On the long long ascent to Sentinellascharte.

User manual

How to work, interact, and relate with me

Manuel Küblböck
Manuel's musings
Published in
8 min readMar 4, 2018

This is a personal user manual that will help you work with me more effectively. It is intended to increase understanding of me as a person and my actions. It will hopefully avoid confusion and frustration on your side.

My style

  • I appreciate co-creating ideas in groups, but I also need time to introspect, reflect, and research to form a thoughtful opinion.
  • I do my most productive work in the mornings. This is why I prefer to use it for focused work and defer meetings to the afternoons.
  • I write to crystallize and integrate my thoughts. Writing a concept down allows me to walk around it — to take on different perspectives and be my own critic.

How to best communicate with me

  • Please be direct. If I don’t get your hint, I am probably not ignoring it. I most likely actually didn’t get it.
  • Please get to the point. I don’t particularly enjoy small talk. I find it all appearance, no substance. I am up for a meaningful conversation anytime, though. You can easily strike up a conversation by asking me about organizational structures, enlightenment, the meaning of life, or the Fermi paradox.
  • Be assured, I mean well, even though my preference for direct and to-the-point communication, often makes my messages sound rude to others — especially in written form.
  • Please send me a message instead of just stopping by if your matter is not urgent. This allows me to have more focus time and to respond at a time that is good for me. I check my messages at set times during the day instead of constantly monitoring them or getting notifications. I try to respond within 24 hours. This goes both ways. I don’t expect immediate — but eventual — responses from you.
  • My phone is always on mute. This allows me more focus time and being fully present in meetings and workshops. Leave a message and I will call you back when I have time to do so.

What challenges my patience

  • People who are notoriously late and waste my time. Especially, if that makes it more difficult for me to honor my own time commitments with others.
  • Investing energy in short-term “fixes” that contradict long-term thinking.
  • People complaining from a victim’s perspective, instead of taking responsibility for their reactions to their context. Try rephrasing “I have to…” to “I choose to … because I want …”.

How to help me

  • I am horrible at multi-tasking. It stresses me out, too. Let me finish what I am working on. I promise to get back to your request if I added it to my to-do list.
  • I don’t really know what I think about a topic before I have written about it. This may frustrate you when you want to move forward quickly and build momentum. You can get me on board with an experiment that I deem good enough for now and safe enough to try.

What people misunderstand about me

  • I am an introvert. I am not shy. I enjoy being part of a team AND I recharge my batteries and do a lot of mental work while enjoying solitude, ideally on a route up a mountain.
  • I am a pragmatic idealist. I am idealistic about values and principles. I am pragmatic about practices and tools.
  • I work in increments. The first version I show you is not the final thing. It’s the start of a conversation. (This is version 39 of this user manual since I moved it to Medium.)
  • I prioritize a few deep relationships over many shallow ones.
  • I don’t pretend to be interested when I am not. I am not arrogant. If I appear arrogant, it most likely means that I failed to successfully take your perspective.

What tests say who I am

In case you are into personality tests: I have been pigeonholed as…

  • a venturer who is assertive, analytical, driving, and non-conforming; who needs independence, time to reflect; day-to-day variety, and freedom from structure; with strengths in driving change, big-picture thinking, challenging the status quo, and purposeful work ethic.
  • a peacemaker (9) with a wing of a reformer (1).
  • a growth seeker, who is defined by a deep passion for learning and personal growth and development. They tend to be curious, humble, open to new ideas and experiences, and adaptable. With a side of explorer and quiet leader.
  • a thinker with intellectual curiosity and an ability to find and create meaning
  • having strengths in (1) Intellection, (2) Learner, (3) Relator, (4) Maximizer, (5) Responsibility, (6) Input, (7) Self Assurance, (8) Connectedness, (9) Belief, (10) Futuristic.
  • receiving love in the languages of physical touch (10), words of affirmation (8), quality time (7), acts of service (5), but apparently not in receiving gifts (0).

What I want

I want to take part in relationships where we enrich each other’s lives. Relationships where we inspire each other to be better persons than we would be on our own. Relationships where we help each other grow and heal. Relationships that are intellectually, emotionally, and physically stimulating.

I want to take part in communities of co-creators on eye level. Communities based on transparency and open-mindedness where consentual decisions are made based on social capital, not rank.

I want to take part in ethical business. Business that is a force for good. Business that accounts for both positive and negative impact of its economic activity. Business that values goods and services derived from the Commons — in particular, a healthy society (social capital) and a thriving planet (natural capital). Business that takes responsibility for the well-being of all life — today and future generations.

What I value

My “inner compass” that guides me through everyday complexity.

Integritybe good

  • behave ethically and morally sound
  • do what you say — say what is true for you
  • exhibit consistent preferences, especially across time unless you can explain your change of preferences
  • “choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them” — Brené Brown
  • “Someone who’s felt through all their situations has integrity. They’re grounded. Integrity means they know what’s important to them and they’ve grappled with all the conflicts.” — Joe Edelman

Benevolencedo good

  • be kind and tolerant towards others
  • show compassion for yourself, others, and your environment

Growth do better

  • seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • keep growing personally and professionally
  • invite candid feedback
  • be curious, not defensive

Freedom be and do good on your own terms

  • every freedom comes with limitations in other areas; choose the freedoms that are more meaningful to you
  • be who you want and want who you are
  • do what you want and want what you do
  • own your freedom, power, and choice
  • be clear about your intentions, cultivate awareness of your mental state, confront your internal conflict

Respectlet others be and do good on their own terms

  • acknowledge, appreciate, and admire diversity
  • defer judgment, realize your observations are a projection of reality onto your worldview, not reality itself
  • express your interpretations humbly, aiming for mutual understanding

My personal purpose

I pragmatically synthesize what works in both traditional and new ways of working. I am inspired by the question of how to make companies (and society) both more successful and more humane.

My Big 5 for life

  1. I am working on something that makes the world a better place and advances mankind
  2. I am regularly doing multi-day outdoor trips (e.g. ski tours) with my children and friends
  3. I am authoring a popular publication about a successful organization I am part of that helps others reliably and cost-effectively create caring network companies
  4. I am still as eager to learn something new every day when I am in my 90s
  5. I am regularly accompanying Nicole on location for movies she loves to work on and we experience the local culture by living like locals

My noble goal

Everybody working on something

  1. that is meaningful to them,
  2. in a way that is fulfilling to them, and
  3. that has a positive impact on others and the planet.

My secret master plan

Working as a consultant helping several organizations with incremental evolutionary change has left me jaded. In part, because most of them do it for different reasons than my own. But mostly, because I didn’t see the impact I am longing for. My current plan is to focus on one product company instead, to prove that it is possible and then enable others to emulate it. By doing so, my impatient self is hoping for an evolutionary leap in organizations.

  1. help create a successful caring network organization others want to be like
  2. conceptualize and describe its critical core components
  3. publish critical core components for others to emulate

Maxims I live by


  • You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. (Marcus Aurelius)
  • Emotions are feedback. Choose your response. Become more aware through meditation. Become less reactive through Stoicism. Become more attuned through relational work.
  • Do not regret the past, do not worry about the future, be present.
  • “You are only free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” (Maya Angelou)
  • Consistency beats intensity. Learn something every day. With consistency comes compound interest. 1.0¹³⁶⁵ = 37.8 >>> 0.9⁹³⁶⁵ = 0.03.
  • Mistakes are first-order consequences. Learning and success are second-order consequences.
  • The pain of failing is intense. The pain of not having tried never goes away. Winning > Losing >>> not even trying.
  • Listen to your body. It’s never convenient to be sick. Don’t numb the symptoms. Solve the cause. Your body keeps the score. You can either pay now or pay later with interest.
  • I am large. I contain multitudes. (Walt Witman)
  • Energy follows attention. Align attention with intention. (Theory U)
  • A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play … He simply pursues his vision of excellence … and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always seems to be doing both. (L. P. Jacks)
  • Integrity is the reputation you have with yourself. Be your own best friend. Everything becomes easier when you are.


  • Everything is contextual. Everything is probabilistic. There are no guarantees.
  • You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. (Buckminster Fuller)

Me relating to everything

  • People’s expectations are theirs. You don’t have to make those your reality. (Thibaut)
  • The things you own end up owning you. (Tyler Durden)
  • Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • Maximize learning and creation. Minimize consumption and distraction.
  • What stands in the way becomes the way. (Marcus Aurelius) How we respond to obstacles is what defines us.
  • The only people we can think of as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. (Alain de Botton)
  • The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener. (Bill O’Brien)

These points are not an exhaustive list but should save you some time figuring out how I work and behave. Please make me aware of additional points you think I should put on a revised version of this ‘user manual.’



Manuel Küblböck
Manuel's musings

Org design & transformation, Agile and Lean practitioner, web fanboy, ski tourer, coffee snob.