After reading Bob Anderson’s book, “Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most” I’ve been thinking a lot about…well, that.

I took one of my favorite quotes by Confucius (see original below) and my favorite quote from Lao Tzu (the people said, “we did it ourselves”). Hence, mashup. Lot’s of good stuff that relates to a few of the Polarities of Democracy (, like:
Freedom AND Authority
Participation AND Representation


Here’s what we’ve learned,

From those who defied the odds,

Attained great things for people,

And did so in ways that were creative and sustainable.

First, they represented people well by sharing the power of their authority.

To represent people well by sharing the power of their authority,

They first sought to unify each of the parts.

To unify each of the parts, they first had to cultivate themselves.

To cultivate themselves, they first had to search their hearts.

To search their hearts, they first had to seek their purpose.

To seek their purpose, they first had to acquire knowledge.

To acquire knowledge they first had to learn the nature of things through experience.

When the nature of things was learned through experience, knowledge was gained, and purpose was found.

With their purpose found, it could live in their hearts.

With purpose in their hearts, the selves were cultivated.

With selves cultivated, the parts were unified.

With the parts unified, shared power of authority was well represented.

With authority well-represented through sharing power, the odds were defied.

With the odds defied, great things were attained for all people.

With great things attained for all people in ways both creative and sustainable,

“Look, we’re so powerful!” was heard from the people.


ORIGINAL–not certain of source:

In ancient times, he who wished to let his virtue shine over all under heaven, must first govern the state well.

To govern the state well, he must first unify the clan.

To unify the clan, he must first cultivate himself.

To cultivate himself, his heart must be in the right place.

For his heart to be in the right place, he must have a sincere purpose.

To have a sincere purpose, he must acquire knowledge.

To acquire knowledge, he must study the nature of things.

When the nature of things is studied, knowledge will be gained, and a sincere purpose can be set.

When the sincere purpose is set, the heart can find the right place.

When the heart finds the right place, the self can be cultivated.

When the self is cultivated, the clan can be unified.

When the clan is unified, the state can be well governed.

When the state is well governed, order will be brought to all under heaven.