• Cecilia Macaulay

When you Seperate 'Deciding' from 'Doing'.

Updated: Jan 12, 2019



I arrived home after a big day, exhausted. My brother arrived home exhausted. Both of us were ravenous, and the fridge was full of food that needed eating.

I propped myelf on the bench stool, and started giving micro-instructions, to see what would happen: 'Take out the big knife. Get the onions from the bottom of the fridge....'. He went along with it, like a puppet. Before we knew it, two of us were sitting down to home made Pad Thai noodles, marveling.

That was a huge discovery. If one person chooses to do the deciding, and the other chooses to carry out instructions, no thinking, its not just half the work each. Its much, much less.


Toyota have been doing this for decades, and I got to see it in action at a trip to their factories last July. When an irregularity is found, when a machine operator's flow is interrupted, he stops everything and pulls the help cord. It hangs right above his work station. Music starts, his location lights up, and he stands motionless till the fix-it person arrives. That person knows all the scenarios for how to deal with problems and make decisions, and soon has the operator back in action. Take turns with your mates to be puppet and puppeteer. This is especially fun for leader-types, to just completely relax that switched-on part of the brain, yet get things done. It also helps you understand the allure of being passive. If we are going to change the world, or at least our own world, its powerful to understand the strengths and dangers of letting yourself be a happy robot.


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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved