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Description: [Friends] Engineering Lotus Operating Principles

"Communicate openly, honestly and directly" -- Lotus Operating Principles

These eleven principles were in place at Lotus Development Corporation when I started there in 1997.  They were actively used until c.2004, when they were supplanted by a set of operating principles from IBM that included the infamous phrase, "We have fun when we win." 

My understanding is that they were crafted in collaborative fashion by early Lotus employees to bottle the spirit of the business to the fullest possible extent.  I was sad to see no hits for a Google search on "lotus operating principles" "have fun," so I decided to post them here for others to benefit from their inherent wisdom. Toralf Gerstaecker found this page and graciously forwarded me a link to the Lotus Museum, which has two scans of the original Lotus Operating Principles on file (thank you, Toralf!), as well as other memorabilia.

I strive to embody these principles in all of my business dealings.  For me, this remains a living document.  It still hangs on the wall in my home office.


operating principles are

intended to serve as

guidelines for our

interactions with other

employees, customers and

business partners. 

Their purpose is to foster

and preserve the spirit

of our enterprise

and to promote the

well-being of all



  • Commit to excellence
  • Treat people fairly; value diversity
  • Insist on integrity
  • Communicate openly,
    honestly and directly
  • Listen with an open mind;
    learn from everything
  • Take responsibility; lead by
  • Respect, trust, and encourage others
  • Encourage risk-taking and innovation
  • Establish purpose before action
  • Work as a team
  • Have fun

Tom Guyette
5036 Echo Street Apt. 16
Los Angeles, CA 90042

1-Tom-Guyette (toll-free)
323-550-8963 (home)