Same, same – but different …

Life is all!

But “all” is not very handy to deal with. Therefore, humans in their limitation by design, need something to grab on or to.
We need complexity reduced to complicacy to handle it. We do that by building models “for example”.

Models sort out the irrelevance from relevance in context of a subject to make complexity explainable by reducing it to complicacy.
Models therefore reflect “the essence” by ignoring irrelevant aspects of “the whole”.
Therefore, they cannot reflect “all” and therefore are incomplete by nature. Chew on this … 🙂

Games are specific manifestations of models. They carry the ability in it to bring the essence of a principle to life. They are working (“living”) simulators.
Others are scaled down visions of the future – like in architecture.
Others are working prototypes – to get an/the idea.
And even others are theories that make ideas getting alive in our mind/s.

Same, same?

If You walk the world open-minded and open-hearted, You get in touch with different models over time.

If You follow the “one-fits-all” approach, You might be happy with the one or the other.
Until … You experience their particular limitation. Then You have the choice.
Accept the limit or break out by searching and maybe applying another model to the situation You are currently facing.

If You done that several times, You might end up in confusion.
You begin to get an idea of the similarity they all share and (might?) express different.

Currently, I am at a point, where I want to share a glance of my achieved insights and start a discussion or maybe a kind of survey, whether my view might be “correct”.

The similarities

Do You get them? 3, 5 and 7 might be of importance.
The approaches for projects converting complexity in complicacy by reducing all “what is” together with “all that could be” into “all what can be”, “… should be”, “…is technically working” and “gaining business efforts”.

Are there so much differences in people, operating in TL stage 4 and 5, optimizing their self by working in an “teal” organization, mastering complexity in projects by applying Scrum? From my experience these people are of one kind. They are all manifestations of the diversity of equals. They share mostly the same values acting in a comparable attitude and are highly compatible to each other. High performance teams are made of these equals sharing their diversity.

Challenge is, applying these insights to suitable situations – recognition of conditions and what action pattern is to apply. This is, where failure starts.

Models in a brief

I am pretty sure, that no one of You, valued reader/s, are familiar with all of the models.
Therefore, I describe them (very briefly!) by my understanding.

Tribal Leadership

A very handy model to explain in what stage a specific person is. It explains, how this person reacts and what are the base of interaction with this person.

  • People cultivating and serving heroism are in stage 3 or lower.
  • Scrum works from stage 4.
  • Best performance in complex environments (like Rugby or American Footbal) is achieved with people that are in stage 5 (2% of all).

Be careful with its colors – slightly different arrangement and relation to stages in comparison to the Laloux-Model.

Maslow Pyramide of Needs

Most of You know it, hopefully. Just refer to any other source. It is well documented and discussed.

Laloux Culture Model (of Maturity in Organizations)

Best to understand in fast-motion is this comprehensive video of nearly 10 minutes’ time.

The model describes the evolving maturity of organizations from chaos to wholeness.

there is fractality within.
If You are in an “teal” environment, You might find Yourself empowered to start something “new”.
In the beginning, there will be chaos. There is the inherent need to build up a structure. Remember, humans need structure to handle reality.

But, You – being experienced and well-formed by this theory – will walk through the named stages quickly until You might stuck somewhere before “tealness”.
If Your environment stays intact. You will reach “tealness” in the least possible time. You will influence others and therefore enable them to recognize that they are empowered also to start something (slightly) different from Your inspiration, their vision and the abilities that vision attracts. As long it is done (in) public.

Very powerful model to explain organization maturity.

There are some critics, indeed.
It is not “all” – it is a theory. It needs to be criticized to get in shape.
Chew on this … 🙂

Scrumban – ARK model

Scrumban is called an advanced (“emerged”) version of Scrum and Kanban in the respective Wikipedia article.

I needed some time to understand why.
It is because, if You are able to differ between complexity and complicacy, You can apply Kanban where it fits and Scrum where it is needed.

The ark model symbolizes the boat You build by developing (red), re-/factoring (yellow) and operatiing (green).
Boat? Remember Saint-Exupery?


The asian stages of achieving mastership are getting more and more popular in the western world.

That seems to be merit of Bruce Lee, the Karate-Kid-movie and/or several other media.
However, currently it is very popular in the “agile community”. The current “hot shit“?

And it is very important in understanding, when to apply what action pattern (mastering or managing?).


In Shu-Level (triangle) You receive the rules mostly by inspection of what others do.
Hopefully, they are more advanced in experience and knowledge in doing “that”.

Ideally, it is done by inspection of colleagues in Ha-level or by instruction from a master.

Knowledge helps, but ability is to achieve.


In Ha-Level (square), You are able to perform learned actions in defined situations.

Once (or in future), You will notice that there is a situation, You cannot apply the rules to, You are familiar with.
Your ability to cope to that situation is limited by these rules, You begin to break them. Now, You are at the gates to Ri-level.

In this situation, it is crucial to have a master at Your side to stay on the bright side of the force.
If You are practicing in an hostile environment (see Tribal Leadership, stage 3), You are endangered falling to the dark side.


Once You leave safe ground of defined environment, You need to be open, You need to have beginners’ spirit to simply (not easy!) watch “what is”. Now You are in the red circle.

You recognize masters by having the ability to express (not necessarily explain!) what is relevant and what is irrelevant in that particular situation.
By expressing relevance, You define. You make rules by defining terms.
By that, You make the division between “in scope” and “out of scope”.
You are define terms, that contain the ability to apply to an uncounted number of situations by subsuming facts You can identify and set them in relationship to the defined scope of the term.
The result will be “applies” or “applies not”. Stupid.

Makers of law, therefore, should be masters in that.
Users of law could be of Shu- or Ha-level – even Ri-level to stay uncompromised and “right” – namely “everybody” should be able to apply that rule.
Remember Kant?

If people notice, given law is not suitable to a situation, someone needs to extend given law.
That is, what judges do in trials. They prove reality against given law and extend it, if available law does not suit.
That stays valid until the law giver (parliament) states the gap in law closed by an extension of law (“bill”, “act” or just “law”).
Remember the division of forces – Turkey, US, EU, Russia, China – but this is another story …

In German (and most other European) law systems, law extension can be done beginning from Ha-level.
You prove this ability at least in second state examination (Germany).
Sometimes earlier (predicative exam? – 9 points or more, some readers hopefully recognize, what I mean).

In Anglo-Saxonian-law systems, this is done by expressing precedent cases (“miller against smith, 1978”).

But You need masters for that – You are operating in undefined space!

That is the main reason, why the European law systems are more efficient than the Anglo-Saxonian by design (not necessarily in practice).
For European approach the entry level to performance is lower.

Nobody should call one approach better than the other – they are not the same kind of objects, but they are of the same superior “class”.
They are like apples and pears – both are fruit. 😉

In development, it is just the other way round. You need masters at the beginning and at the very end.

In the early stages of a project (“all that could be”) You need more resources that master complexity i.e. by applying Scrum.
In the late stages of projects, You need more people that manage and operate complicacy. These people are productive from Shu-level upwards.

If it comes to support of productively operated systems, You better use people in Ri-level.
They are confronted all the time with the deviation of what should be and “what is”.
“What is”, is pure complexity. You cannot predict in advance. You cannot determine by status (“flat”,”dead”,”sad”) You just need to handle, find out and get out.

In reality, support providers, often hire the cheapest, provide checklists and decision trees like they would deal complicacy.
That fails desperately. First level support is experienced by me too often being hardly “able” to raise a ticket by collecting user’s/customer’s data.
Almost never, I experienced taken responsibility for that everyday damage it causes.
It will get even worser when machines to that job. It is a perfect example of a wrong action pattern applied to the challenge for solution.

Maturity level approach (ITPM)

I am pretty familiar with an specific approach that is called ITPM – “IT Project/Process Management”.

  • In stage 0, You get an idea and shape the vision You long “budget” for. Project starts.
  • In stage 1, You define the scope. Business Proposal document.
  • In stage 2, You elaborate the solution options and declare the most success promising, You are intend to implement. System proposal document.
  • In stage 3, You describe, how You tend to realize this option. System Design concept.
  • In stage 4, You build it, implement it, (security) test it. By doing that, the project’s product achieves production maturity.
  • In stage 5a, You will hand it over from project responsibility to line of operation. “Technical GoLive”.
  • In stage 5b, Your solution is operated productively “in front of customer” – “Business GoLive”
  • In stage 6, the project will be finished and closed – Your product will live on in an environment of well-defined conditions

You enter the next stage by passing Gateways.

If You – not necessarily later – notice the need for functionality that cannot achieved by minor (scope) changes, You identified the need for an additional (“add-on”) project.
Sometimes You define later delivery stages within the first project phases just to get the initial piece “through the door”.

Now You initiate an additional project for extension of functionality or major redesign of the existing environment to reach out for the extended vision of Your systems’ ability to generate additional value for the organization.

Keep calm and iterate!


Another popular model of approach in Germany is the V-model. It is like two funnels connected to each other.

First, You separate every possibility from that, what You really want and can cope to implement.
That approach narrows the funnel in three steps – Business Proposal – Systems Proposal – Systems Design.
The basement to these funnels is Realization phase. The it gets back upwards.
In second major phase, You open up the funnel from running IT-components to intended functionality proven by friendly users up to productive implementation.

Very waterfall, indeed.

5 rings (not exactly Musashi)

Now it gets least elaborated.

Miyamoto Musashi named five rings in his book Go Rin no Sho.

It is very complicated to explain that – and even impossible, because we cannot ask him personally, any more.
I made a slight shift, just to explain rings and their combination if overlapping.

Imagine ancient symbolic elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood.
You need to accept the ring (or “circle”) as symbol for wholeness (“Zen”).

The rings do not exclude each other. They build manifestations of combination options in specific degrees of overlapping.

Let us get an idea of the idea. 🙂
Imagine, You want to create a certain kind of Japanese Sword (“Katana”).

  • You need fire (sun) and water to let wood grow from earth.
  • You have to burn wood (charcoal) to get metal out of the earth (ore) using a different kind of earth (iron sand) for building the oven to create Tamahagane.
  • You need additional charcoal and metal (hammer) to elaborate the blade from the metal (tamahagane) by beating and folding it.
  • In the end, You need water, to embed the essence of swordsmith’s soul into the blade and give it the final shape.

The manifestation of deliberated, passionate practice in combining warrior’s soul and polisher’s soul and swordsmith’s soul and murage’s soul makes the soul of the samurai – the Katana.

It took that example, because it is very good to explain the difference between a process You can automate, but You ought not to if You aim for a specific kind of quality.
The Japanese produced swords industrially as an insignia of their army warriors. But, if You come to a Katana – which sometimes is named to express its extraordinariness – the Japanese refuse to automate and stay intentionally in stage of a complex creation process.

The difference between creation and re-production is SOUL.
You can automate re-production, but You cannot automate SOUL.
That’s the magic in items like Katana.


The ability to walk the way from Shu to Ri is in all of us – even the disabled in some graduated lower degree than “normal”.
But be careful, not everybody reaches mastership in every environment and skill.
Some are fine to stay in Ha level at their job to save their energy for performing in Ri level outside their job responsibility.
Others long to reach Ri level in every aspect of their life.

Some of them are forced into staying in Shu-level activities and therefore get ill or break out.
This is often indicated by symptoms, we call mental “illness” – drug abuse, esp. alcoholism.
Or “burn-out”-syndrome or “bore-out”-syndrome, sometimes called “work hard – play hard”.
Very often in combination with drugs like cocaine or amphetamines like “Speed”.

Remember that, when You judge upon “them” next time.
It could be a cry for help out of that situation!

Watch carefully, see what “is” and define, if You are on Your way to mastership in that.
That’s what life demands of You.


I used colours “red” and “blue” in visualizing Shu-Ha-Ri in the definition of adding value, following Gerhard Wohland.
You might be reminded of the movie “Matrix”. It is more or less the same symbolic meaning.

My personal understanding is deeply influenced by the Systems theory as we experience it in Germany.
Remember, Niklas Luhmann (“Zettelkasten”) was a jurist, working in the school for administration of public services (Speyer) as he got the opportunity to get to Harvard and there got in touch with the American shape of Systems theory of that time.

I am a jurist from education, also. There is the link.

All that was revitalized and heavily extended as I got in contact with and part of the network where most of us praise the “diversity of equals”.

/famous last words

My intention was to document insights and understandings, I gained until this point in time.
My hope is, it is useful for an unlimited number of others.

Everything will be perfect in the end. If it is not perfect – it is not the end.
So, perch on my shoulders, expand, extend, convert and make it even more useful when You find necessary. Therefore …

Do not hesitate to make life great!

Enjoy, and share if You like.

Comments and “Likes” are hearty welcome.

2 responses to “Same, same – but different …”

  1. addition:
    There is also this EED-Model/Theory (Emergent Essence Dynamics).

    I learned – as I got in touch with it – that people normally act 2% of their existance in their “brilliant self” (what they really are). That’s what people think of when they name something/somebody “authentic”.
    The rest of the time they act in their pathetic self (as they believe they understood about others wanting them to act like).

    There is this quote of my grandfather, traded several times and long after he died in 1973, that “2% of people are to lead and the rest tends to follow in some grade and kind.”

    There is always this 1 to 2%-ratio.
    TL stage 1 and 5, 1%er (Bandidos), “teal” organizations etc.

    # is that just the way it is or can we do something to increase that ratio?
    I believe, it is possible to increase the ratio. That’s why I share my thoughts.
    Just to increase the chance for people raising the degree of compliance with “what they really are”.

    # Do we have the chance to achieve authenticity as the “new normal”?
    # Is there the chance to keep integrity in interaction?

  2. […] is: does the addressee accept the challenge to develop this environment from Tribal Leadership-Stage 3 to at least stage […]

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