Modus Cooperandi helps individuals, teams, and organizations
build systems that get work done and
produce value they can be proud of.


Courtesy RW Baird, Milwaukee, WI

Courtesy RW Baird, Milwaukee, WI


See your work. Set limits to stay within capacity. Simple rules foster massive returns. When priorities shift, the team easily shifts with them.

Courtesy The Library Corp, Inwood, WV

Courtesy The Library Corp, Inwood, WV


 Teams (and managers) know what work is in flight, who is doing what, who needs help, what is stuck, what work remains, what the priorities are, and what is completed at a glance. 

Courtesy Grand Rapids Fire Department

Courtesy Grand Rapids Fire Department


 Visual systems for teams extend into meetings, providing powerful new formats to hold quick, meaningful, and productive working sessions.

We believe that there are lessons everywhere, but not blueprints.
Learn from Toyota or Spotify or Herman Miller.

Don't copy them, own your Modus.


Your company has a unique culture comprised of unique people who build a unique product for unique customers. Why would you take your process from someone else's playbook? Your company's way-of-working - its Modus - is too personal and too important to cut and paste from another company.

 A healthy organization’s design requires participation from you. It requires you and your teams to get together and define what is important, how you work together, what you need from your customers, and how you want to grow into the future.

You need to own your own process. You need to own internal agreements about how you work. You need to own your culture.

You need to own your Modus.

Your Modus is how your company works and acts right now, and you can change that at any time. You can see your status quo as a trap, “That’s how we’ve always done things around here.” Or you can see it simply as a “Where you are currently” and use it as a launchpad for improving the way you work.

You either change based on what (sort of) worked for someone else somewhere else, or you change based on your real context. You have control.

We help companies achieve performance through collaboration - their Modus Cooperandi.  We help you build ways of working tailored to your needs and supportive of your people. After all, it’s your people that make your company work. They’re the ones who solve problems and innovate. The ones who actually bring value to your customers.

Curious? Let's talk about a few clients...


Building Skyscrapers is Harder Than You Might Think


Turner Construction is a 117 year old global construction firm headquartered in New York.  The amount of teamwork involved in estimating, procuring, and building a modern structure boggles the mind. Dozens of companies, hundreds of people, designers, architects, plumbers, woodworkers, steelworkers, tile setters, and on and on. It is an arcane dance that involves constant learning, constant communication, and expert adjustment to keep to the schedule, to the budget, and especially to keep everyone safe. We worked with Turner in all aspects of planning, procurement, and construction to visualize work, increase the fidelity of communication, and provide constancy of purpose for all involved in their jointly herculean task.

Collaboratively Creating a New Way of Working

Collaboratively Creating a New Way of Working

Everyone Involved

Everyone Involved

Visualizing real time work and long term milestones - responsive and responsible systems

Visualizing real time work and long term milestones - responsive and responsible systems

One Week that Helped the Entire Planet.


Short projects can yield amazing results. In a one-week writeshop, we worked with 12 researchers and scientists from 11 countries to create the REDD+ report - a document that set the standard for providing carbon credit monies to individual landowners around the world. To do this, we employed a simple collaborative way of working that allowed all 12 professionals to make the most of the expertise in the room and create their own product at the same time. Partially visual, but strongly collaborative, this system resulted in a concise, understandable product.  

end poverty.jpg

Personal Kanban Live Workshops


Upcoming: Omaha, Nebraska - November 2019

Build Successful Ways of Working Using Personal Kanban

Whether you’re a solo-preneur or work in a large team, a workforce "veteran" or just beginning your professional career, join us to learn how to STRESS LESS. FOCUS BETTER, COMPLETE QUALITY WORK, COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE more EFFECTIVELY, and surface opportunities for CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT.

The Pain:

Individuals, teams, and organizations constantly feel the pain of overload. Plagued by constant distractions, ambiguous and ever-changing priorities, and a seemingly endless workload-in-flight, while constantly negotiating (and re-negotiating) deadlines, we can't seem to focus, finish, prioritize, or even plan our day let alone improve our work or the way we go about doing it. But not to worry - this is a solved problem.

The Solution:

Personal Kanban is an award-winning productivity and effectiveness system that allows you and your team to visualize, track, communicate, collaborate on, and improve your work in a brain-friendly way.

Creator of Personal Kanban Jim Benson, along with Tonianne DeMaria, his co-author for the Shingo Award-winning book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, will teach you how to build flexible collaborative systems to understand, plan, and act on real options.

As knowledge workers, our brains are our primary mode of value-creation, and so any personal or team optimization need to focus on the people doing the work. We need to avoid overload. We need clarity around our work. We need to choose the right work at the right time. We need to focus, finish, and then fine-tune what we’ve already completed.

This two-day intensive (but fun!) class pulls from a host of disciplines and case-studies, incorporating Lean principles, systems thinking, neuropsychology, and behavioral economics to help you better understand and manage personal and project work to end cognitive and office chaos, communications issues, and low morale.

We've delivered this class to the United Nations, the World Bank, Spotify, JP Morgan, Progressive Insurance, Starbucks, ComcastNBCUniversal, Riot Games, Turner Construction, and hundred of other companies and agencies worldwide. Come benefit from our experience and the material that's helped thousands of previously overwhelmed people collaborate better, see what is happening right now, prioritize effectively, and get the right work done at the right time.

What You Will Learn:

  • How overload sneaks up on us

  • What the impacts of multitasking are (and how to break this insidious habit)

  • How morale and culture drive successful office environments

  • How to deal with repetitive tasks

  • How to collaborate to increase quality and reduce re-work

  • How to better communicate what you need

  • What we need to be professionally satisfied with our work

  • How to create healthy work systems to balance planned and unplanned work in the office

  • How to chart the real completion times of tasks and projects for better planning

  • How to visualize and control individual and team work

  • How to set up obtainable goals and work-in-process limits

  • How to focus on completion and quality

  • How to learn and improve with real information


Before You Can Focus, You Need Shared Understanding


Visualizations and collaboration are great, but the team needs to understand what they are building, why they are building it, and the steps they take to build it.  What are we doing and when? Who is responsible for what decisions? What do handoffs look like? When do we talk to the customer? When do we talk to each other?

At Trimble, through value stream mapping, Lean Coffees, and other exercises, we worked with a team of 18 years to come to an agreement of how they worked every day (and it wasn't always easy).  We helped them replace assumptions with understanding, so they could focus, finish, and fine-tune without a lot of unnecessary conversation.


Modus Cooperandi's Secret Sauce


We have been thrilled and humbled to have worked with Spotify, the United Nations, Legal Seafoods, Riot Games, JP Morgan, Limeade, Northwestern Mutual, and a host of other interesting companies. Each place has had its own character, its own culture, its own reason for being. In no company has business process been more important than the people doing the work.  In the end, we believe that process is their social contract -- how they decide to work together, how they express their professional acumen, how they find professional satisfaction. 

W. Edwards Deming said "A bad system will beat a good person every time," we have seen time and again that when we build good systems teams become more focused, more effective, and happier. Teams in that state are more profitable, more in touch with their customers, and just plain give a damn. 

If this sounds attractive to you, we should talk.