Principles of Positive Politics

Mental Models

Assumption: All persons create mental models of the reality they perceive.

Implication: Regularly compare your own assumptions to those of others and to new information about reality.

Power Payoff: An accurate assessment of the current situation is grounding for good judgment.


Assumption: Individuals are predisposed to different worldviews.

Implication: Persons with different predispositions interpret the same situation differently.

Power Payoff: Understanding others is a basis of leadership, goal-setting, and power use.

Basic Needs

Assumption: All persons have the same basic needs.

Implication: Acknowledge that you share the needs and aspirations of others.

Power Payoff: Our common humanity is the ultimate ground for negotiation.


Assumption: Priorities arise from the individual’s experience colliding with his mental model, world view, and basic needs.

Implication: We value what we perceive will advance our priorities.

Power Payoff: Knowing our priorities is prerequisite to success.


Assumption: Members of a community organize to achieve shared goals.

Implication: Achievement requires organization.

Power Payoff: Forming an organization around your goals multiplies your chances of success


Assumption: Persons who communicate regularly can become members of a community.

Implication: Create community through communication.

Power Payoff: Communities can achieve what no one person can do alone.


Assumption: Common and expected behaviors of a community make up the culture.

Implication: Attend to and practice behaviors that you wish to reinforce within the culture.

Power Payoff: Members of a community tend to follow the behaviors of their leadership.

Sacred Truths

Assumption: Members of a community accept some common beliefs and values as sacred truths.

Implication: Avoid challenging sacred truths.

Power Payoff: A leader who violates a sacred truth is apt to be deposed.


Assumption: When a community provisions an organization to set and enforce community goals and standards, the organization becomes a governing institution.

Implication: Institutions exact membership contributions.

Power Payoff: Regular contributions allow an organization to build assets and weather difficulties.


Assumption: Citizens decide which cultures, authorities, operating principles, and institutions will govern their behavior.

Implication: Control your environment by following the rules, changing the rules, or leaving the group.

Power Payoff:  You decide which cultures, authorities, and institutions govern your behavior.


Assumption: Authorities lead the group to achieve community goals .

Implication: Achieving community goals requires leadership from legitimately chosen authorities.

Power Payoff: Legitimacy allows a leader to apply power efficiently and effectively, resolving disputes, marshalling cooperation, shunting disrupters aside.


Assumption: Community institutions articulate laws that govern the behavior of individuals within that community.

Implication: Legislation requires a base of community support as ethics, morals, custom, and black letter law.

Power Payoff: Laws reduce operating cost but also are difficult to change and costly to break.