All Posts by Kevin Crenshaw
Kevin Crenshaw

Author Archives: Kevin Crenshaw

Kevin, our approachable CEO, is the author of NEVERBOSS: Great Leadership by Letting Go. He's also a consultant, keynote speaker, Rapid Turnaround CEO, and creator of both Hands-Off Leadership™ and Total Relaxed™ Organization. He loves people, leadership, coaching, speaking, tackling tough problems, and physics, but not usually all at once.

TEMPLATE: Quick Biz Case (QBC)

Worth It or Not?

Ignore the trivial many, focus on the crucial few

You can't do everything. Opening one door means closing others because time and resources are limited. The principle is: Ignore the trivial many—focus on the crucial few. So you need to choose well.

This is especially important in Hands-Off Leadership organizations because liberated workers can have too many good ideas.

The Quick Biz Case helps you ask the right questions, quickly, so you and your team can decide in under 10 minutes whether something is worth a second look.

INSTRUCTIONS: Click the Image below to open the Quick Biz Case.

Make a copy, then customize it for your own needs​ before sharing with your organization. Ask as few questions as possible, but make sure the bases are covered.

Click Image to Get the Template...

Quick Biz Case to decide fast if an opportunity is worth a second look


CHAPTER: Saying "No" to a Thousand Things

ACTION: Implement Simplicity

As a Team

Assemble a tiger team to decide which projects to set aside so you can focus on what matters most.​


Pick one of the tools in this chapter of NEVERBOSS (Burn Box, Parked List, Intentionally Ignore, or Dumpster) and implement it.

If you choose burn box, find a box and a convenient place for it. Under your desk is usually fine. If you choose the Intentionally Ignore list, take 5 minutes, brainstorm what you want to ignore, and put it somewhere where you’ll see it daily. For the first few weeks as you try this out, your list will change quite a bit. That’s normal.​

BONUS ACTION: Implement the Quick Biz Case (QBC)

Just saying "no" isn't enough. You also need to stop saying "yes" to the wrong new things or simplicity becomes chaos again. The Quick Biz Case (above) is a tool that quickly sifts the good from the bad.

Create a shared copy of the document and customize it for your firm. Answer the questions in it rapidly, instinctively. Who is affected? What is the impact if we ignore this? What is the potential upside if we do? What will it cost? How much time? Etc. Make the QBC available to everyone in the company, from janitors to executives, and make it clear that it applies to everyone, even (and maybe especially) the CEO.​

TEMPLATE: Turnaround Scorecard

Rapid Change For Your Most Valuable Asset: People and Teams

Rapid change is posible when the change is clear and positive

When people or teams struggle, it's usually because the parameters aren't clear​. The Turnaround Scorecard creates a safe and powerful environment for improvement—and clear documentation in the less-likely case where improvement isn't happening quickly enough.

Most of the time, a worker or team on a Turnaround Scorecard will make rapid strides and feel profound success. It's a win for everyone. About 1/3 of the time they don't and it's soon clear to everyone that a new job is needed. (In fact, most of these people find a new position on their own.) Only a small number rebel at the process, and those are the ones that need to be fired because they lack the essential quality of teachability.

​Click the image below to access the Turnaround Scorecard template. This is an example only. Change the criteria to met the needs of your worker or team. Follow the example in the "How Do You Know" chapter for COMPETENCE as you discuss the best criteria for change together.

Click Image to Get the Scorecard...

Turnaround Scorecard for workers and teams practicing Hands-Off Leadership


CHAPTER: "How Do You Know?"

ACTION: Introduce "Certifying" to Your People

Introduce "certifying" in your next meetings with each team or manager. (Add this now as a Burning Issue to your next meeting agenda.) In these meetings, role play actual situations so they see and understand how certifying feels. Explain that we often certify as issues come up during the workday instead of in formal meetings.

Certifying measures competence. Instead of telling or grilling people, we ask "Are we ready?" "How do we/you know?" and "How sure are you?" Their answers show their skill level. Be sure to make "I don't know" a safe answer. Certifying lets us Step Back once we're confident in their CAPABILITY.

BONUS ACTION: Use the Turnaround Scorecard to Inspire Change​

​If someone is struggling, the ultimate respect you can give them is to say "We think these areas need improvement, and we believe in you and will help you succeed." The Turnaround Scorecard does that. Starting with the downloadable sample above, follow the example in this chapter to help your worker or team improve quickly.

ACTION: Use Certifying to Update Training Plans—or Step Back

In your next 1-on-1s, certify skills in areas where you or they are unsure.

  • Start with a scorecard like Arnold's. List specific areas. This is NOT a turnaround scorecard. It's just review. Let them choose areas first, then you add to the list.​
  • The worker puts in a grade A+ to F.
  • You say, "Tell me about that grade." Ask "How do you know?" questions to dig deeper if needed.
  • After listening, you can say, "Okay, a B sounds great." Or, "Well, what about this situation?" Then give them your score and explain. The goal is to create clarity for this person, to show them how their performance feels to the team.
  • If their score is high, Step Back or Step Away in that area! Let them know.
  • If improvement is needed, ask: "What would you like to do to improve? What's the next step?" Let them think, plan, and set metrics. Then add a future 1-1 agenda item to follow up together. (This creates a goal, mutual accountability, and a chance to fine-tune the training. It is NOT "checking up on them.")

A version of this, connected to your Thematic Goal and KPIs (discussed later), can replace annual reviews. Traditional annual reviews undermine ownership and initiative. These reviews can inspire, motivate, and focus.

TEMPLATE: Guiding Principles

Sure Guardrails for Fast, Excellent Decisions

Principles are sure guardrails for fast, safe decisions

Principles give life to Hands-Off Leadership. Teach good principles and your people can almost manage themselves. Principles give broad authority to ACT and take INITIATIVE, safely and effectively, within common-sense boundaries. This eliminates the need for constant approval and double-checking that would otherwise wear out both managers and workers.

As an example, see Twilio's simple Leadership Principles and their Nine Values, which will help create a culture of empowerment in their organization (as long as other elements of Hands-Off Leadership are in place, of course).

Click the Image Below to Get the Template...

Guiding Principles template for your company


CHAPTER: "Give Authority, Not Tasks"

ACTION: Add Guardrails for Safe, Effective Decisions


Start creating your own list of guiding principles in a shared, collaborative document. These are NOT rules, they are time-tested, easy-to-remember realities that will guide their actions. Invite everyone in the organization to use that document and update it.

Use the template above as a starting point, and share the document with team members so they can participate.

ACTION: Divest the Power to Decide

Give more authority (power to decide and act on their own) to your teams and team leaders. The goal is to push authority to the people closest to the latest information, so they can act quickly and intelligently.

In your next meetings, talk to your teams and people. Clarify when team leaders have the power to "make the call." Ask them what they would like to be able to decide on their own that they don't think they can decide now. Update your Smart Chart to make it official.

Note: Giving full authority only happens at the STEP BACK level or higher on the Leadership Steps. In other words, STABILITY, CLARITY, and CAPABILITY need to be in place, and they need to start taking OWNERSHIP. Your job is to let go as fast as they can handle it. This is how your leadership success is measured.

POSTER: Decision Quality

All Decisions Are Not Created Equal

There are good, better, and best decisions

Most of the time, people make decisions for reasons. But as Benjamin Franklin pointed out, that means we can find a "good reason" for anything we already want to do. In other words, having a reason doesn't make it a good decision.

So how do we ensure good decisions? Great decisions rely on actual evidence, based on current outcomes we can measure. But when you don't have solid evidence yet, principles are the best initial guideposts. Principles are simple, time-tested truths that rely on past evidence to point the way forward. And if you're not sure about the principles, you can look ahead to the likely impacts on the clients, the workers, and the world for a good starting point in your decision-making.

Use the chart below to train teams to make great decisions—and to stop making decisions based on gut instinct or "reasons."

Click the image below to open the Decision Quality Chart in PDF format. You can also access it in JPG format. You may copy and share freely under the terms of the CC BY-ND 4.0 License.

Leadership and Initiative Card Sets

This chart is also available as a convenient plastic wallet card, in combination with the Levels of Initiative card.

Neverboss chapter ​ACTION items pertaining to the chart appear below it.

Click the Image Below to Get the Poster...

Decision Quality Chart for Hands-Off Leadership


CHAPTER: "Give Authority, Not Tasks"

​ACTION: Add Guardrails for Safe, Effective Decisions

Decision Quality

In your next meeting with them, distribute Decision Quality charts and discuss how to make the best decisions. Consider giving everyone plastic wallet cards to carry or attach to their security badges as they master this skill. Wallet cards like the one below are available in the Neverboss Store.

(This action continues in the next lesson...)​

TEMPLATE: Communication Channels

The End of Information Overload

The end of communication overload

The solution to information overload isn't less communication, it's CLARITY.​ Great communication gets the right information to the right people, at the right time, in the right way. That can't happen unless you make the channels clear, and you have the right kinds of channels.

A huge key to that is deciding how quickly you need a response. By separating the urgent from the non-urgent, stress drops and people start seeing what matters most, when it matters.

Great communication gets the right information to the right people, at the right time, in the right way.

Click to Tweet

Click the image below to open a Communication Channels template you  can customize for your own company. This is a simple Google Doc for speed. Once you're comfortable with it, consider making it beautiful and inspiring.

The ACTION ​items relating to this template appear below as well. These items come from more than one chapter.

Click Image to Get the Template...

Communication Channels template you  can customize for your company.


CHAPTER: Communication

ACTION: Clarify Company Communication Channels

Introduce the Communication Channels to your people. Announcing in-person is important since they may have fears. Be sure to listen with mutual empathy, mutual respect, and then establish mutual purpose. The dialog in this chapter can guide you.​

Use the Communication Channels template above as a starting point. Once you're comfortable with your channels, upgrade it to make it attractive and inspiring.​

CHAPTER: Loyalty to Purpose, Not Personalities

ACTION: Implement Daily Intents

For good accountability, you need transparency and good communication without overload. Daily Intents does this. It's a simple morning check-in to sync up, sharing plans and results as a team. It's simple and easy:

  • ​Use a group on your Instant Message channel. See the Communication chapter. Use a texting group if IM isn't possible for this team. Do NOT use email, it has the wrong response time.
  • Check in around the same time each morning. +/- 30 minutes is OK.
  • Each person shares, in very few words:
    • Their top 3 intents for the day
    • WINS since last check-in (things accomplished, things to celebrate)
    • Things they are stuck on (in case anyone has ideas, and so others understand)
  • All discussion about these items should take place on a different channel, so you don't clutter the intents channel.

It's essential to have every team member on the same channel—and other teams on separate channels. You'll learn from each other and remind each other to participate without overload.


TEMPLATE: Zone Chart (Zones and Roles)

An Org Chart That Empowers Instead of Controlling

The Smart Chart™ empowers instead of controlling

Traditional organization charts tell people their job descriptions and who they answer to. The result is traditional, top-down management.

A Zone Chart is different. It focuses on authority: zones and roles within those zones, so people know each other's areas, expertise, authority, MPAs, and how to support each other. Zone Charts are also collaborative, so cross-functional teams emerge quickly, anytime. When needs arise, form a team from the stakeholders. Disband just as quickly when those needs are handled (and archive the team in case you need it later).

Click the Zone Chart image below to open a Google Doc template you can copy and share freely. Make a copy and start creating your own team, department, and company Zone Charts.

See the ACTION​ below it that relates to the Zone Chart, with additional detail from the book.

Click the Image to Get the Smart Chart Template...

Zone Chart Sample - Neverboss


CHAPTER: Roles, Supervisors, and Team Leaders

ACTION: Create Your Own Zone Chart

Using a shared document that anyone can edit simultaneously (like the Google Doc template above), create a Zone Chart for your organization. No fancy graphics. This is NOT a flow chart either. Flow charts are too inflexible. Just use text. Don't try to make it perfect at first—you want progress, not perfection.

Start listing the key teams in your organization. Ask everyone to add themselves to it with their job descriptions as zones and roles. Include process and project teams. When listing teams, don’t just list the team members. List their zones, and list Owners, Stakeholders, Subject Matter Experts, and Champions, including outside resources. That way people know their zones, roles, and support system.

Click the template image above for an example and easy starting point.

CHAPTER: Most Profitable Activities

ACTION: Discover Your Team MPAs

What would it cost to hire someone else to do what you're doing? Add "MPA Exercise" to your next team meeting agenda. In that meeting, explain the principle, then have everyone to activities they spend the most time doing. This should be quick, 5 minutes or less, on screen in your meeting notes. Quickly add items to each other’s lists that they may have overlooked. Then each person should put estimated $/hr values for the company to hire each action out. Star the 2 top items most valuable to the company. These are your MPAs.

Now make sure that these MPAs appear in your Zone Chart. Flag each one with an asterisk. Everyone needs to see them.

Finally, take personal assignments to choose KPIs to match your MPAs. Add this to your 1-on-1 agendas now to discuss what you decided. In those meetings, certify: "How do we know this is a good KPI?"


TEMPLATE: Company Handbook, Open Floor Policy, and Bullying Policy

Hands-Off Leadership is suitable for businesses in all countries, industries, and cultures.

Clarity That Creates Universal Safety and Excellence

HOW do we do what we do? Make that clear and get it right, and everything becomes easier. These resources help you implement what you saw and felt in the Open Floor Policy chapter (in the CLARITY section) of NEVERBOSS: Great Leadership by Letting Go.

Even well-meaning processes can undermine safety and trust. "Open door" polices are a classic example since they can encourage rumor mills and distrust. So how to you have excellent communication without the problems?

Neverboss Hardcover Book

As shown in the book.

The answer is policies and systems that encourage communication in ways that REINFORCE safety. Once safety is assured, communication can flow, issues get resolved well, and ownership and initiative can take hold and flourish.

This Sample Company Handbook is your recommended starting point if you don't have an effective one now. Copy the whole document, or lift sections suit your own needs. Edit at will. It is agile, so we update it from time to time, and so should you. It is not intended to be perfect all at once. It includes things you may not need, so check with your attorney to adapt it to meet your own needs in your locality.

Click the image below to open the Google Doc template.

ACTION items relating to this document appear below.​

Click Image to Get the Sample...

Company Handbook for organizations using Hands-Off Leadership and NEVERBOSS principles


CHAPTER: Open Floor Policy

ACTION: Add the Open Floor Policy to Your Company Handbook

​Introduce the Open Floor Policy to your people. Inform everyone in your team or organization of the new policy change. Announcing and discussing in-person is ideal since this is a face-to-face policy.

Here is the Open Floor Policy in a simplified form.

When you have an issue with someone, (optionally) talk with your manager about it first, who will advise but not act on what you say. Then you MUST go directly to the person to try to resolve it. Ask, listen, and discuss with mutual empathy, mutual respect, and mutual purpose. If you don't get satisfaction or you don't feel safe, then take it (back) to the manager and the three of you will resolve it together or escalate it to the next manager, and on up the line.​

A FULL Open Floor Policy is found in the Company Handbook document, above. Open it, and look for Open Floor Policy in the table of contents, and copy and paste.

ACTION: (Special Situations) Bullying

Bullying and harassment are easy to handle when the right policies are in place

​Bullying is emotional harassment that doesn’t always rise to the legal definition of harassment, but it's still serious. (If you don't have a good written bullying policy, add one to your handbook.)

The Company Handbook above has a good bullying policy you can copy. Open it, find "Harassment or Bullying" in the table of contents, and copy and paste into your own Company Handbook as a starting point.

One subtle, damaging kind of bullying is "repeated, unsubstantiated complaints against another worker that put them at risk of their job." When this happens it can derail your Open Floor Policy if you're not prepared. However, if you add that definition to your bullying policy, the solution is simple. Take every accusation totally seriously. Investigate. Document everything. Write down what the findings were, what action was taken. Then you keep permanent, written score. At the end, was it warranted, unwarranted, or undetermined? After someone has filed 3-4 unwarranted accusations in a row, remind them gently:​

“Everyone has the right to be safe here. You may have noticed this updated policy in our handbook. Bullying and harassment includes repeated, unsubstantiated complaints against others. How can we make sure that in the future, your concerns can be substantiated? Otherwise it’s going to look like you’re bullying Joe.”​

CHAPTER: Moneyball Talent

ACTION: Transform Your Hiring Process

Change your hiring process to the Moneyball standard. This works brilliantly for almost any position:

  • Create a starting hiring page for your company, based on Moneyball hiring principles. (Click link for a sample document you can edit.)
  • Decide what skills and attributes are really needed. Keep it short.
  • Decide that you will not wade through resumes anymore.
  • Create initial interview sorting questions that reveal their initiative, expertise, and potential. (Click for a second sample document you can edit.)
  • Give them a tiny chunk of work and see if they can do it.
  • Be sure to ask the salary question (three levels) as described in the chapter.
  • Post your first position on your web site for people to start self-recruiting.
  • Once they pass the online interview, internal, face-to-face interviews begin as usual, but still focused on the same kinds of skills questions and Hands-Off Leadership culture fit.
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