Munafo Core Values: MCV10 — Know When and How to Hold Back  


Know When and How to Hold Back


In your personal life, this standard corresponds to the "middle path" wisdom of Buddhism. According to the early teachings of the Buddhist leader Siddhartha Gautama, human suffering comes from three causes: Attachment (trying to get something specific because you believe it will free you from suffering), Aversion (deliberately avoiding something you believe will cause suffering) and Ignorance (falsely believing that specific things in the world have specific meaning). While it is impossible for the human mind to avoid the intellectual associations that are at the root of these three causes, a fair amount of benefit can be derived from being vigilantly aware of the three phenomena and actively, intentionally keeping them in check. By doing so one, lives by the core value Know When and How to Hold Back in one's personal life.

An example of attachment and aversion is perfectionism. If you have given your best, but are dissatisfied with the results (regardless of the reasons behind the results being dissatisfactory) then you are being perfectionist. You are expecting more of yourself, and of the world, than is possible. Attachment to the "perfect" result, and aversion from the shortfall and the perceived causes of the shortfall, cause suffering which will undermine the enjoyment you get from the actual success you are having. Since perfectionism is a being rather than a doing, the path away from perfectionism begins with vigilant awareness.

Relationship and Leadership

In relationships, this core value suggests that you should remember to do more listening and asking than speaking. Most people forget to do that.

As it relates to speaking up at meetings: even if you have "the answer", wait until the group has collectively addressed (and probably resolved) the problem. This provides the following benefits: Your "answer" was probably wrong, this gives you the chance to learn; if your answer still seems valid after waiting it is more likely to be truthful, and of educational value to the group.

Another version of the same thing, is to be aware of when the group is in "speaking personally without feedback" mode, and when they have switched to "problem solving together" mode. It is important to let a problem unfold through testimony of personal experience from all of the people involved, and let everyone be heard first, before anyone begins to address a solution.

Naturally, there are a lot of manifestations of this core value that relate to confidentiality. For example, Don't share news of someone's difficulty without their permission. By default, let everyone find out first-hand. This lets the person with difficulty benefit by telling people their story, offering benefit to them.

In leadership, it is important to let things go a while before "stepping in" to bring it back into line (so long as it fits your context). This is similar to an earlier point: it gives you a chance to learn from the group. Since they are collectively more intelligent than you, there is a very good chance that they are discovering something new, that resolves the situation and shows you a new solution that can be applied directly next time.

The principle generalizes to any actions that could be helpful, not just speech. For example, consider a task that requires coorperation and effort by yourself and other(s). Know When and How to Hold Back constitutes finding the balance between doing too little (and not honoring your own commitment) and doing too much (denying the other(s) the opportunity to do their part, and/or learn what they need to learn to do their part more effectively).

MCV10 for Teams

When this core value is present:

Team keeps its commitment in the forefront, keeping its team ego (and excessive team pride) in check. (+mcv10a)

Good sportsmanship (for example, do not humiliate another team) (+mcv10b)

Helping other teams to within reasonable levels measured by respect for the other teams' territory (+mcv10c)

When this core value is lacking:

"Team ego" (e.g. excessive pride from team's success) (-mcv10a)

Poor sportsmanship (e.g. "Trouncing" the other team) (-mcv10b)

Taking on much more than the team's share of the larger organization's work (-mcv10c)


David Michie, Buddhism for Busy People, Allen & Unwin, Austrailia 2004, ISBN 1-74114-260-1

Team O'ooomoroNoonö, 20060126

Jeff Poole, 200510

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