

“Whoa,” says the AP. “That is one heck of a rule.”

After thinking some more the AP then asks, “Do you mind telling me what the other rules are here?”

“Of course,” replies the principal. “There are no other rules.”

This story was adapted from the original in The Art of Possibility, my favorite book of all time. Rule #6 is the favorite rule to observe in the mastermind.

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